Recently, we (Maryland) just approved an expansion on our gambling. We have had slot machines for a few years, but not long enough to really make a solid determination if they are generating the revenue they should for the State. We were sold on them because so much of the revenue would go towards education. Provided the politicians did not raid the fund an put it elsewhere.
On Election Day, we voted to allow another casino and to expand the existing ones to allow table games. In effect, allowing a mini Las Vegas or Atlantic City in six locations. From a fiscal point of view, I am good with it. But from a parenting one, I am not so sure.
Gambling is an adult hobby just like drinking. And while my children are getting older, I wonder how the exposure to gambling (commercials, print ads, etc) will impact the younger kids. Will they grow up believing that it is every bit as glamorous and fun as the commercials depict? Will this necessarily draw them to gambling–either as a participant or as an employee?
Or does it not matter at all? Way back when there was only Las Vegas. And in the 80s Atlantic City came on board. Now gambling is in most states, on Indian reservations, and on-line with sites such as PartyCasino.com.
As I think about it, the solution is to raise our children to be responsible adults. There is nothing inherently wrong with gambling (or drinking)–if done responsibly and in moderation. The key is to instill the concept of moderation into out kids.
I have talked to my kids about sex, drugs, and alcohol since they were very young. Gambling was not a topic since it did not really exist for us. But now, it is here and we need to make sure they are aware of the upsides and downsides as well.
What are your thoughts? Is it an issue or not?