Should Gambling Be Legalized? Here’s What College Students Think

Ever since the 2018 Supreme Court ruling Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, which struck down the federal ban on online sports betting, states have increasingly legalized sports gambling. At last count, 32 states and the District of Columbia (Washington, D.C.) have legalized sports betting to some degree. It is still illegal in 18 states.

Texas is among the dwindling states that have not yet legalized sports gambling. A sports betting bill was proposed in the 2021 Texas legislature, but it ultimately failed.

In light of this controversy, we decided to run our own opinion survey in our 3rd scholarship essay contest by asking college students their perspectives about the legalization of gambling. In the end, we received 78 responses from college students all across the U.S., and there was no general consensus regarding gambling legalization.

In fact, it was pretty much split right down the middle.

Thirty-eight student respondents agreed that gambling should be widely legalized nationwide, while 40 students said that gambling should continue to be restricted or banned altogether.

While we could only select 1 winner of our $1,000 scholarship prize—which went to Marisa Mullins from Widener University Delaware Law School—we wanted to feature many of the thoughtful and well-presented arguments shared by our student participants, to show both sides of the issue.

Before we dive into what the student respondents had to say to our prompt question, we want to give a big shout out to all of the participants in our scholarship essay contest. All of the students featured below should be proud of their contribution to this important issue. We wish you the best in your continued education, and encourage you to participate in our next Scholarship contest!

Essay question: Should all gambling be legalized now that online sports gambling is legal? Why or why not?

2021 essay contest scholarship winner Marisa Mullins

Marisa Mullins from Widener University Delaware Law School *WINNER*

“Absolutely. I believe all gambling should be legalized due to the significant positive social and economic benefits. I encourage proponents to look to my home state of Delaware. An early adopter of various legalized gambling initiatives, Delaware exemplifies numerous positive impacts possible through legalized gambling.

An important caveat to my position: cruel and inhuman gambling (i.e., dog fighting, cock fighting) should remain illegal and be eradicated. Hopefully, participants would be swayed to participate in expanded legal gambling options such as legitimate sports betting. Ideally, the social and economic benefits of legalized gambling can be expanded throughout the United States—allowing other communities to realize the many positive impacts Delaware has enjoyed.”

Read Marisa’s full essay

Alyssa Soliz from University of Texas at Austin

“Seeing there are solutions to this problem, all gambling ought to be legalized as it strengthens the American economy and creates more job opportunities. Gaming establishments benefit the U.S. economy. Considering all businesses pay tax, our economy experiences a significant increase from casinos paying tax on their gross gaming revenue (GGR)… The gaming industry provides numerous Americans with employment opportunities.

If more states legalize gaming, states can utilize this additional tax revenue to improve their infrastructures, raise the overall standard of living for their residents, and contribute to the growth of our nation’s economy.”


Irina Nysveen from North Dakota State University

“Why is it profitable for the state to legalize the gambling business? – this activity is licensed: if you want to get a permit to operate – pay a fee to the state, pay income tax, various fees for equipment – legalization of the gambling market is putting things in order in the area and taking it under state control. – prohibition of gambling is the formation of a shadow business, an offshore business, which is equivalent to causing damage to the state economy.”


Lindsay Mateo from University of Florida

“In short, all gambling should not be legalized just because online sports gambling is legal in some states. As with sports betting, states reserve the power to legalize (or not) other forms of gambling on their terms. This makes sense because each state is different… Therefore, it is only logical that individual states would set their own rules, albeit different from one another, to accommodate particular state needs when it comes to gambling.”


Jennifer Vo from Santa Fe College

“Personally, I do not believe all gambling should be legalized. My reasoning for this position is because the cons far outweigh the pros. With today’s age in technology and the ease of accessibility for both children and adults, legalizing all gambling could potentially persuade and/or invite children and adults into dabbling in gambling with little to no experience, which may arise several hardships and problems.”


Isabella Martinalbert from Long Island University

“Many feel gambling should be legal because they deem it a source of entertainment for adults; I disagree… Proponents to the legalization of gambling believe that it will increase government funds. Unfortunately, studies have shown that this simply is not true. In many cases, cities that legalize some form of gambling wind up experiencing bankruptcies across other industries… In addition to business losses there are also judicial costs associated with increased gambling in an area. With increased crime there is increased need for policing, correctional programs, and rehabilitation. Many of these costs fall directly on the average person and cause a decrease in quality of life.”

