Free «Argumentative Essay: Gambling» Essay Sample

Argumentative Essay: Gambling

Introduction

Gambling is one of the most serious moral topics in the modern society. The experts and common people argue about the advantages and problems connected with the prevalence of gambling practice in the majority of the contemporary states. Some specialists connect the gambling industry with the positive economic and social effect for the country, which includes high tax revenues from the casinos and the creation of new workplaces in the gambling industry. Their opponents present a fact that the availability of gambling leads to the increase in the number of cases of alcohol and drug dependence, mental health disorders of people and other negative effects for society as a whole. There are many arguments against the existence of an accessible gambling industry in the modern world, which has negative implications not only on individuals involved but also the whole countries.

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The Position of the Society about Gambling

It is no accident that the problem of gambling became the object of consideration in this work. According to the opinion of Christina Sterbenz from Business Insider, gambling is one of eight most important moral issues of the modern society. In her article, the author presents the results of the Pew Research Center's Global Attitudes Project that performed a survey of forty thousand respondents from forty different countries. In her report, gambling is defined as the second biggest moral issue after the question of extramarital affairs. Sterbenz stated that the concept of gambling was defined as unacceptable by 62% of the survey participants. Only 11% of participants had a positive attitude to gambling, and 19% did not consider it as a moral problem (Sterbenz). 

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The results of the survey show that the majority of people consider gambling as a negative phenomenon that should be excluded from the everyday life of the modern society. At the same time, careful study of results of the research for different states shows that the opinion of participants from different countries varies significantly. On the one hand, people from developed countries like France, Canada, Great Britain, Spain and the US, who took part in the survey, did not demonstrate serious concerns or rejection of the gambling idea (Sterbenz). On the other hand, the rejection of the gambling concept was common for participants from the developing and poorly developed countries like Jordan, Pakistan, Indonesia, Egypt, and Nigeria. The majority of these states can be characterized with the strong influence of traditions and religious prohibitions on the people’s choice. The developed countries with more democratic views are more open to anything, including gambling. In this way, it is important to define whether adherence to the principles of freedom of choice in the accessibility of gambling establishments is the preferred solution for man and society or the traditional societies with conservative views on this issue are the best alternative in modern conditions. To answer this question, it is necessary to evaluate the advantages and limitations of the gambling industry existence for the person and the economy of the state.

 
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The Risk of Addiction as the Main Negative Feature of Gambling

Before the consideration of the specific negative social consequences of gambling, it is necessary to define the causes that lie behind the occurrence of gambling dependence. Such approach will give a clear understanding of the discussed issue. First of all, it is important to state that the gambling dependence is officially defined as not just a psychological disorder, but as a serious disease caused by a change in the functions of individual parts of the human brain. This conclusion was presented by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) in the 1980s (Faerber). Before that time, the gambling dependence issue was defined “as more of a compulsion than an addiction – a behavior primarily motivated by the need to relieve anxiety rather than a craving for intense pleasure” (Faerber). The estimation of the gambling dependence as a compulsion did not cause serious concerns due to the considerable ease of compulsion treatment. However, the careful study of the brain activity during the gambling process allowed the researchers to reach completely different results.

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The researches in neuroscience have proved that gambling and drugs have a similar influence on the person’s brain. This effect is connected with the reward system of the human’s brain. Mainly, when an individual performs actions necessary for his/her survival or normal development, the brain is supposed to encourage such actions through the release of the dopamine hormone. The presence of this hormone in the person’s circulatory system leads to the occurrence of the feeling of satisfaction. In this way, the individual is oriented on the development of the habits connected with those actions that cause the release of dopamine. The idea of drugs’ influence on the human’s body is that they stimulate a tenfold increase in the amount of dopamine released by the body. Later, a person gets addicted to the permanent receiving of the satisfaction hormone. The second problem is that the frequent receiving of big doses of dopamine leads to the dullness of the human senses. As a result, a bigger amount of hormone is needed to achieve the similar satisfaction effect. The human hormonal system becomes exhausted, and it is increasingly difficult to obtain the necessary doses of happiness (Faerber). That is why the person becomes a hostage of depression and dependent on the inadequate source of happiness.

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The same result is achieved during the development of the gambling dependence. In this case, the availability of high financial result becomes the main stimulus for a person. Moreover, the presence of risk becomes a factor that adds a situation of excitement and raises the degree of satisfaction from a positive result. At the certain stage, even losses do not become a cause for rejection for the player (“Compulsive Gambling Symptoms”). As a result, not a financial result itself, but a feeling of risk and later satisfaction become the main values for the person.

Another negative effect that accompanies the process of the gambling dependence development is the decrease in the intensity of inhibitory processes in the human brain (Faerber). Here, the inhibitory processes are supposed to ensure the adequacy of the person’s actions due to the suppression of instincts and an adequate assessment of the external situation. The results of the research by the APA show that the patients with high levels of gambling addiction have serious problems with psychological suppression of instincts and adequate assessment of emerging risks. As a result, the player can prefer the involvement in an initially losing game due to the absence of clear understanding of the case. The understanding of these aspects of the gambling issue may not only contribute to the definition of the necessary treatment but also allows the society to evaluate the real consequences of gambling. From its point, the development of the gambling addiction leads to the certain socio-economic problems that also require highlighting.

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The Consequences of Gambling for the Society

The negative influence of the gambling practice on the mental health of a person definitely leads to certain changes in his/her behavior model that causes problems for the society. In general, the social issues connected to gambling can be divided into several basic groups. It is necessary to highlight the fact that such consequences are common only for pathological gamblers. Nevertheless, the growth of demand for gambling services makes it possible to think that the number of pathological gamblers is supposed to increase in the future.

