Thursday, April 14, 2011

Argument for the Legalization of Gambling

I support the legalization of gambling in Texas, although I acknowledge the negative social aspects it could bring to our great state.
Even though I do support the legalization of gambling, I can admit the reasons to not put it to vote hold water. The major cons, to me, against gambling are the potential for addiction on a personal basis, and the fact that it might not even fix the budget problems, like advocates say it will. People with addictive personalities would be given easier access to one more vice, a vice with huge financial implications. In addition to that major social concern, there is the risk that legalized gambling would not fix our budget deficit. Just because an extra source of revenue is added doesn’t necessarily mean the state’s spending problems will be cured. The opposition to legalized gambling certainly has ground to stand on, and reason to fight.
The reason I support the legalization of gambling is because I think people should have the option to do what they want with their lives and money. Also, extra revenue has to come somewhere if we are to cover the deficit, and gambling provides that.
 People already have access to gambling if they have a car or the internet and a credit card. Drive just hours, and you can spend your life savings in Oklahoma or Louisiana. Type “online casino” in Google, and you will find a website based outside of the United States that you can gamble on. Building casinos would increase access to gambling and addiction, but there is already access and addiction. Choosing not to allow gambling here in Texas is not a deterrent to this certain behavior, merely a speed bump to the human will. Not to mention that addictions are readily available in the form of nicotine, alcohol and over-the-counter medicines. If we are to ban one potential addiction because it has the potential for personal destruction, it would be hypocritical to allow liquor stores and cigarettes and chewing tobacco to exist. I am a fan of the phrase “Live and let live,” and if people want to gamble, let it be their choice.
On the point of covering the budget deficit, any extra revenue is beneficial at this point. With no long term financial costs incurred by the state, adding an extra $1 billion or so a year can only help. What we really need to do is to cut back on spending. While legalizing gambling may not cure the budget problem, it would help.
In conclusion, the legalization of gambling may bring social costs, and it might not cure all of our financial troubles. However, I argue that it’s an individual’s right to spend money where and how they want, and the extra revenue added by casinos and gambling would go a long way to help with our budget deficit. 

-Ian Cannon

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