First off, it’s important to know the current legal status of gambling in the United States. Most people are unaware that gambling is actually legal in all forms under the federal government, barring some restrictions on interstate gambling. The vast majority of limitations on gambling in the US are imposed by state governments. As of now, only Nevada and Louisiana permit statewide casino gambling. Many more states permit other forms of gambling, such as lotteries, yet even those are not universal among states. What’s the big deal?
In my opinion, restricting gambling should be viewed in the same vein as the restriction of alcohol or marijuana. All three are bad in large quantities, but are they really so bad that the government needs to step in and make them illegal? Probably not. Gambling, especially, has some highly beneficial purposes (as does medical marijuana). Here in Georgia, the Georgia Lottery funds the HOPE Scholarship, a scholarship which deals out millions of dollars of in-state college tuituon each year. Programs like the Georgia Lottery could be implemented in every state and help improve the education system here in America.
I think we all need to collectively become a bit more open-minded. Is gambling generally a bad idea? Of course, but does that mean people shouldn’t be able to have a little fun? It doesn’t many effects on your health, yet it is more illegal in most places than alcohol, which can have tremendously negative impacts on your health. Also, the entire gambling=crime narrative, while true, doesn’t mean that gambling cannot be made safer for all parties involved. Online gambling, for instance, has no criminal association, yet it is also restricted in most places. The same goes for sports betting, online or otherwise. Personally, I think we need to remove all limitations on online gambling other than the standard 18-years-or-older, adults-only statute. Past that, how about we look at legalizing lotteries in all states.
It’s our money. How about we all gain the freedom to spend it how we’d like?