Through the centuries, attitudes towards gambling have varied, with some individuals and cultures considering it harmless and others seeing it as sinful and corrupt. Recent Gallup polls show that more than half of all Americans now believe that gambling is moral. Acceptance of gambling has grown in the US over the past decade.
In the earliest years of the Gallup Poll (1938), 51% of Americans were against government lotteries. In the early 1970s, the US Commission on the review of the National Policy toward Gambling found that 80% of Americans approved of gambling. In 1978, the first legal casino outside Nevada opened in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Nine other states followed by legalizing casino gambling.
Changing attitudes and laws
Today all but a small handful of US states have casinos and lotteries. Many of them have legalized sports betting, and the list of states that allow online gambling is a long one. Some of the most progressive states when it comes to internet betting are New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Delaware, West Virginia, and Nevada. Many Americans now participate in online gambling with real money at online casinos.
Gallup Polls have revealed differing attitudes to gambling according to various factors such as income, education, church attendance, and politics. People who are better educated, wealthier and don’t attend church tend to be more accepting of gambling than those with a high school education or less, low income, and who attend church.
Gender and age differences
Women are more likely than men to believe gambling is morally wrong. More senior citizens tend to believe gambling is immoral compared to adults of 18 to 49.
Democrats and Republicans tend to have different attitudes towards gambling. More Democrats find it acceptable than Republics.
Results from polls show that American attitudes towards gambling are influenced by their religious beliefs. Many of the largest denominations in the US have a historical record of opposition to gambling. They see gambling as a bad habit and are involved in helping people with quitting bad habits. Mormons are most opposed to gambling. Among Protestants, a slight majority see it as acceptable.
The morality of gambling remains a contentious issue
Americans have become more accepting of gambling for various reasons. The fact that states can benefit from tax revenue is one of them. Increasing acceptance of cryptocurrency and bitcoin trading is also taking place.
The morality of gambling is likely to remain a contentious issue and one of the hurdles affecting broader online gambling regulation. Most online sites in the US promote fair and responsible gaming. They are regulated by reputable bodies, and laws are in place to govern their conduct.