Harmful Effects of Legalized Gambling
Gambling is prominent in today's society. This can be seen especially through politics. Everywhere voters are electing people to office who are pro gambling. William Thompson of the University of Nevada (1994) describes politicians by stating, Its part of the American landscape, they'll trade morality for dollars" (1). In North and South Carolina, for example, the last governor election showed that the people were for legal gambling by voting in governors who wanted a lottery. Now in the U.S., 47 states including the District of Columbia have legalized gambling. This increase in gambling is argued to be good for the economy, but there is further proof that it not only hurts the economy but society as well.
Gambling has become outrageous. In England last year a bookmaking firm called William Hill of London offered bets on the end of the world. Some of these bets include civilization destroyed by mass suicide at 100 million to one odds, destruction by aliens at 500,000 to one odds, and worldwide floods at 100,000 to one odds. One man put a pound on 6,666,666 to one odds that the world would end at six p.m. on the sixth day of the sixth month of 1999. Another man bet at one million to one odds that the world would end on August 11, 1999 at 12:50 p.m. (ironically that happens to be Jerry Springer's time slot on many stations) (Playboy 20).
Super Bowl bets in Las Vegas were also astounding this past year according to Time magazine. People bet on things like a completed first pass-attempt by John Elway, the jersey number of the first person to score, the team to score the longest touchdown, and the total number of fumbles by both teams. (18)
The NCAA men's basketball tournament brought in millions of dollars this past season through gambling. Approximately 80 million was wagered with Nevada bookmakers. This was the first time that the tournament had more bets than the 78 million bet on the Super Bowl. Aside from the legal betting, the FBI estimated that 2.5 million was wagered illegally on the tournament.
Many college students/athletes are now getting involved in this sort of gambling. A 1996 study completed by the University of Cincinnati surveyed 2,000 male student-athletes about NCAA rule violations and found that 25% gambled on college events other than their own. Also, 4% admitted to wagering on their own games, and 3% changed the outcome of a game in which they participated (Saum 2). In 1998, a study at a University in the Southeast Conference involving 1000 students showed that athletes were nearly twice as likely to become problem gamblers than non-athletes. Another study was conducted by surveying 1,700 students from six different colleges and universities. It found that 33% of males and 15% of females in college gamble at least once a week.
College student gamblers tend to be people who believe they have control of their own destiny, take risks, and feel they...