As the popular adage goes, time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time. Say what you want about gambling, but you cannot deny that it is fun. Heck, even if you do try to deny it, the science will just prove you wrong. We now know that gambling triggers the release of dopamine in our brains which, by definition, is linked to pleasure. All humans like the thrill of a possible reward. Gambling, by its very nature, provides that for us. As long as you go into it treating it like any other leisure activity – where you may actually have to pay up – it’s fine.


Religions across the world have been warning us of the dangers of gambling for centuries. “You cannot serve both God and money,” sayeth the Bible. The Talmud condemns gambling as a sin. The Quran lists it as haram. Certain sects of Hinduism specifically forbid it. Would it not be prudent to heed the common wisdom of these great faiths?

Even if you’re non-religious, you’ve surely heard horror stories wrought upon families by gambling. Be it fathers or mothers abandoning their parental responsibilities, losing life savings or destroying their home lives, it’s not a pretty sight. Gambling can be seriously detrimental to your social well-being.


We’re all adults, aren’t we? Do we really need a nanny state to regulate our behaviour? At the end of the day, it should come down to personal responsibility. If you want to go ahead and gamble, you should have the freedom to do so. It’s never a good idea to grant governments the right to legislate morality. We’ve already seen the disastrous results that led to in regards to sexuality and drinking. Of course, like anything, there is always the risk of gambling being abused by individuals. That’s the risk you find with any recreational activity. However, it’d be foolish to create laws based on the extremes.


Of course, you’re free to do as you wish, but how free are you really once you fall into the dark grip of addiction?  Problem gambling is a well-known psychiatric issue. Gambling triggers the reward centre of the brain. For certain individuals, this pleasant sensation creates a compulsive disorder. In Europe, pathological gambling rates vary between 2% and 6.5% in the adult population. That’s not a negligible number.


Money, money, money. That’s what gambling is all about at the end of the day, is it not? What better way for the state to collect tax revenue than by tapping into such a lucrative sector. In 2015, the money brought in by gambling in Europe was 94.2 billion euros. To put that into perspective, that’s nearly 2/3rd of the EU’s annual budget. You’d have to be an idiot not to exploit that goldmine.


The house always wins. Of course it does: why else would anyone want to open up a casino? The capitalist system is based around return on investments. Casino owners and gambling websites know this all too well and, of course, they specifically create business models to ensure profitability. You could well be one of the very lucky few to benefit from this system, but you’re far more likely to be the stupid schmuck that loses everything. May the very low odds be ever in your favour…

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