Gambling: Mapping the American Moral Landscape
An academic study on the role of gambling within American society makes an interesting read on the changing face of America.
Gambling continues to sweep up the American public, offering both the excitement of the game plus the ubiquitous anticipation of a big win. This book provides a study of why gambling is beginning to be treated differently to other sociological ‘vices' and how it's becoming a growing cultural phenomenon.
The book looks at gambling in its widest sense, from state-run lotteries through to licensed casinos. The authors note that gambling is growing in acceptance and is gradually winning the moral battle which rages within society. The authors were keen to identify why gambling is becoming more acceptable at a time when smoking and drinking, for example, are increasingly being frowned upon.
The book, published in August 2009, is edited by Alan Wolfe and Eric Owens, and consists of a series of essays by various sociological, psychological, philosophical and theological experts, alongside the thoughts of those within the gaming industry.
The book was conceived following on from a ground breaking conference which brought together a multi disciplinary group of experts to discuss the role of gambling in American life. The conference was a landmark event; the first time such a discussion had taken place and, in an effort to record their findings, the decision was made to pool all their thoughts into a book.
The resulting tome is an inward looking, contemplative study that provides a range of opinions relating to different aspects of American life. Some authors look at the changing perception of gambling within religion, others look at it from a political stance, noting, for example, the lack of any unified anti gambling lobby.
The role of online gambling is also assessed, in particular the ease of access the new medium provides and the temptations this can trigger. The positive impact of the industry is also noted, for example the income generated by state lotteries which are then invested within local education and community programs.
The authors generally feel that the tide has already turned and that there is no going back now that gambling is already prevalent within American society and increasingly accepted within the mainstream. The study is important in that it highlights this phenomenon and stands as a means of gearing up the leadership within society, be it religious, political or educational, to take heed and build in awareness raising and support; ensuring that gambling remains a pleasure as opposed to a social ill.