Why the 'No Casinos' Viewpoint Isn't Mine
Around the State
At least once a week somebody asks me how, as a conservative, I can defend such a morally verklempt social pastime as gambling.
I was just asked the question today: Why not join the No Casinos crowd -- especially if destination resort casinos turn out not to be the pot of gold at the end of Florida's rainbow after all?
For the record -- and I'm talking personally here -- the revenue it harvests was never the strongest argument for gambling in general, or destination casinos in particular.
The strongest argument for legalizing well-regulated gaming is also the simplest: individual liberty.
A free society where the government bans activities it finds immoral or unseemly is not really a free society.
Proponents of gambling prohibition like No Casinos say gambling is an addiction, and often point to stories of addicts who have wagered away the kids' college fund, lost their house, or turned to crime to pay off their debts.
But foolishness with our own money should not be illegal. We don't prohibit people from blowing their savings on eBay, taking out mortgages or loans they can't afford (at least not yet), or frittering away their paychecks on booze, cigarettes or mistresses.
The government has no business policing its citizens' personal lives for bad habits, particularly when it is happy to exploit those same habits for its own benefit.
If liberty means anything at all, it means the freedom to make our own choices about our own lives, our money, our habits and how we spend our leisure time, even if they happen to be choices other people would not make for themselves.
Certainly we aim to keep this site fair in its news coverage of Florida gaming stories. The inclusion of No Casinos' point of view, even though I don't share it, is part of that coverage, and hopefully, it will always be reflected here.
But personally, I will continue to oppose No Casinos' point of view. I will oppose the hypocrisy it sells as family-friendliness. But mostly, I will oppose it because it threatens the liberty of an individual to do his or her will freely in matters other than those imposed by law to safeguard the physical, political, and economic welfare of others.
Reach Nancy Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 228-282-2423.