Gambling and the Public Interest

Gambling and the Public Interest

Gambling and the Public Interest

Gambling and the Public Interest


"No longer confined to Nevada and Atlantic City, gambling is emerging with astonishing pervasiveness, from the new Native American casinos to state-run lotteries to the Internet. Collins argues that a moral case for banning gambling is untenable in a society committed to liberal democratic values. Instead he sees a role for furthering public policy goals and mitigating the ill effects of gambling on communities - and on the gamblers themselves." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved


I hope that this book will be of interest and use to all who are concerned in whatever context—whether as legislators or regulators, as gambling industry professionals or campaigners against gambling, as lawyers or lobbyists, as academic students of commercial gambling or citizens—with the fundamental question [What should the law be regarding gambling?]

Because this is the fundamental question that the book addresses, its central preoccupations are jurisprudential, and the book is composed principally of discussions about what is or would be desirable rather than of descriptions about what is or has been the case. As such, the focus is on arguments and important questions rather than on information and clear-cut answers. For this reason, it is more important that the conclusions of the book be challenging than that they be irresistible.

Another reason why the conclusions offered must often be tentative is that the academic study of gambling behavior and the gambling business is relatively young. There is a great deal—especially in the areas of economics and psychology as they apply to gambling—about which we are as yet uncertain. It is also true that many disagreements about what the law governing gambling ought to be reflect disagreements about matters of moral principle rather than matters of empirical fact. When people dispute issues of principle, argument may compel them to be clear and consistent, to attend accurately to relevant facts, and to give sensitive consideration to alternative moral visions, but the result will be persuasive rather than probative, and in the end the disputants may have to agree to differ.

This is not, however, to suggest that anyone's opinion about what laws governments should pass about gambling is as good as anyone else's. In this, as in other areas, some opinions are better than others because it is true of some opinions, but not of others, that they make use of concepts that are lucid, sub-

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