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Why is Gambling Such a Contentious Issue in Politics?

Gambling must rate up  there with abortion, health care and education as one of the most contentious issues among politicians.  Governments have been known to practically fall because of gambling laws, and heated debates relating to the subject  are held before every general election to find out exactly what politicians feel about the subject.  But why is gambling such a hot subject?  Why don’t other forms of entertainment get the same kind of attention? Why don’t politicians argue about, say, movie tickets or snooker?

You need to look at the subject of gambling from the perspective of who is doing the arguing.  It can’t be denied that when it comes to subjects such as gambling and abortion, the religious standpoint plays a very important part of the argument.  Christians, or those who abide to the ethics of Christian doctrine, will usually be on the anti-abortion, anti-abortion side.  Their point of view is that the Bible preaches against ‘sinful’ pastimes such as gambling, and they certainly go down the pro-life path, claiming that abortion is equal to murder.   Politicians with these view points may not be the typical Bible Bashing Brigade from the deep South, but they certainly step up on the platform when trying to attract supporters.

But what happens when the same gambling pastimes, such as poker, casinos and even bingo halls, are so popular that they have the potential to bring in millions of dollars in revenues? Many states are struggling under the pressures of inflation, the recession and spiraling costs of welfare and education. They need to find ingenious ways of bringing in the money, and one accepted way is to legalize gambling in order to tax the industry and bring in millions.  This is where the issue becomes complicated for the same politicians who were voted in on the anti-gambling ticket.  Suddenly, the opportunity to fund the building of new schools and hospitals makes gambling look less ‘evil’.

The bottom line is this: Politicians need to stop using gambling as their entry card into politics.  Instead, they should use their energy to build a safe, secure, regulated and legalized environment to ensure that their states benefit from this industry and that consumers are protected by logical laws.

Just my 2 c!

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