In the UK and the US there are a multitude of ways to gamble. Exorbitant sums of money are involved and the respective governments receive substantial revenues in the form of taxes. Socially, gambling has been exposed to moral opposition and has been legally flagged as a corrupt trait in some societies. However, gambling continues to grow as an important form of relaxation and as a way, legal or illegal, to earn money.
Since there have been human beings, gambling, or games of chance, as they are commonly known, has existed. It was around the mid-13th century that dice first came to prominence in Greece, although the ancient Egyptians used a similar form of entertainment called “Knuckle bones.” Playing cards were first attributed to China in the 9th UFABET or 10th century. They were later adopted by Europeans in the 14th century, probably Italy, using a 78-card deck. It took a hundred years before the standard 52-card pack was accepted as the norm. But in addition to these games, betting on sports such as horse racing and dog and cock fighting enjoyed popular appeal. There is the appeal of making money with little or no effort in all of us, but there are still mixed feelings towards the various forms of gambling available today.
Religion figures prominently in many societies today. In some, it is more dominant than politics and influences many of the decisions that governments make. In fact, many religions condemn gambling. Although the Catholic countries were the first to start playing lotteries seriously. It is the fact that gambling can be attributed to greed and corruption and may be the undoing of many that furthers the beliefs of the anti-gambling faction. Gambling has also been linked to alcoholism and many games of chance take place in taverns. The fact that drinking alcohol can also be associated with violence and lust does not help the pro-gambling lobby at all. The fact also that there are winners and losers with the winners’ winnings outweighed by the loser’s losses (although the poker games I have played in this never work!)
Here in the UK things are a bit more relaxed. Take a look at these figures:
8% of adults play bingo
11% of adults use licensed gambling shops.
62% of all households play the National Lottery on Saturdays
33% play on a Wednesday
The above figures were taken from Social Trends 1998, so today those figures could be considerably more. John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist Church, had direct opinions on the game. He said that “a Christian should be a steward of money and not possess it” and “money should not be obtained by means that could harm the neighbor”, that is, by pawning or charging excessive interest on loans.
Not everyone related to religion has taken such a position. The next Anglican Bishop of Exeter, Robert Mortimer, said in 1933 that not all forms of gambling were immoral. In fact, he did some research on the various forms and decided that some forms of gambling were a “legitimate indulgence” that no institution had the right to ban entirely.
In 1948, an international congress of Anglican bishops was concerned about the aftermath of the game not only in the players but also in their families. In fact, when premium bonds were first introduced in 1956, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Geoffrey Fisher, condemned them as private gain divorced from liability. “This was endorsed by then-shadow Chancellor Harold Wilson as a “squalid raffle”.
Many governments now take a back seat when it comes to deciding issues about gambling, realizing that the ban would condemn the problem to clandestine activities and thus lose revenue.