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Comic Strip Politics » Blog Archive » Poker Night at the State House

Poker Night at the State House

They’ll Do It Every Time - 1.20.2007

This strip is a caricature of exactly how gambling laws work in most states. State-run lotteries are completely legal, and sanctioned by the government. Why then, are all other types of gambling outlawed?
Politicians’ answer: Because gambling addiction is a serious problem. It’s my job to save the people from themselves. Gambling is an evil, evil monster, and deserves to be outlawed in this state.

There are two obvious problems with this argument. The first is the obvious hypocritical nature of that type of answer. If gambling is so evil, why are state-sponsored lotteries legal? Because they benefit the government (and as such, presumably the common good)? So apparently, gambling addiction is worrisome if private individuals (and other winning gamblers) reap the windfall, but not if the state gets the profits to use as they see fit.

The second part of this whole thing is the idea that Americans need to be protected from themselves. Gambling can be addictive to a small percentage of people. So can alcohol, cigarettes, sex, food, and a number of other very legal things. Banning something because it causes a problem for a small number of people is simply ridiculous.

Since the house almost always has an edge in casino-gambling, in the long run, most gamblers will end up losing money. Everyone is aware of this, yet casinos in Las Vegas, Atlantic City, and on Indian reservations never seem to have a problem filling up their casinos. It’s just possible that people are aware of the fact that gambling is a losing proposition, but they simply don’t care because they’re having fun.

A night out at the ballpark is a money-losing endeavor. You spend money on tickets, overpriced hot dogs, beer, and those funny foam hands. When it’s all over, you have $100 less than you did that morning, but you don’t mind, because you had a good time. Many people seek out gambling for a similar purpose. It’s exciting, it’s fun, and if you get lucky, you’ll come home with more money than you started with. If not, you still had a good time. How is this a bad thing?

Can anyone provide me with a valid reason why gambling is illegal in most states? It simply doesn’t make sense why an activity that so many people enjoy would be outlawed at the behest of the government.

Comments?

3 Responses to “Poker Night at the State House”

  1. Headlines: Poker, Law, and Politics (3/13/07) « Poker Players Alliance Blog Says:

    [...] Posted by Randy on March 13th, 2007 [...]

  2. Chris Says:

    As a casual poker player myself, I agree with you for most parts. I have played 5 draw cards for a year with my family including my niece who turned just 9. Before this recreational activity, we spent our time largely on watching TV, movies, and bowling. Since we have a few kids in the house, we carefully choose the TV programs and movies. And believe me…not much out there to see. Furthermore, we live in a big city, so if we don’t get a lane quickly, we can forget about bowling. Poker gave us a new meaning of how we should spend time together as a family. Our betting doesn’t invlove with real money even though we occasionally use the momnopoly money to spice the game up. A loser of the game either cleans the house or the backyard, and a winner gets to eat double portion of ice cream or something. If the kids win, we go to a MacDonald as a reward on the weekend. Sometimes, the kids want to play more than do I. Anyhow, there are more positive things about poker than the other way.
    AS for gambling in general, if our society can provide us with fairness and security and also provide addicts with rehabilitation and education, I don’t see how someone can come up with any valid reasons.

  3. Comic Strip Politics » Repeal the Online Poker Ban! Says:

    [...] discussed this comic in January in a post about Congress banning online poker. I’m bringing it back from the archives because there’s a chance (however slight) that [...]

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