“The gambling facility may be making money, but nobody else will. As they say ‘the house always wins’.”


Collin Clark from Delta College

“[My] personal opinion on the issue is that all forms of gambling should be made legal, but not because of the legalization of online sports gambling. People should be free to make informed decisions, so long as they don’t harm other people. Granted, there are a myriad of ways in which a gambling addiction could hurt an individual or people who are dependent on them. However, as people we are free to make our own choices, and we should be responsible in the manner we make decisions. It is irresponsible to gamble, but it should not be illegal.”


Christian Bookout from Texas Tech University

“[G]ambling of all forms, within reason, should be legalized within Texas. Gambling affects less people than alcohol, which was also banned around the same time period. It was then repealed and made legal again a number of years later, with further restrictions placed on it. The government could make more than twice the amount of money they are currently making based on other states’ revenue streams. It would allow for more businesses to be open and allow for more revenue streams to pour income into Texas’ economy.”


Sara Valdes from University of Texas at San Antonio

“After looking at the economic and safety reasoning, the conclusion is that it should be legalized. After all, aren’t gambling and investing similar? In both activities you take a risk where you might get richer and poorer, with the only difference being the investing time… Overall, legalizing gambling has the potential to create revenue that would be beneficial for the communities and the government while giving the player a safe environment to entrust their money.”


Noe Serrano from University of California – Berkeley

“The answer is YES! Gambling has always been a ‘play at your own risk’ game no matter the form; that be online sports or slot machines. As long as the gambling is by the free will of an individual, it should be legalized.”


Veronica Sowell from George Washington University

“While gambling is illegal and some people still do it, the large majority of the population is prevented from having easy access to this life-risking habit. The slippery slope that is seen in traditional casino gambling can fall into online sports. Also, there can be a downfall in online sports gambling due to the emotional connection that people create with online sports gambling. It is not random poker cards and lucky dice, it is betting on teams and players that people can have an emotional attachment to, as most people do with sports. The emotional aspect creates more of a reason why people feel as if they need to put money in or start gambling because they have faith in someone, they feel an attachment. Just because it is now legal in some states for people to gamble on online sports, does not mean all gambling should be assessable to the public.”


Britanie Motes from University of North Carolina at Charlotte

“One in five. One in five Americans attempt suicide based on their battle with gambling. A habit so uncontrollable that it appears like a thief cloaked in darkness, robbing one’s money, family, and happiness. The consequences are often hidden by the thrill winning brings. The thrill of earning back one’s rent money or pride. Though, following close behind the win, anxiety, rage, and addiction sneak through the door. Wicked enough, it becomes the individual’s control factor that limits their ability to make their own decisions. This battle only demonstrates why certain forms of gambling should remain illegal in the U.S.”


Madison Coffman from Texas State University

“Online sports gambling being made legal does not mean that there should be a legalization of ALL gambling, but there can be discretion as to what acts should be made ‘legal’… there is a difference between legalization and decriminalization. Decriminalized gambling will also help with the incarceration rates of those who are betting on sports in person. With the state and peace officers using discretion in what gambling acts are being considered illegal, it not only alleviates the average cost of taxpayers to incarcerate misdemeanor gambling offenders, but may also prevent recidivism rates of those with addiction. Police can benefit from using their resources elsewhere and the economy could use the money from increased tourism to fund rehabilitation for those with addiction.”


Noah Bigley from Palm Beach Atlantic University

“[R]egarding the selfish act of gambling, one should not seek to legalize it altogether, in light of the despairing reality that it exists in sports. Foremost, regarding the destructive habit of gambling, one must assert that legalization of a practice does not equate itself to the moral integrity of that act… Gambling preys upon the weak, desperate, enslaved, selfish, and prideful people who seek refuge in a false hope. It not only destroys the life of the gambler, but those placed under their care and in their influence.”


Jered Dunbar from Berklee Online

“The gambling industry is here to stay. It has become normalized and ingrained into our society. The popularity of the gambling industry, along with the revenue that it generates creates the potential for chaos if rules are not implemented. Oftentimes these rules come in the form of laws. Without some sort of regulation and laws to support them, problems such as pathological gambling and match fixing could become more prevalent. Therefore I do not believe that all gambling should be legalized despite the legalization of online sports gambling.”


