Gambling opponents say moral arguments fall flat

Economically grounded arguments may be more effective
The moral opposition to gambling may be gasping for its last breaths.

As more and more states turn to casinos and gambling to fill shrinking coffers, the voices of the religious opposition are struggling to convince people that gambling is morally wrong.

It’s an uphill fight: A recent study by Ellison Research showed that 70 percent of Americans do not consider gambling to be a sin.

“It’s not acceptable in today’s society to present arguments based solely on religion or morals,” said I. Nelson Rose, who teaches gambling law at the Whittier Law School in California.

Thirty years ago, gamblers had to try their luck with scratch-off tickets or at casinos in Atlantic City or Las Vegas. Today, only two states—Utah and Hawaii —do not have some form of legalized gambling, according to the American Gaming Association. The other 48 have anteed up for tribal casinos, commercial casinos, racetracks, jai alai or lotteries.


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