Have you ever wagered on a game? If so you were gambling and should have been fined. Gambling should be legalized in the state of Florida. The lawmakers, who have decided that it is evil for you and me to gamble, have justified it as a means to scam billions from citizens in order to compensate for their mismanagement of tax money. First they waste what they collect in taxes and then recover the wasted billions with gambling scams to get more, much more. Adding insult to injury, they pass laws that could put a taxpayer in jail for placing a dollar wager on a pool game. God forbid we should lose a few dollars to a slippery pool hustler, when we could be hustled legally by the state, Shamos has argued this point before (97-101).
Gambling as with most ideas came from Europe. It evolved from simple bets to games of chance, later evolving to cards and etc. Some colonists such as the Quakers and Puritans lost little time in enacting America’s first law against gambling in 1638(Shamos 103).
Gambling continued in the form of lotteries, which supported most schools and public works. During the late 18th century card games were enjoyed as a fashionable after dinner alternative to music in America’s homes. Supposedly during the late 1700’s every commoner gambled. George Washington at Valley Forge, where men were desperate for food and morale was low among the troops, gambling was a daily activity (Shamos 103).
“ A typical colonist in attitude was the untypical man George Washington who was content to gamble at cards all day” (qtd. in Solotaroff n.p.). As America grew gambling (casino) grew as well. One invention had the greatest impact on America than anything else, the slot machine. Invented by Charles Fay in 1895, in San Francisco, California. It made men greedy and the desire to gamble struck. In 1931 Nevada was asking itself “What do we got to lose”. The state passed laws that year legalizing gambling.
The first major casinos were opened in Reno. The next 10 years until the 40’s was when Las Vegas really grew. “Clubs arose, neon lights soared the skies and entertainment engulfed the streets” (Cardoza 7-11). Las Vegas was like no other; it replaced currency with chips, around the clock gambling and nearly a total absence of clocks. After nearly 50 years in success Las Vegas finally took on a competitor. In 1978 the state of New Jersey legalized gambling (Cardoza 15-17).
Does gambling help our economy? When gambling was approved in New Orleans it created 15,000 new jobs and brought in 25 million in city taxes. In addition, it also brought in 67 million in state taxes each year. When South Dakota needed $400,000 to replace water lines and another $50,000 to shape up a failing wall on the reservoir they turned towards gambling. “Nevada offers both tourism and gaming. If the customers want it, Nevada can and should deliver” (Dambrink 7-9).
Casinos do in fact improve the economy of states. In Mississippi, gaming represented 25% to 33% of the new jobs created and employed approximately 10,000 people in 1993. The number more than doubled in 1994 to 28,000 (Solotaroff n.p.). On the Gulf Coast the economy can be summed up in one word, gambling. A report from the Harrison County Development Commission for fiscal year 1993 noted gambling has improved “economic stimulus unequaled in modern times” (Dambrink 16-18).
Most if not all states already allow horse racing, bingo halls, jai alai, and state sponsored lotteries. The new craze is riverboat cruising. The rush to embrace casino gambling on riverboats began in Iowa in 1991. Illinois and Mississippi soon followed in 1992. By the end of 1993, 20 states had passed laws in favor of gambling. The legislative passed a law stating that a certain percentage of patron’s losses must go to the state. Thus increasing the state income greatly. “Many localities see gaming as an opportunity to invigorate deteriorated commercial areas”(Thompson 31-39). The Joliet Empress reported a casino win or adjusted gross receipts of 14.05 million for May 1993 alone. The city of Joliet received 702,500 for that month. Joliet now has 4 operating casinos.
Though the issue of legalized gambling will never be fully agreed upon, we can clearly see that casinos definitely benefit the economy. One major argument against gambling is that crime in the area will escalate. It does unfortunately, but with the money the casinos give to the state, this problem can and should be solved (Thompson 45). As Ivan Solotaroff said, “In the context of a strong gambling environment, casino gaming can be a patent development tool”(n.p.).
One major public discussion against gambling can be seen through the religious aspect. In fact, the Catholic Church argues that gambling does not violate catholic teaching. Catholic teaching maintains that it is morally accepted when all of the following conditions are met: 1.The money or possessions wagered are not needed to support one’s family; 2.A person participates freely; 3.The revenues derived from gambling are not used to support any illegal or immoral enterprise.
These conditions are stated by the Catholic Church (Saad n.p.). Lastly, the majority of the public does not consider gambling to be morally wrong. In the U.S. 2 of 3 Americans approve of legalized gambling (Saad n.p.). What Catholics are trying to say is that gambling is just another form of entertainment.
It is difficult to predict the future of a major industry with such a short history, but with time there will be some form of gambling in all states if not casino gambling. Gambling will continue to aid the public education system and other economic programs. It will also continue to create jobs as casinos widen and spread. Furthermore, if casino marketers continue to succeed, the local tourism, visitor, and recreation industries will heighten and state income will escalate even further (Ugret 73-75).
States will always continue to prosper from gambling, whether in the form of bingo, horse and dog racing, jai alai, or just casinos. If gamblers want to risk it all on one shot, it is their money, their profession, and their choice.
December, 1992. n.p.
Solotaroff, Ivan. “The Book on Gambling”. Esquire. September, 1994. n.p.
Thompson, William. Legalized Gambling: A Reference Handbook. Santa Barbara, Ca:
ABC-CLIO, 1994. 31-45.
Ugret, Carl B. House Rules. Boston: Penguin House Company, 1996. 73-75.