Gambling in Kentucky: Moral Obligations vs. the Economical Reasons

In spite of the fact that gambling has always been considered a vicious way of sparing one’s time that cannot exist in the society of religious and fair people, the notorious game has taken its toll on the casinos and the people who would like to have some air of adventures and risks in their life without resorting to extreme sports. The question is whether gambling should be legalized as one of the sources of the state’s incomes or banned for good as the pastime that cannot be accepted in Kentucky.

Taking a deep look into the history of the state, one can see absolutely clearly that gambling has always been one of the ventures that bring huge sums of money into the state’s treasury. However blasphemous that might sound, gambling is something that the state has been surviving on throughout its long history.

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Beginning with the very history of the state, one should presume that it is a well-known fact that gambling has been widely established in Kentucky.

It was not the main source of the state income, though. The industries that added to the well-being of the state and its GNP since the day the state was founded and throughout the past century was the coal mining, which contributed to the state’s income to the utmost. However, as the Word War II burst out, mining became extinguished and the mines were left. As the war ended, the abandoned territory of production was rather uneasy to raise.

Meanwhile, ambling, which did not need any additional help from the government and investors, was flourishing in the state. Even after the Ohio River flood which happened in 1937 and caused almost the same harm than the war that followed it did not prevent the risky venture to develop further. The business of the gamblers not only flourished, but helped the state to get enriched with the new funds that could provide the necessary helping restoring what had been damaged by the war and the cataclysms.

It must be admitted that the unlawful way of earning money has been banned not once in Kentucky, and that most strict measures were applied to those who have been caught gambling. While people tried to earn some money with help of a deck of cards, the numerous raids that challenged the gamblers in 1951 cooled the adventurers’ enthusiasm down. Taking into account that the government connected gambling to drinking alcoholic beverages in public places, the situation was more than threatening to the gamblers in 1950ies:

Fourth, I recommend that you enact into law an act providing for the mandatory suspension or revocation of the license to sell alcoholic beverages, upon conviction of the license of this agent of gambling on the premises. (Wetherby 29)

This was something to ponder over, and gambling was forsaken for a while.

Although the present economical state of Kentucky ahs sufficiently improved since 1950ies, there is still a great concern about gambling and its legalization. The reasons for the gambling industry to develop in the state must be taken into consideration together with the ones that speak in favor of its prohibition, which will be a democratic decision to make.

Then, the multiple economical reasons must be viewed to understand whether can really provide Kentucky with the money that the state needs nowadays. The income that might overlap everything that has been achieved before is definitely the reason for the further suggestions not to be refused from considering.

The specific national character must also be well understood, since the state is breathing with what can be called the spirit of risks.

The most popular argument that is driven against gambling as the resource of the state income is that it holds no water as a serious business entrepreneurship to undertake. Its unpredictability makes gambling one of the most unpredictable ways of enriching the state’s treasury.

As Nelson (134) put it, there were several reasons for the gambling proposals to fail in early 1990ies as well; according to the scientist, the most important and profound one was the diffusion of the lotteries that added to the unpopularity of gambling, defined as the gambling political decline.

Spread all around the country, they soon became the tricks that only children could fall for. Then, the internal characteristics must be kept in mind. According to the latter, gambling has become so popular that it started to threaten people’s lives, which finally drew to its prohibition.

“The hangover from Rocky Top created a seedy image of gambling in the body politic, which was reflected in the legislative view of such things,” says the veteran legislative correspondent Tom Humphrey. The scandal touched many legislations personally when friends and associates were indicted, or, in two cases, took their own lives. In the same vein, McWherter says that the pinball and bingo controversies “created a problem about any kind of gambling, including a lottery” (134)

With such reasons for gambling to stop its destructive influence on people’s lives, it was impossible to drive any possible reasons in favor of gambling and its legalization. The conflict seemed to come into a dead end.

However, there were also the activists that preferred talking aloud about the advantages of gambling legalized to keeping silence and doing nothing. They emphasized that, first, gambling might give sufficient amount of money to the state permanently, and, second, it was in the character of the people living in the South to gamble, which was the way they expressed their need to take risks.

Gambling should be legalized in Kentucky according to a number of reasons, the economical ones the first to consider. Mainly, these are the employment and the money lost due to the riverbank casinos that speak in favor of allowing gambling, but these reasons are sufficient enough.

Of course, the economical reasons are the first to take into consideration.

