Why was gambling made legal?

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7 months ago

I’ve been reading a lot about the history and legality of gambling recently and it got me wondering about why it was even made legal in the first place. Considering the risks involved with gambling, such as addiction and financial ruin, it seems strange that governments would decide to allow such activities. Could it be that they didn’t see such negative repercussions initially, or was it more about the potential financial benefits from taxation?

I’m aware that countries each have their own specific laws and histories related to gambling, so it’s likely not a one-size-fits-all answer, but general insights into why countries chose to legalize gambling would be appreciated. For instance, what were the justifications that lawmakers used to legalize gambling and how did public sentiment influence these decisions? Were these judgments influenced by a need to regulate an already prevalent but illicit activity, or was it based purely on financial benefits? Do any of these justifications still hold true today, or have the reasons for keeping gambling legal changed over time? These are the kinds of questions I’ve been puzzling over, so any information or insights you could share would be really interesting.

Answers:

1 Votes
7 months ago

Gambling was made legal in many jurisdictions mainly because it was deemed too difficult to prevent or stop. Illegal gambling was widespread, and by legalizing and regulating it, governments could gain control over it and could work to prevent associated criminal activities. In your situation, you’re correct that one of the main justifications was financial. Revenue from gambling, in the form of taxes and licenses, can provide a significant boost to a government’s budget. For instance, in the US, Las Vegas, and more recently other places have championed their local economies through gambling-related tourism and commerce.

Public sentiment undoubtedly plays a role too. Though many consider gambling a vice, this perspective has shifted over time. As societal attitudes towards gambling have relaxed, there has been less political pushback against legalization. Furthermore, government-run lotteries, which are a form of gambling, have been used in many regions as a way to increase funding for public projects, such as infrastructure and education, which can influence positive public sentiment toward it.

In terms of whether these justifications still hold today, it can be argued that they do. The rise of online gambling presents new challenges in terms of regulation and prevention of associated criminal activities, which can once again be addressed by legalizing and closely monitoring such activities. Financial considerations are ever-present, and as long as there is a demand for gambling, there will be a supply. Despite the potential negative consequences, and efforts to mitigate them through regulation and support services, the financial and societal benefits have often been deemed to outweigh the risks. This is not necessarily a complete or exhaustive answer, but I hope it provides some insight into the complexities involved in these decisions.

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