Liberty And Some Forms Of Gambling


How/why can the government prohibit us from gambling?  Because gambling addictions can ruin people’s lives, or enrich some unsavory people?  Because often gambling proceeds are untaxed?  Because gambling is immoral?  Etc. and etc.  Okay, then how/why can government approve or at least allow some types of gambling for adults, such as horse or dog racing, state-run lotteries (note the irony?) and almost all forms of gambling in places like Las Vegas and at Indian casinos?  In fact, how is that gambling essentially different than “playing the stock market,” or even fishing?

Of course, gambling has been around since the beginning of civilization, to the degree that it is often known as the second-oldest profession.  And it certainly can have some bad results if it becomes an addiction.  But so can smoking cigarettes or even reading mystery novels.  And if legalized gambling is so harmful or immoral, why haven’t the residents of Nevada, Jersey City, Macau and Monaco all become destitute?  In truth, government’s prohibition of some selected forms of gambling represents the naked attempt by some powerful people to control the lives and life styles of less powerful people.  New York’s Mayor Bloomberg attempted to do the same thing in regulating the size of soft drinks people could buy.  Not only are these efforts almost never successful, they are also a violation of Liberty!  The government is not our mother – and it simply should not attempt to be.  Yes, it is fully appropriate for government to protect us from each other, but almost totally inappropriate (and mostly ineffective) to try to protect us from ourselves.  So in this way, and so many others, government simply should get out of our lives!  More limited government works better, and it is also a question of Liberty!

Judge Jim Gray (Ret.)
2012 Libertarian candidate for Vice President, along with
Governor Gary Johnson as the candidate for President