« FöregåendeFortsätt »
it wrong to gamble with other people's money, but not to take chances with your own, if you can afford to lose.” The husband, who was not present to speak for himself, was doubtless one of many who think—when the rush of. business, politics, and sport allows them to snatch at a thought-that it is not gambling itself that is harmful, but only the accessories—the bad company, the chancing of trust funds and the risking of money needed for family supplies.
It is no small consideration against gambling that these accessories, if not necessary, are invariable concomitants wherever gambling is tolerated. Every man who gambles helps to keep up a system that multiplies embezzlements and deepens poverty.
The theory that gambling itself is not wrong lies back of the "gambling to the glory of God” in church lotteries, that was scarcely challenged until about the middle of the nineteenth century, and is common even now where the entangling alliance of Church and State delays the progress of religion in spirituality and morality. It should challenge the attention of every respectable gambler that in the United States, the world's experiment station in morals, all churches chiefly composed of Americans long ago abandoned church lotteries as no better than Robin Heed's very "simple plan” of “robbing the rich to help the poor”-only in this case it is poor and rich that are robbed to "help religion." The denominations in the United States that still hold lotteries occasionally are mostly made up of immigrants from backward countries where both Church and State use gambling for revenue, partly because the habits of an idle nobility make it seem almost a case of lèse-majesté to discuss gambling as an evil.
A few American fraternities still use for charity the
very gambling devices that are among the most potent causes of poverty. No intelligent philanthropist should support by money or membership the unfraternal fraternities guilty of this stupid promotion of poverty to relieve poverty, in violation of the command, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” Gambling is not made better but worse by the use of it by respectable people as a way to escape their duties in benevolence. It should prove an “arrest of thought" the world over that throughout the United States race gambling is a forbidden crime save in three States which are expected to "come into the Union” on this question in the near future.
Gambling on the future pace of an animal is now generally admitted to be wrong, but curiously enough gambling on the future price of a vegetable product, grain or cotton, is not so generally condemned, although attempts to collect bets on future prices, whether of grain or stocks, usually show that such gambling is at least illegal—and there is a slowly rising tide of agitation that will no doubt
What Is Gambling? The first need in an anti-gambling crusade is a definition of gambling, which has so many aliases and wears so many masks that even its sworn foes are often caught, as by a skilful confidence man. Guessing and voting are two of the new disguises of gmbling that often deceive the very elect. Lottery tickets printed as voting blanks in newspapers have deceived even Sunday school teachers, who need themselves to be taught, and to teach the children, what the essence of gambling is. When a company of farmers and their wives have together paid $200 for “chances" on a stove worth less than one-tenth of that amount, and have gathered from their farms in front of
the hardware store to see which one drew it at "a dollar a chance," suppose some card-player from the rear room of an adjoining saloon should affectionately address them with the words, “My fellow-gamblers,” wouldn't that "jar" them? But that card-player would be entirely correct.
In a national convention of one of the largest denominations in the United States, gambling having been condemned by a speaker, a man from the floor challenged him to define it, and neither the speaker nor anyone else in the convention could give an acceptable definition. Every good citizen should know, as he knows his multiplication table, the definition given by the New York Supreme Court, as follows:
“When it is determined by chance what or how much one shall get for his money, it is a lottery.”
There may be in a gambling transaction some element of skill. Intimate knowledge of horses, no doubt, may influence a man's bet at a horse race. And in playing cards for money, even when there are not tricks and tricks, there is a difference in the skill of players, for example, different degrees of memory. But the courts hold that when the predominant element is chance, the transaction is gambling, whether the loser gets nothing or something less than he paid. The shrewd gambler often seeks to fool the moralist by claiming that if a gambling machine always gives at least one cigar for a nickel or a penny, though it be only a roll of cabbage leaves, it is not gambling, although it draws trade by the chance that one may get five real cigars. But the transaction not only involves the gambling spirit but violates the letter of the anti-gambling law under the above test of counterfeits, which should be ever at hand in the memory.
It is much even to make it generally known what gambling is. When we were boys in the fields, we delighted to roll over some big flat stone to see the insects run for their lives when we had turned on the light. That scene is often repeated when forgotten laws are brought to light and the guilty scamper to cover.
Gambling Is One of Many Cases Where Bad Morals
Are Also Bad Manners
Probably it would cause a greater scurrying of gamblers to prove by sermons and lectures and literature to the fashionable leaders of this vice that gambling as a sport of leisure hours among friends in field or home or club is the grossest of all violations of that rule of courtesy for hours of social fellowship, “Don't talk shop."
It is a misapplication of that rule to infer that a man may not talk with his friends in an unselfish way and for his share of the time on the subject he knows most about —the artist about art, the traveler about foreign experiences of interest and value, the minister about philanthropy. But all will agree that never in a social hour, whether in the drawing room or in outdoor recreation, should one "talk shop" in the sense of attempting to get financial profit from the friends who have sought his fellowship. Money-making should be left in the “shop.” The insurance agent who should try to get insurance while playing golf would find there was a new use for the sticks. The grocer who should advertise his fruits at a dinner party would never have guests for another. But will some one tell me how these inconceivable blunders of commercialism would be any different in principle from the attempts of rich men and women to make profit out of each other when meeting for sport and fellow
During the campaign for the Hughes anti-gambling law a cartoonist put into this powerful picture the protest of reformers that the Legislature was making a gambling monopoly on the inside of a race track fence an honorable business for the policeman to protect, but on the other side of that three-quarter inch board the police were expected to use their clubs vigorously on the crap-shooting street gamins. In Maryland, Kentucky, and Nevada this favoritism for rich gamblers is embodied in law, and is even worse than the gambling-a crime against the principles of democracy.