Bryce Legg from Concord University

“There will always be the unfortunate souls that go too far and gamble their lives away and this can be minimized with lessons and warnings but banning gambling within a state is not the way to do it. As long as the gambling does not cause ‘fixed’ or ‘crooked’ games/matches then it should be legalized for all to enjoy. Joyful lives and gambling can coexist and can often overlap as it can bring joy and comfort to many. Gambling is not the evil ‘sport’ that many seem to consider it as and can actually be a source of comfort or even pleasure to many around the world.”


Hailey Hicks from Missouri University of Science & Technology

“I do believe that all gambling should be legal due to the social and economic benefits it provides for states… Regulated gambling is a great economic benefit to states. Casinos pay taxes on their gross gaming revenue (GGR), therefore, other locations that have gambling would also pay taxes on their GGR… Now, despite these benefits many people will bring up the worry of an increase in gambling addictions with legalizing all gambling. This is an honest concern, but there are many other addictions that are easier to access than gambling currently, such as alcohol addiction.”

“There are more social and economic benefits that outweigh the worry of more gambling addicts… [By] spreading out the access to gambling, the economic benefits will be spread out as well.”


David Miller from Asnuntuck Community College

“Although gambling can be an enjoyable pastime, it should not become fully legal to help protect those who allow the intoxicating lure of gambling to ruin their life, their family, and lead them down a road of crime… While gambling can increase tourism and revenue, the dark side of gambling can lead to a life of crime that we don’t need as a nation. Allowing gambling can enable those with compulsive behavior to amass a debt that can destroy their lives and their family.”


Jacoby Koser from Point Loma Nazarene University

“Gambling should remain illegal because of this high level of risk and the possibility of the gambler losing control under the ‘I’m all in mindset.’… The sad truth is gamblers know that they are going to lose most of the time. The same is true for those who buy lottery scratchers. Both gamblers and lottery ticket buyers know that the odds are not in their favor. It is the anomaly of winning that keeps them going. Holding on to the smallest hope of winning keeps things exciting. The more failures make that one success all the more special… Avid gamblers are so hooked on winning that they don’t care how much they lose in the process. They only see losing at something that will make their next win all the more special.”


Fallon Martinez from Thomas Jefferson School of Law

“If you are asking if gambling should be legalized across the board because a form of gambling was legalized, the answer should be no. The main reason is because it hurts the integrity of the game being played.

Of all the pros gambling presents, increase in a city’s tourism, federal monitoring and taxes of sports gambling, there is nothing more important in sports than a good and honest game. Gambling legalized would corrupt and cripple that in a matter of seasons.”


Keisha Wiggins from University of Phoenix

“Legalizing gambling of all kinds could bring about many unbeneficial [side effects] such as: relationship problems, bankruptcy, poor work ethic, imprisonment, and mental illness. Some gamblers who look at gambling as a sport do not know that they’re taking on a bad habit that can spiral out of control.”


Monique Tran from University of Texas at Austin

“Casinos are often tied to other illicit activities, such as drug deals or criminal business. Because popular casinos often create centers of commerce and tourism, this can be extremely detrimental to existing communities within the area. It can introduce dangerous individuals or substances to innocent families; oftentimes, brown and black folks who live in these neighborhoods cannot afford to uproot their lives and move elsewhere to start anew.”

“Gambling should not be legalized, as it is an addiction that can quickly destroy one’s life.”


Alaina Harmon from University of Houston

“Now that online sports gaming has become legal does not mean other forms of gambling should follow in its path, due to the destructive tendencies that can arise from easily accessible gambling and the lack of boundaries within the unethical forms of gambling.

Gambling becoming readily accessible has more cons than there are pros, some being the potential for addiction, harm, and political unrest between different organizations.”


Tiana Robinson from Arizona State University

“Flashing lights, digital bell dings, and free soda pop—all the makings of a tempting setting to take away the human being’s ability to resist or form reason. At least, that’s exactly what naysayers of legalized gambling would have the general public believe. Gambling is the first of several items that should be legalized nationwide to avoid impeding a citizen’s right to choose, to advance states across the nation in tax revenue, and to end the religious Christian pressure that our nation has immaturely placed upon its people for far too long.”

