My favorite comment so far in the Economist debate.
At the time I am writing, there is 53% of the debate’s participants that think that there should be NO legal restrictions on gambling. So I conclude that for Radley Balko and 53% of the participants the following points are not very important problems in comparison with the benefits that society can get from a lack of restrictions or with the sacrosanct idea of freedom.
If there are no restrictions, I think that there are going to be special slots machines for kids in front of every school and a large amount of money to spend in advertising gambling to children. A lot of children are going to become gambling addicts and the gambling industry is going to make a lot of money when they grow up and began earning money. Besides, gambling is going to depreciate the value of money in their minds. 10 euros is nothing because if you are lucky you can win 1,000,000 euros or more by gambling these 10 euros… but in real life 10 euros is more than 1 hour of hard work in a lot of developed countries or 10 days of toil in others.
I grew up in the country side of France and I was 22 when I first entered a casino with some previous exposure to the dangers of gambling. Then, I haven’t become an addict and have gambled less than 3 times in the 8 following years. Now I am living in Colombia where they don’t have the means to tightly control gambling. I can see slot machines in every small grocery in the working-class suburbs where I live and who is gambling? Adults, but also 12 year-olds that seem to be already addicted. When I see that, I assure you that I am happy to have grown up in a country that have the means and the rules to not show me these slot machines when I was that age.
But for Radley Balko, these problems don’t seem very important and I am just amazed that 53% of the participants think like him…
I’m fine with letting elementary school-age children gamble, but only if they’re also legally permitted to drink. It would be cruel to let them wager away their allowance, but then deny them the sweet, melancholy ritual of drowning their sorrows in beer.