Should Gambling Be Illegal?
Gambling should be illegal because it ruins families.
This may be a Q1 violation if you don’t think that other things that similarly impact families should be illegal, you have a family but gamble, or you have not consistently defined "gambling."
This may be a Q2 violation if you would not want other activities to be made illegal because the possibility exists of someone participating in those activities irresponsibly.
Most people would agree that gambling does not always ruin families. Some people who gamble do not have families, and some people with families who gamble do so in a reasonable way, considering the loss of their gambling budget to be an entertainment expense. Most people would also agree that excessive gambling — particularly when the gambler is deceptive or secretive — certainly can ruin a family. So the question is: how large a danger must gambling be to families before it deserves to be made illegal?
Before answering this question, you must decide what you mean by "gambling." Which of these would you consider to be gambling activities significant enough that they are worth considering for our purposes?
- A small-money bar bet.
- A carnival game.
- A dollar bet on the flip of a coin.
- Church bingo.
- A state lottery ticket.
- Poker played with your grandmother, using crackers for chips.
- Late-night poker with a group of friends.
- An office football pool.
- A bet at a horse race track.
- A bet placed over the phone with a bookie.
- Blackjack in a state-licensed casino.
- A slot machine in a laundromat.
- A trip to go play roulette in a Las Vegas casino.
- Baccarat on a cruise ship.
- Roulette at a charity function.
- High-stakes craps in an alley.
- Opening a small business.
- Venture capitalism.
- The stock market.
- Life insurance.
Next, you must decide what the risk to families is from gambling. You must also look at other issues that can be a similar danger to families and decide if you think they should be made illegal as well. For example, which of these are as dangerous (or more dangerous) to families than gambling: drinking alcohol, smoking, recreational drug use, poor communication, credit card debt, domestic violence, extramarital affairs, open marriages, prostitution, and no-fault divorce.
Finally, you must decide how dangerous something must be before the government is justified in telling you that you can’t do it because you might not be able to do it in a reasonable manner.
There are other reasons you might think that gambling should be illegal. For example, you might have religious objections to gambling. If religion is your justification for making gambling illegal, then you must (by Q2) ask yourself if you would be willing to have religious rules made into law if the religion they were from was not your own.
You are encouraged to leave your answers to the questions posed in this post in the comments section. This post is based on an excerpt from Ask Yourself to be Moral, by D. Cancilla, available at LuLu.com and Amazon.com. See the 2Q system page for details of the philosophical system mentioned in this post.