Decrease of Incomes and the Risk of Bankruptcy

Financial difficulties are fairly defined as the key negative consequence of the pathological gambling (“Pathological Gambling” 158). Due to the absence of an effective means of risk estimation, the gamblers usually enter the losing game and face the necessity to pay the significant debt to the casino. The research shows that almost 20 % of gamblers have faced the situation of bankruptcy. The results of the study conducted by the Australian Productivity Commission (APC) show that the gambling losses had averaged about 20% of household income for the pathological gamblers. Eventually, the financial issues lead to the need to sell some property and find other sources of income for the gambler. Since the addicted person is too concentrated on the idea of gambling, it is difficult for him or her to focus on any other work and find an adequate source of income for the family.

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In fact, one of the most important losses that the gambler faces is the loss of the lifetime (Fong). Here, the addicted person spends a significant part of his or her life in the casino instead of using it for the development of family relations and communication with children. The professional development of the individual also suffers from the existence of gambling addiction. A human becomes indifferent to his or her own development and completely dissolves his or her identity in gambling. The result is usually a person without interests in life, strong living position, and the will to overcome difficult life conditions.

Family Problems of the Dependent Person

The results of the research conducted by the Australian Productivity Commission (APC) highlighted the fact that “between five and ten people are affected by every individual who is a problem gambler” (Reith 42). These individuals are the family members, friends, and the people who are involved in business or co-working conditions with the dependent person. Mainly, the family members become the victims of the gambling dependence. Such situation takes place since they spend their time in the company of an addicted gambler. As a result, the gambler’s influence usually leads to the relationship breakdown or even to the domestic violence. In most cases, children undergo the biggest harm from the presence of gambler in a family. The problems in family relations can lead to the behavioral issues in children, and the problems at school. The gambling practice contributes to the occurrence of depression and misunderstanding among the family members.

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In this case, one of the threats is the possibility of losing a job. According to the conclusions of APC, about 50 % of gamblers reported the practice of losing time at work due to gambling (Reith 43). The majority of gamblers prefer to distance themselves from the family and friends (“Pathological Gambling” 159). About 60 % of gamblers have defined the permanent depression as a common effect of the gambling addiction, and 9 % of gamblers have recognized the emergence of frequent thoughts about suicide. In such conditions, it is difficult to speak about the maintenance of mental health in the gambler’s family.

Criminal

Despite all the earlier notes about the negative effects of gambling practice on the person’s behavior, the most important negative influence of gambling is the aggravation of the criminal situation. When it is impossible to acquire funds required for gambling from the family members, an addicted person begins to search for the ways to receive necessary cash from illegal activities. In this case, the weakening of the inhibitory functions of the brain can lead to a rejection of the perception of social barriers created to discourage illegal activities. The main results of the pathological gamblers’ illegal actions include “stealing, prostitution, embezzlement, insurance fraud, and the use of loan sharks to finance ongoing gambling” (Fong). In this case, it is necessary to recognize the rarity of events connected with the commission of especially grave crimes by dependent gamblers. The fact that the gamblers rarely commit murder or other serious crimes shows that the main reason for the offenses is the necessity to get funds for the new game. At least, it is possible to state that the gambling process does not contribute to the occurrence of cases of unreasonable aggression among dependent people.

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All of the discussed factors argue against the spread of gambling industry in the modern world. At the same time, another factor of gambling remained not considered and is worth discussion in the separate section of an essay.

The Adolescent Gambling

Earlier discussed aspects of gambling are mainly connected with the adult and mentally held members of society. Nevertheless, due to the availability of gambling practice on the Internet, it becomes a serious threat for the normal development of the contemporary youth. Considering that the youth is the future of any society, the maintenance of its mental health should be one of the main targets. In this way, it is also important to evaluate the effect of gambling on the youngest participants of the society.

The latest researches by Messerlian et al. show that the problem of gambling can be even more serious for the youth than for the grown up people. The reason for such conclusion is the specific attractiveness of gambling practice for the teenagers. It gives them a required level of financial freedom from the parents, which is usually the main factor of addiction (Messerlian et al.). For teenagers, the specifics of age and the absence of knowledge become the factors that reduce their possibilities for financial independence. Moreover, the variety of attractive goods motivates them to reach the financial freedom as early as possible. Here, gambling is considered to be a perfect alternative.

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Another threat of gambling addiction development among youth is that the parents become used to encourage their children to use gambling tools. For example, Wilber and Potenza stated that the rising number of parents go to the practice of buying lottery tickets for children to teach them to gamble. In this way, the parents try to avoid necessary work with the child that is supposed to reduce the risk of gambling practice in the future. In this case, the research by Wilber and Potenza showed that the gambling becomes a way of socialization for the modern teenager. Since the youth shows a higher level of addiction to gambling, it is necessary to develop the effective methodology of gambling dependence prevention among the members of this social group.

Conclusion

The study of the negative aspects of gambling issue allowed defining this phenomenon as one of the serious threats to the modern society. The gambling practice affects not only the mental health of the person, but contributes to the deterioration of his or her financial situation, the reduction of understanding level in the family, and the increase of the criminal activity level. The gambling issue becomes especially important in connection with its effect on the modern youth. The general conclusion of the essay is that the society should orient on the reduction of gambling practice in different countries and the development of the complex rehabilitation program for the existing pathological gamblers.

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