In the world there is no topic more hotly debated than the topic of Gambling! The practice of gambling may be legal or illegal in any foreign country depending on the political perspective of each of the 196 countries that make up our modern world. Religion plays a major role where gambling is concerned. Fundamental Baptists in America are allied with all Muslims in opposition to gambling. Communist controlled countries prohibit gambling. Here in America opinions about gambling run the gamut between those in favor of gambling in places where it has been legalized to those opposed to gambling on moral or ethical grounds. There are those on the conservative political spectrum in favor of extending gambling throughout America as well as those opposed and disharmony exists on the other liberal side of the political spectrum as well.
There is a political movement afoot wishing to limit the future of on line gambling and to curtail gambling in the states. Those opposed to the proliferation of gambling wish to reinstate the Restoration of America’s Wire Act called RAWA. Presently no clear referendum exists and political parties are split sometimes down the middle. Libertarians and Liberals do not want to see government involved in limiting personal choices but moralistically inspired conservatives want to control our lives from the workplace to the bedroom. There is no clear political direction for this struggle but the average American is a gambling friendly person. Who hasn’t joined an office pool on something or another, sports outcomes, award presentations, political victories. People may be opposed to gambling but they stop at the local mini-market for a lottery ticket. Who hasn’t been to Las Vegas, Atlantic City or a cruise ship’s casino and put a few coins in the one armed bandits. When the sounds of silver striking the winning tray of a one armed bandit are registered in a gambler’s mind it is the music of joy and the spell begins. Take a cruise and when the ship sails into International water, the on board casino opens and hordes head to the blinking lights and enchanting music of the casino.
If gambling is wrong as the Muslims and Baptists claim, should we limit children’s exposure to gambling. Most will agree but then consider one telling phrase from childhood, “wanna bet?” America is the land of the free and we should not place restrictions on things which most people enjoy, even if the results of this misuse are life damaging. Consider alcohol and alcoholism. American banned alcohol during prohibition but the proliferation of speakeasies and rum runners made enforcement impossible. While gambling has a dark side, it is enjoyed as a pleasant pastime for millions whether on a cruise ship or in a casino.
After a sparcely attended congressional hearing on Gambling and RAWA held in March 2015, not much has taken place and there is little movement for or against the measure which is, in fact, a law against gambling. There are lobbying forces on both sides of the question. The current consensus seemed to have taken this consideration on gambling and RAWA turned off the legislative superhighway and onto a back road in an out of the way and little trafficked, run down place in order for it to languish and hopefully to die due to the lack of interest.
Gambling is at a juncture of this new technological age. With the proliferation of video games available on computers large and small, gaming and gambling are found everywhere. Playing video slot machine simulators are a pleasant way to enjoy fantasizing about winning big and creating a full and rewarding life. Our heroes are often gamblers. James Bond, 007, as a literary figure enjoyed playing Bridge but he has evolved, as has popular culture, into a champion at Texas Hold ‘em poker. Playing games online has boomed in popularity and it is logical that the evolution of gambling should include playing for real! Real stake, real winning, real fun and real losing!
Finally, gambling is an integral part of the American culture. Our founding fathers played an early form of Bridge which had a scoring system that makes it a form of gambling. No one is immune from gambling. The Communists, Muslims and Baptists, who are prohibited from gambling, may secretly imagine winning the big jackpot and giving everything to Chairman Mao, Allah or Abraham. Play golf and you will discover dozens of games within the game of golf to win or lose money but which only make the game more fun. There is bingo, bango, bongo, skins, wolf, nassua to name only a few golf gambling games played by conservatives and liberal alike and even American Presidents! What is investing in the stock markets, after all, but a sophisticated form of gambling with the odds, sometimes, on the side of investors.
How can we impose limits on gambling when you only have to examine the success of Las Vegas. This city was once a dreary refuge in the desert but has turned into a city full of around the clock lights and excitement. Las Vegas has become a mecca for gamblers and fun seekers alike. It is a true success story.
RAWA was an antiquated bill from 1961 and American culture has decided against it. There will be moneys won and lost gambling and there will be people who, like alcoholics, go too far but for the majority it is an enjoyable diversion. Any legislation attempting to license pleasure should be met with resounding opposition! It is a free world after all! Wanna bet?