Thursday, December 16, 2004

Do I want my children to grow up learning it's OK to gamble? Of course not; that's why I'm going to try my hardest to be a responsible parent and teach them that it's not OK. Which is a point these well-meaning but slightly silly people seem to have missed.

On the one hand, I approve of the Enlightenment-derived idea that people should have the opportunity to decide for themselves if they want to gamble or not, and that the Government should not shield its people forever from vices. On the other, I personally believe that the social cost of the casino will far outweigh any financial benefits it would bring to our little island. In way of empirical proof, I'm afraid all I can offer are the multitude of sociological observations that point out the harmful effects of casinos on the surrounding communities versus the pittance of reports on the benefits of casinos.

Let me try and approach this from another angle, with the aim of finding more solid ground. I don't think anyone will deny that with a casino at our doorstep, the number of people who will become gambling addicts will increase. So perhaps the real question should be: are our social services ready to handle more broken families, more troubled kids and more bankruptcies?

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