A question of whether this or that should be illegal based on the said thing and somebody’s opinion is a theme as old as legal systems themselves. Many societies and individuals frown upon certain substances, behaviors, or even ways of living. Others don’t care so much and are willing to let other people do whatever they want as long as they aren’t affected. In this article, we will discuss the old age questions of gambling, how it relates to modern times, and what should be finally done about it.
Why Make Something Illegal In The First Place?
To do something, a reasonable person has to have a reason for doing it in the first place. Sadly, not everyone questions their own thoughts, and many back a ban on gambling without sufficient knowledge or investigation on the matter. It is, of course, possible to put such a limitation in place, at least within the legal system. But will it work? And that again depends on what you mean by work. All current legal systems are designed in a way that punishes those who get caught. Now, let’s take a look at the evidence we have.
As of 2021, we have decades of research backing up the truth, but even before the modern scientific inquiry, we had plenty of insight into the human mind and how it operates. The Bible, perhaps the most famous book in the entire world, tells us a similar story in one of the very first chapters.
Genesis, Where We Begin
Even if you are a completely secular person, or have different views on religion, there is no doubt you are familiar with the story of Adam and Eve in Genesis. God creates them. They live in the Garden of Eden, and all is well, up until a particular interaction between the Almighty and the humans. In Genesis, we don’t know much about the God of the Old Testament, as it is our first encounter with him.
If we could describe him at all, we would perhaps note that he doesn’t seem like a bad guy at all and he only wants to facilitate the successful wellbeing of the human pair. He tells them what to do, how to live happily and peacefully, with a small simple rule. It seems a rather small thing to ask, gathering that God doesn’t ask for anything else. The one rule he instills is “To not eat fruit from a particular tree”. One could think that as they have an endless array of trees, not eating from just one tree wouldn’t be such a fuss.
And this is perhaps one of the first examples in human history, that prohibition simply doesn’t achieve the same results as expected. It may actually allow for higher chances of the undesired act, which in this case was eating the fruit. Perhaps Adam and Eve wouldn’t even bother with that particular tree if God hadn’t told them to pay attention to it.
No God is telling anyone to not eat a particular fruit these days, but the analog of this story in modern times would be governments and law jurisdictions. They tell you what you can and cannot do, which behaviors are undesirable, and would be punished.
Gambling, as an activity that does receive a lot of heat and attention, has plenty of regulations concerning it. It may not be advertised to minors or at all, the forms of it may be restricted or limited and heavily overseen by officials. In some countries, all gambling is outlawed altogether.
Japan for example has a strict casino bill and anti gambling position on all kinds of gambling games and even sports betting. Only a few national events are allowed, and everything else is completely out of the discussion. It doesn’t mean at all that the Japanese aren’t gambling, or that they don’t have a problem with it in their country. They simply head to another country where it’s legal and do their deed there.
With a few examples above and a strict line of logic, we can infer that banning gambling, or making it illegal, will not help any issues surrounding it, but only exacerbate it for many individuals. Illegal activity may seem more lucrative to a certain part of the population, and will only lead them to go to greater lengths to satisfy their desires.
Instead, good public policies, education, and teaching responsible behaviors are key to fixing any root problems of gambling. Moderation, keeping a watchful eye, and offering a helping hand for afflicted individuals will take us to a better place.