Very often, someone being opposed to something involves an emotional reaction that is for the most part unexamined, they are just against it, they will often come up with some reasons behind it but these tend to be more explanations rather than reasons.
So the first question we need to ask here is why shouldn’t we have online gambling, or given that it already persists, why should we seek to stop it?
The onus is actually on those who wish to prohibit behavior, especially those who are looking to criminalize it, to show just cause for doing so. All acts are permitted unless they are prohibited, that’s the way the law works anyway, and you have to show why they should be, or at least you are supposed to if you want to justify actions against them.
Justify is a form of the word just, and we should at least wish that our laws and our use of political power be just, and this is something that the law is supposed to seek anyway, although in the world of politics the will behind things is unfortunately often more than sufficient.
So if enough people oppose something, like online gambling, then their political power can be enough to have it banned, and who cares if the reasons given are sound or even make any kind of real sense.
So those who are in favor of online gambling can just start with the fact that we need good reasons to ban it or try to stop it, and then look at the reasons opponents give to see if they are sound.
There are a lot of things we can spend our money on, and people generally don’t have a say in this, because it is our money, our property, and the basis of the concept of property is that one owns it and spend it as one sees fit, with only certain restrictions.
In order to justify placing restrictions on this, we need some very good reasons indeed, or we should need some very good reasons if justify our actions matters. It doesn’t always matter, but it should.
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Overcoming Common Objections To Gambling
Objections to gambling has its roots in beliefs of certain religions, involving people believing that gambling is a sin and one may fall out of favor to some degree with God by gambling.
The main reason that religion and law are not a good mix is that we should not be legislating one person’s religious beliefs over another. There may be some good reasons behind some of these beliefs, for instance that people should not kill one another without just cause, but the reasons that this is not acceptable isn’t just that we may believe God would disapprove, or their religious leaders do not favor it.
If one follows this or that religion, to the degree that they choose to abstain, that’s fine, but should this not be the case, this is not a reason in itself to compel anyone to obey, or even that the action is wrong independent of simply believing it is so.
So we can cast off any religious arguments right off the bat, this isn’t the sort of thing we ever want influencing the law, although it still does to a certain degree even in countries where it is not supposed to, like the United States.
While gambling is normally thought to fall under the category of liberty, to freely choose how to conduct one’s life provided it does not infringe upon the similar rights of others to conduct theirs, many people feel that we should look the other way for people’s own good.
So we may want to take a paternalistic approach, we’re telling you not to do it because we think it’s bad for you, like a parent might. Now this indeed may be bad for some people, what we would call problem gamblers, but most gamblers do not have a problem with it and it actually contributes to their net happiness, so this argument is not a sound one.
This also includes claims that people’s families are harmed by someone’s gambling addiction. This can be a real problem in some cases, but this does not provide justification for looking to ban something because it is a problem for a small percentage of people. There are other ways to deal with that but prohibition is never a suitable or sensible one.
As for gambling increasing crime, well that’s really only the case if you give gambling over to the criminals, and this is not even an issue really with online gambling, which is well regulated already and involves reputable sites for the most part. Those who are not need to be the ones we’re looking to fix, and if something does not involve crime, you certainly can’t maintain that eliminating it would cut down on crime.
Gambling Is A Fundamental Liberty
The goal with all these specious claims is to look to provide justification to infringe upon personal liberty, and personal liberty doesn’t get much more basic than deciding how to spend one’s entertainment dollars.
There’s lots of ways people entertain themselves, and spend money on this, and you need very good and sound reasons indeed to tell someone how they can spend their money. This is at least as fundamental as things such as the right to freedom of expression or free speech, one must be able to speak up but one certainly also needs to have the right to allocate one’s property as well, and we cannot just pick and choose on what we let them spend it on.
The main argument though in favor of online gambling is that we not only have the rightful liberty to partake in it, we have the practical liberty as well, as this is not an activity that any government can effectively stop us from doing, so long as we have access to the internet.
So given that online gambling is already pervasive, decisions to regulate or prohibit it merely involve whether governments want to seek to have a say in most of it that goes on among its residents, and whether or not they want to benefit economically by taxing it.
This is not how it’s generally seen by politicians and lawmakers though, they instead think they have the power to give a thumbs up or down on this and think this will decide matters, but the truth is, if they don’t want to play, there are plenty of people in other countries who are more than happy to accommodate those they hope to deny access to.
So online gambling is here to stay, there aren’t any good reasons why it shouldn’t be, there are indeed some very good reasons why it should, but in any case it doesn’t matter because no one can really stop it.