Gambling And Socialism: Are You In Or Out?

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Does gambling truly go against the main ideas of socialism? There is no immediate answer, since there are so many forms of socialism we would have to analyze to give a proper response. There is also the matter of the type of the socialist group you are addressing the question to; however, at a quick glance, it would appear that gambling is not something socialism is ready to adopt an open-arms policy for. But should all forms of gambling – private and state-owned – be regarded the same way? Let's find out!

Gambling = The House 1, The People 0

While addressing the idea of a state-held gambling facility, whether online or offline, it would seem that the gods are not smiling upon the idea either. Why? Because the very idea behind running a gambling company is to bring the majority of wins into the hands of the House – the actual company – and not so much and as little often as possible into the accounts of players. Having private individuals place losing money bets goes against the principles of socialism in its purest form. Let us assume the money that the house wins gets redistributed; would things change somehow? Not a great deal, because the majority of people buying lottery tickets are disproportionately poor people who choose to spend most of their money on playing the lottery or gambling online. This means they are the ones more likely to lose as compared to rich people, and it is well known anything that can harm the poor is never seen with good eyes by socialists.

What's The Ideal Scenario?

In a society run entirely by socialist practices, people would not need to play Bejeweled games online on places like this one here in hopes of gaining some extra spending money on top of their monthly paychecks. As fun as this game of slots can be, people would no longer aim to play for real money as there will be no differences between the rich and the poor and no need to struggle to make more money. They would have the chance to play it out of pure pleasure – like they can still do today using the 'free play' option the fellows at Ladbrokes are currently displaying for all of their games, whether cards or table games, roulette, slots, arcade, or anything in between.

Gambling is and always will be a means of helping some people get more money while other people lose it in parallel. Some true socialists would nevertheless agree with gambling in a socialism-based universe should the won money be redistributed if possible equally. However, this would make the whole idea of gambling in the first place completely invalid and irrelevant. The whole practice of gambling is for players to assume the risk of losing at any time, but also anticipate the thrills of winning a fun game of 5-reel slots with bonus rounds or a few exciting hands of Blackjack while facing the dealer inside an online/land casino.


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Donagh is the editor of Irish Left Review. Contact Donagh through email: