This may sound like an odd topic to write about at GamblingForReal.com, but it’s a common question. If you think about all the confusing laws that govern gambling, its past associations with organized crime and various religious stances on the issue, it’s easy to understand why so many people ask “is gambling bad?”
It’s also a question that I’ve had to ask myself given my involvement in the gambling industry. After all, I try my best to lead a somewhat moral life. Is it bad that I promote gambling? Am I contributing to gambling addiction? Are there better ways to contribute to society?
Gambling itself is not a bad thing. Gambling is nothing more than an agreement between two people to wager something of value on an outcome involving chance. There is nothing inherently wrong with this act.
From a moral viewpoint, gambling is neutral. It is neither good nor bad. It just is. It can be twisted and used for bad purposes, but the act is not evil by its very nature.
From a financial viewpoint, gambling is neutral once again. If you have the discretionary income, there is nothing wrong with doing a little gambling. You just can’t go overboard with it. You could say that for anything that costs money: golf, yachts, televisions, cars, etc.
What About Gambling Risks?
We cannot just gloss over the risks of gambling and call it done. There are millions of people out there who suffer from gambling addiction or who have otherwise gotten into trouble gambling. There are also quite a few shady people involved in the gambling industry. Don’t those people make gambling bad?
First, let’s talk about gambling addiction. This is a serious topic and it’s the one that bothers me the most as the webmaster of a casino website. Gambling addiction is a serious problem, but that doesn’t make gambling a bad thing. We could say that stabbing people to death is a bad thing, but that doesn’t make knives inherently bad.
If you suffer from gambling addiction, then yes, gambling is a bad idea. You shouldn’t partake in anything that causes problems in your life. This goes for gambling, alcohol, drugs, hookers or whatever your vice may be.
What I do to ease my conscience as the owner of a large online gambling website is to strive to always give people the best information possible. The game guides here are all realistic, detailed and based on math. Nowhere do I try to get people to sign up to my casinos by promising them get-rich-quick schemes. I also have a page about gambling addiction that is linked to at the bottom the entire website (check the footer on this page).
Next, let’s talk about gambling and organized crime. The gambling industry has always had a bit of a sketchy reputation thanks to all the mafia types that have gotten involved in the business over the years. There’s a simple explanation for this, and it is more than just “well gambling is bad and it attracts bad people.”
The reason why organized crime has been so involved in gambling is because the government has outlawed gambling in so many different locations over the years. Prohibition, as you may know, is a great way to push legitimate industries underground and give organized crime greater influence.
What About From a Religious Standpoint?
There are quite a few answers to the “is gambling bad” question when we look at it from a religious standpoint. This is a touchy subject, so let me remind you that this is just my own personal opinion: gambling is not a bad thing from a religious standpoint either.
Some people may call gambling a sin because it takes advantage of others by giving them bad odds, but I think that is looking at it the wrong way. As long as you are not lying to people or coercing them to gamble, you are simply offering them a form of harmless, moral-neutral entertainment. Gambling might be a waste of money, but it’s nothing more than entertainment.
Humans were given free will for a reason. If you open a gambling business and let people come in and gamble, you are not doing anything wrong. It is up to those people to gamble responsibly. Your only duties are to provide a fair game and to cut people off who are obviously problem gamblers.
As a gambler, your only duty is to keep it under control. Only gamble when you have the extra time and money to spend. For example, do not gamble your kids’ college savings or your family’s grocery money. If you develop a gambling addiction, it is your duty to recognize the problem and seek help.
Gambling is not an inherently evil thing. It can be abused, but that doesn’t make gambling itself a bad thing. Every activity in the world can be taken too far and abused. As long as you keep your gambling under control, there is nothing wrong with having a little fun on games of chance.