“All gambling should be legalized, now that online sports gambling is legal, because we are in a position of opportunity… we will represent who we are: a country that respects the choices of its people, one that is financially opportunistic, and universally minded.”


Tyren Neasman from Florida A&M University

“I believe all kinds of gambling should be banned. A ban should be put on all kinds of legal gambling all around the world.”


Spencer Locati from D’Youville College

“To put it bluntly, yes, all gambling should be legalized. The revenue alone is enough of a reason. Gambling creates jobs, boosts the local economy, and brings tourism to places where there may not be any… It’s similar to me in legalizing marijuana. While marijuana is a drug that can be harmful, and can be used wrongfully, it can also serve a valuable purpose in our lives. Marijuana can give comfort to a person who is dying and in pain, it can be the only drug that takes away a migraine. Similarly gambling can be the thing that provides a struggling town with jobs and money to help its economy. Gambling can provide a safe outlet for those that otherwise would be doing far worse things.”

“Yes, gambling can destroy lives, families, bring you into debt, but like everything else in this world it comes down to a choice. We as the American people have the choice to either let that become an addiction or a hobby.”


Robert Lee from Temple University

“I believe all the gambling that is parallel to the legal online sports gambling should be legalized since it sets a precedent showing its feasibility and how it can and does coexist with modern society. I do not believe that ‘all’ gambling should follow the same suit because for certain gambling games/events more than likely would not have the same protections as the ones that are available to the legal ones online.

Even marijuana—knowingly a harmless substance that has not contributed to a percentage of deaths that alcohol and tobacco has—had to go through a process for the government to be able to ensure its quality, distribution methods, and registration to ensure any digital or physical currency is accounted for. So, should all gambling be legalized now? No, not until a process is created so we can account for and tax individuals accordingly to redistribute the funds properly back into society for beneficial purposes.”


Bernie Van Den Heuvel from Concordia University of Wisconsin

“Even though online gambling through sports has been legalized, I feel as though, just because of that, the whole industry should not be. I feel as though those who currently gamble find those sites fun and entertaining; it is a way for them to gamble without leaving the house. The way the system is now also keeps a steady flow of the total number of people who gamble. If it were to be completely legalized, it could be seen that the number of Americans who gamble would grow greatly. This could lead to problems financially for many people, and could possibly hurt many other industries, as these people would not be putting money into them like they used to.

“Another industry this could hurt would be the current casinos on Native land.”

“These casinos located on Native territory are legal, and draw in many customers because of that. These establishments bring in lots of money for these reservations and people. If gambling were to be totally legalized, this would devalue these establishments, and take customers away from them. This would hurt places and reservations where the money from those casinos are their main source of income.”


Alexis Palleschi from Carlow University

“All gambling should be made legal, especially now that online sports gambling is legal. For starters, it is simply illogical to pass legislation that deems certain forms of gambling legal and others not. Additionally, making all gambling legal comes with both social and economic benefits.

Of course, there are some risks that come with legalizing all gambling, namely that of gambling addiction. However, with legal gambling, help for gambling addictions can be made more readily accessible. People will be more likely to seek help because they don’t have to fear retribution for engaging in gambling activities, and addiction services can be made more accessible through promotion and education and could even be partially or fully funded by the revenue from the gambling tax.”

“Legalizing gambling allows for the space to regulate gambling to create a safer environment for everyone involved, as well as creating more jobs and generating more revenue for the government. The risk of an increase in gambling addiction can be mitigated by making it more acceptable for people to accept help and directing some of the revenue from a gambling tax towards programs to help those with gambling addiction.”


Cheyenne Schad from University of Colorado-Denver

“It is important to note that the banning of certain actions does not decrease their occurrence. Without proper regulation the dangers only increase, as people are more likely to result in more hazardous means to meet their needs.

America should first decriminalize all non-violent, low-risk gambling to allow for increased legal safeguards. As these protections strengthen, more forms of gambling can be decriminalized. In the future, with strict regulations to prevent risky or potentially dangerous concurrences, all gambling should be legalized. With greater oversight and regulation, those most at risk for addiction and those who are negatively affected by the effects of gambling are ensured protections they currently cannot access without fear of stigmatization.” 


