Should we legalize (part 3)...Gambling
Third in our series (of 3 episodes) exploring the intersection of morality and public policy; generally of the form 'should X be made legal?'. We'll be exploring both the ethical arguments and some of the high level data around key policy decisions surrounding commonly banned substances and activities. A core introductory theme (and one that's consistently touched on through the series) is when and how a governing power should behave independent of morality, i.e. with a greater focus and interest in outcomes and evidence, and when the banning or legalizing of substances are perhaps more important as value statements than as policy approaches who's outcomes we should study. Ultimately, this a spectrum and we will all have different views on this, even from issue to issue.
Today we consider the legality of gambling. Dissimilar to previous episodes, this is something that's is largely legal (though sports gambling is only recently permitted in the US). This means we can assess some of the impacts through studies and also that we consider the realistic efficacy of oversight bodies. In this case, the similar to the sex work, the moral imperative is protection of victims, but the victims are the purchasers rather than the sellers, and the particular difference on top of this is the awkward layering of the capitalist incentive to take advantage of those who gamble most - and are most addicted.
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