Michael Gerson: Our casino/government complex deserves more scrutiny

Published: Sunday, Sept. 22 2013 12:05 a.m. MDT

But here is an extraordinary case of government actively undermining the moral underpinnings of market capitalism for its own benefit. It holds out the promise of sudden wealth without work or productive investment, engaging in a purposeful and profitable deception. A corrupting fantasy becomes a revenue stream, dependent on persuading new generations to embrace it. Perhaps we have given up on government as a source of moral improvement. Does this mean we must accept a government that profits by undermining public virtues?

Nearly 20 years ago, William Galston and David Wasserman wrote, "While history indicates that gambling is too ubiquitous to suppress, moral considerations suggest that it is too harmful to encourage. The most appropriate state stance toward gambling is not encouragement, but rather containment."

Now we are seeing the cost of gambling, uncontained.

Michael Gerson's email address is michaelgerson@washpost.com.

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