With all respect to the morals and the image of a true Christian, one cannot admit that the money that the government receives to sustain the decent level of the nation’s life as gambling is allowed will be tremendous.

One of the most often driven arguments of the supporters of gambling legalization argues that a grown-up person can decide on his or her own which way he or she is going to spend the money:

Supporters of legalized gambling often argue that adults should be given the freedom to spend their money on gambling and should not be presumed incompetent to make those choices. (Evans 127)

Indeed, since this is the right of an adult man to make the steps that he or she considers the most necessary at the moment, no one has the right to prevent the people from making these steps. Whatever could be said about the gambling being against morals, the things that go against the Constitution are counted for a more serious mischief.

Thus, the rules and laws that restrict gambling in the territory of Kentucky must be reconsidered and cancelled. The question of the rights and freedoms of people is something that cannot be argued, and the government has to count for that.

Moreover, the idea of gambling as one of the additional resources for the state treasury enriching sounds rather reasonable. A single idea of what these additional funds could be involved into to make the state develop further and become more advanced is already convincing enough for the governmental bodies to start acting in favor of gambling allowance.

Thompson (210) claims that Kentucky could survive on the racing bets only; such big is the input that the bets make into the well-being of the state:

Kentucky is the home of horse racing. More race-horses are born and bred in Kentucky than in any other state. The Kentucky Derby is the most famous horse race in The United States.

In addition, horse industry will allow creating the working places for the people that are unemployed now, and thus decrease the index of unemployment in the state. This might help to cope with the problems that the state is facing now.

In spite of the fact that the religious opponents are straight against gambling and its variations, they encourage the game called bingo, which is a form of gambling as well. If such game as bingo is allowed, why not letting people play the rest of the gambling games?

Thompson also claims that people were inclined to support the idea of making bets and having lotteries that were of a great entertaining element for the people who attended horse races and decent money for the governmental treasury to fill with. The money that could be won with such ease and used to improve the state of affairs in Kentucky was the manna that people were waiting for.

In 1988, 61 percent of the Kentucky voters said they wanted a lottery, and the next year one was established that offers instant games, lotto games, and number games as well as Powerball interstate lottery tickets. Charitable games also permitted. (Thompson 210)

Moreover, it should be born in minds that, due to the riverboat casinos in Indiana, people in Kentucky lose a great deal of money, which has to be stopped: “Indiana is the sixth riverboat gambling state and also the first state to permit gambling on the Great Lakes. The intent of the Indiana Riverboat Gambling Act also was to promote tourism and assist economic development” (Hsu 79). So the question is why doesn’t Kentucky follow this convincing example?

Taking everything that has been mentioned into account, it is needless to say that the gambling games are a source of income for Kentucky that should not be rejected. With all the drawbacks and challenging to the moral prejudice of the people, gambling is still a reliable source of money and a valuable venture that the state should take courage to undertake. In spite of the numerous “cons”, gambling is the integral part of the people of Kentucky. It is in their blood, as well as the urge to have some risks in their everyday life.

The legal gambling has some prospects to survive, though. The following prospects have been stated recently:

“In near future, debate will focus on whether to expand existing forms of gambling and whether to legalize new ones” (Ruschmann 120).However, the government is still uncertain of the steps that they are going to take to solve this problem.

Thus, whenever the government and the moralizing people think that gambling should be banned fro good, it is necessary to say that the government must think of the well-being of the state first and provide it with the basis for their wealth, Since gambling is one of the most useful means that the state can resort to, it must be allowed in Kentucky. And this will become the choice of a man whether to gamble or not. This is, to paraphrase a famous writer, the road that we choose.

Works Cited

Evans, Rod L., and Mark Hance. Legalized Gambling: For and Against. La Salle, IL: Open Court Publishing, 1998. Print.

Hsu, Cathy H. S. Legalized Casino Gaming in the United States: The Economic and Social Impact. New York, NY: Routledge, 1999. Peint.

Nelson, Michael, John Lyman Mason. How the South Joined the Gambling Nation: The Politics of State Policy Innovation. Baton Rouge, LA: LSU Press, 2007. Print.

Ruschmann, Paul. Legalized Gambling. New York, NY: Infobase Publishing, 2008. Print.

Thompson, William T. Gambling in America: An Encyclopedia of History, Issues and Society. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC CLIO, 2001. Print.

Wetherby, Lawrence W., and John E. Kleber. The Public Papers of Governor Lawrence W. Wetherby, 1950-1955. Frankfort: KY: University Press of Kentucky, 1983. Print.

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