I can hear the moans and groans now. It’s only been a few days since a Jessamine County couple was indicted for possession of illegal gambling machines, but gambling proponents likely are already preparing their arguments.
“Who is the victim of this alleged crime?” Since gamblers choose to engage in the activity, some would argue that if the machines are honest, there is no victim. But those who consider gambling a victimless vice likely have never sat face-to-face with people whose loved ones cannot control their urges to gamble. Some have lost all their possessions, life savings, and prospects for future happiness because of legalized gambling. The pool of potential victims includes more than just the gamblers themselves.
“Why should it be illegal to do in Kentucky what is legal in other states?” It is true that the same people who played the slots illegally in Nicholasville could do so legally by driving to a neighboring state. This illustrates the glory of life in the United States.
Individuals still have the right to vote on issues and to differ with decisions made by people from other regions. This adds to the diversity of our country.
For now, gambling is still illegal in Kentucky. By flouting the law, both those who provide access to the machines and those who use them are committing crimes. Does this not prove the point of anti-gambling arguments?
If the lure of gambling profits, both by purveyors and patrons, is so strong that people will flout the law to participate, there is a high probability that the behavior is addictive. Access to addictive substances is usually restricted and in some cases prohibited. Substances are not the only things that can become addictive; behaviors can also lead to compulsions.
The “drug” in gambling is money. The lure of getting a lot of money while risking only a little is powerful. Many people simply cannot resist. Prohibiting gambling protects not only them, but those who would be impacted by their ability to control themselves.
I’ve had to laugh at pro-gambling business corporations who have promoted their “wares” as harmless and even pro-community. Since the word “gambling” has such a negative connotation, they refer to it as “gaming.” They highlight their giving to charities and emphasize the supposed economic benefits of providing jobs and paying taxes to municipalities and states. Do they think we really cannot see right through such shameless self-aggrandizement?
What they don’t mention is the increased expenses for social services to families bankrupted by an addicted gambler, or police man-hours to investigate cheaters and mobsters. They don’t count the grief for those impacted by the increase in crimes by those seeking money to fuel their gambling addiction.
I’m a little shocked to find out that illegal machines were operated in our little community, but I suppose I shouldn’t be. Vices will always find a market, even in seemingly unlikely environments.
I appreciate the efforts of our law-enforcement professionals to keep illegal gambling at bay. It benefits us all.