We hear plenty of information about the issues associated with gambling. There is definitely a strong societal voice criticising gambling with many people arguing that the government should ban it outright.
They do have a point to a degree: gambling can be a huge problem for some people. But is a ban warranted, and do most people want a ban? Let’s explore this topic below.
People clearly enjoy gambling
Although some people develop a problem with gambling, and they certainly need protection, many people can gamble without experiencing any problems. They understand that they should only spend small amounts of their disposable income on gambling, and they know that they’re more likely to lose than to win.
In other words, many people gamble just for entertainment value because it is exciting.
And many people do gamble. According to the latest statistics from the Gambling Commission, 40% of people gambled in the past 4 weeks. That’s a huge proportion of the UK population who clearly enjoy the odd flutter.
There’s also evidence that the problem gambling rate has fallen slightly, to around 1.9% to err on the side of extreme caution.
However, as mentioned above, there is a strong societal outcry against gambling – or at least there appears to be. If so many people enjoy a flutter, just how many people are seriously against gambling? Is it a vocal minority or a vocal majority trying to ban gambling?
Curbs on gambling are welcome when they help protect people from the harms of gambling. But when they try to get rid of gambling altogether, that’s where it begins to feel a bit too “nanny state”.
Gambling appears to be natural to some degree
Gambling may even be a natural facet of high intelligence. Humans certainly aren’t the only animals that gamble. When considering an outright gambling ban, it’s important to understand this.
We already know that banning vices just drives them underground and leads to bigger problems – just look at prohibition in the USA. All very noble and wholesome, but backfired spectacularly.
And maybe it’s because, again, it’s quite natural to want to get drunk, and humans around the only animals to partake in a little tipple:
It feels as if an outright ban on gambling would likely backfire similarly. This is because people enjoy it. It may be a vice, it may not be a wholesome pastime, but many people find it exciting and fun and that’s the bottom line.
The government should ensure the safety of players and make sure that problem gambling is kept to low levels, but an outright ban on gambling would be a fool’s errand. Too many people enjoy it.
According to YouGov, as many as 59% of voters believe that placing too many limits on gambling will lead to more black market gambling.
What do you think? Should we ban gambling?
We know that gambling is something that divides opinion. The UK has strict gambling laws, and they seem to be good at keeping problem gambling to a minimum. Is it, therefore, fair to continue to place restrictions on the gambling industry? Tell us in the comments what you think.