Take a Risk With Gambling

The legalization of gambling is a win-win situation.

November 27, 2022

Take a Risk With Gambling

Do UFOs exist? Who will be the next Pope? Is Walt Disney cryogenically frozen? These oddly specific questions are related: they are all things that you can bet on. 

Gambling, by definition, is betting something with the hope of gain and risk of loss in a game or competition. Given this definition, gambling pervades our society in more ways than we even realize. We place bets on politics, sports, video games, and even outlandish matters such as when the Earth is going to end (although it remains to be seen how the winnings will be received for this particular bet). From crypto to casinos, everything in our society seems to be governed by the simple tenets of gambling: consideration, risk, and a potential prize. Although gambling has negative associations and a somewhat shady reputation, it is time to rethink the legality of gambling. 

Gambling offers very clear benefits beyond just making quick cash. A study published in the Journal of Applied Behavioral Analysis found that gambling has positive health benefits for gamblers, elevating their quality of life and reporting fewer cases of depression. In essence, gambling is just another form of entertainment, one that is engaging, consensual, and lucrative. In fact, a report by the American Gaming Association (AGA) showed that the gross gaming revenue of the U.S. gambling industry reached almost $53 billion in 2021 from just 466 commercial casinos. 

From crypto to casinos, everything in our society seems to be governed by the simple tenets of gambling: consideration, risk, and a potential prize.”

Gambling is thus not only a form of entertainment, but also employment. According to the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago, welfare payments and unemployment rates are 12-17% lower in communities closest to casinos. The gambling industry supports a total of 1.8 million jobs, a large number of people who might be out of a job otherwise. From the sheer amount of business sales, taxes, and jobs that the gambling scene outputs, gambling has a substantial positive economic impact. 

Of course, gambling also has its drawbacks. While gambling is known to create elation in winners, it can also cause serious problems for compulsive gamblers. Gambling addictions have been linked to substance abuse problems, mental health struggles, and criminal activity. As many as 750,000 people aged 14 to 21 have a gambling addiction in the U.S. alone, and this number rises drastically for young adults.  

Unseen problems arise when gambling actually impacts the outcomes of games. Sports betting has grown increasingly popular recently, but its emergence has increased the risk of match-fixing, where players or judges rig the game to achieve a predetermined result. Sportsradar, a match-fixing monitoring company, believes that 1% of all sport events involve suspicious betting patterns that create an association between match-fixing and gambling. While gambling is supposed to be for individuals or parties to partake in by themselves, it has the potential to ruin the integrity of sports games that many enjoy. 

But despite these drawbacks, it is important that we push for the legality of gambling to create a happier and more financially stable population while placing restrictions on the industry to limit mental health problems and integrity issues for all parties involved. It is time to move forward with states’ legality of gambling along with certain limitations to achieve the best of both worlds while mitigating harmful effects. Because after all, everything in life comes with a risk.

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