Thursday, March 29, 2007

No casino!

For once I'm pleased with politics in the UK, and for the apparent conservativeness of Lords over MPs. The Lords have thrown out the government's proposals for a "super-casino" in Manchester - see here. It seems finally some airing is being given in the media to the rampant social problems that this kind of thing can (and I believe will) cause. We haven't heard much about them because the driving forces behind these casinos have a lot of money.

One example is research done in the States by a Christian economist*, showing that the social cost actually exceeds the social benefit. This is counter to most research, usually funded by the gambling promoters, which suggests that opening casinos would be great.

And sure enough, MPs and the Chamber of Commerce in Manchester are up in arms about the potential job losses. I find these arguments intolerable. Let's provide jobs to completely mess up our society, and let problem gambling increased! Why not publicly build a few other socially undesirable things too while we're at it.

There are plenty of more virtuous means of providing jobs. Crazy, really mind-boggling ideas like perhaps build loads of sporting facilities to kids can play sport much more often, rather than accompany their parents to the casino, and rather than eating yet more junk food on their ever faster march towards obesity. It'll never happen...

*Grinols, E. 2004, Gambling in America: costs and benefits, Cambridge, CUP

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