Grambling Takes Hold of the Middle-Class
Some observers question most people's contention that gambling has been legitimated.
Also, citing as countertrends continued opposition to its presence by various groups and regions, the defeat of new gambling proposals, and the negative publicity given to some existing operations.
Nevertheless, evidence that gambling in the United States has been legitimated and that it will remain so for the foreseeable future exists.
States now depend on these dollars to fund basic services such as hospitals, road construction, schools, and welfare agencies.
The dies has been cast; there is no returning to a time when gambling was relatively insignificant and its presence unobtrusive.
Although opposition to gambling still exists, it has been fragmented, persisting only as pockets of resistance.
Opponents of gambling per se represent a minority and parochial view. Church groups no longer present a united front.
On the contrary, many churches now support gambling and have themselves become dependent on revenues from bingo or from Las Vegas Nights.
The opinion of Billy Graham is typical of the growing church tolerance toward gambling.
After visiting Las Vegas in 1978, Graham said he found the resort 'a nice place to visit' and indicated that although he himself did not gamble, the Bible says nothing definitive against the practice.
The Catholic church, always neutral toward gambling, recently acknowledged that playing bingo was the second most common parish activity.
Some legislators, like Florida's Senator Bob Graham, are opposed to gambling on the grounds that it weakens society's values, but many accept the viewpoint of Florida's commissioner of education, Ralph Turlington, who supports lotteries.
After examining the Maryland lottery, Turlington argued, 'Have the people there quit work? Are they less moral? Today? Are they less American?'
He contends that the people in Maryland are, in fact, better off.
While the Mormon church continues to oppose lotteries on the grounds that they 'add to the problems of the financially disadvantaged', such a perspective is not supported by the overwhelming majority of Americans, who have consistently approved lotteries.
Resistance to some types of gambling games continues.
Casino gambling has been defeated in many jurisdictions. The failure of casinos to revive the overall economy and general vitality of Atlantic City has caused other communities to seriously question the benefits of casino gaming.
These ballot defeats are not indictments of gambling in general but rather of casino gaming in particular.; many of the same states that have turned down casinos have wholeheartedly embraced lotteries and pari-mutuel wagering.
Sports betting, except for abortive efforts in Delaware and Western Canada, has not been considered appropriate for legalization.
The unwillingness to consider legalizing sports betting stems in large part form the small profit margins and large risks inherent in this type of operation.
Millions of Americans show little compunction about illegally on sports events with bookies or in office pools.
The amount of money bet on the Super Bowl (most of it illegally) exceeds that for any other wagering event. In fact, much of the opposition to legalization of new games comes from operators of existing gaming ventures who are fearful of increased competition.
Horse racing interest groups have been vocal opponents of lotteries and casinos, whereas operators of existing state lotteries adamantly oppose the institution of a national lottery.