Elizabeth Greimann from Ball State University

“I don’t think gambling should be legalized online at all. It brings gambling inside peoples homes. My husband’s father was addicted to gambling. He spent millions of dollars at the casino but didn’t take care of his kids. I don’t believe in gambling at all and that might be a strong stance to take, but I don’t think activities that have a high chance of abuse should be celebrated. I would like to see stronger stances to not spread gambling and initiatives to prevent addictions through resources like mental health expansion, community centers in areas of poverty, and reform of our social justice system.”

“Positive ideas in our world and community exist and I do not believe in the idea to spread more negative and addictions in the world.”


Abdulmalik Alrefaei from Auburn University

“Legalizing gambling would provide an alternate solution to those that are of age and want to do things the right way. Why bother getting a VPN and dealing with cryptocurrency when you can just gamble online in a far easier and more convenient way? Obviously, this would not just help with allowing people to gamble the right way, but it would also provide a way to make income on the state level by taxing people.”


Alisa Adhikari from Duke University

“Even as online sports gambling has been legalized, other forms of gambling should not follow suit. Gambling as a whole is a destructive process and has destroyed many homes and families, especially those that are already disadvantaged and simply hoping for a quick way out of their misfortune… While a gambling addiction can be cured, whether through medication or counseling, it is better that it never has the chance to develop in the first place, as with the case of most disorders.”


Rina Brown from University of Phoenix

“Gambling should be legalized… One reason could be that many tourists and customers would participate and it would help communities in many states. Numerous casinos also have shops and restaurants that also provide additional funds. A lot of states could use the extra funds to build housing and fix their communities.

Another potential benefit of why gambling should be legalized is that there would be many new jobs available… Many economies experience a significant boost from casinos that pay taxes on their gross gaming revenue.”


Natalie Knox from Temple University

“Although the pros are very meritable, the concept of addiction and illegal practices is haunting. With one scandal, it could crash the casino and gambling markets. As someone who has witnessed addiction first hand, it is fatal to the individual and their family around them.”


Adam Mohamed from Long Island University

“Legalizing gambling from a commercial standpoint seems like the right thing to do. Legalizing all gambling helps level the playing field and limits online gambling from controlling the game. Legalizing all gambling provides new business opportunities and provides new tourism. This will help previously struggling economies bring in more money. It doesn’t seem fair that a state like Nevada can capitalize off gambling but another state cannot. Legalizing gambling also helps to limit illegal bookies. This will allow the government to properly monitor and tax accordingly.”

“People want to be in control of their decisions, good or bad, hence why cigarettes and alcohol are legal. America is the land of capitalism and is likely going to stay that way for a long time.”


Terrell Redwood from New York University

“The legalization of gambling may provide great benefits to the economy. For example, incorporating a tax on big casinos can greatly increase a city’s revenue. Moreover, mediums like casinos that host gambling opportunities can be an attractive pastime for visitors in the area… Concerns over addiction are valid but may be remedied by a limit on the amount of times a person may gamble per month… Money from casinos can also be redistributed towards charity or other organizations to support the greater good. Ultimately, gambling if done under regulations and thoroughly thought out, may pose great benefits economically and socially.”


Hannah Barahona from University of California, Berkeley

“Casual gambling that is not regulated (in the United States), can result in the deficit of funding for programs that thrive under state’s gambling taxes. In states such as Iowa, a percentage of their gaming tax is given to the Department of Cultural Affairs that helps out local entrepreneurs and organizations. Perhaps, the government is not outlawing the fun that comes with gambling, but rather keeping systems in place that keep society running smoothly.”

“It is easy to take a risk at the poker table, but the legalization of all gambling should not be a risk taken by our government.”


Siblimity Gaither from University of Houston

“Now that online sports gambling is legal, I think it would be wise to take the next step; gambling should be legal, but only in a way that is organized and safe… Does it really make sense that gambling is illegal, while the selling of alcohol and nicotine are not? Illegalizing gambling does not get rid of the problem. If anything, it causes even more irresponsible gambling. Legalizing a gambling market that is regulated and protected by the government could benefit the economy, as well as the people in said economy.”


Fatima Elkhatib from University of Detroit

“All gambling should not be legalized now that online sports gambling is legal. There are so many components to fair gambling that can be manipulated in an online format depending on what the nature of the game is. As someone who only ever gambled in a physical casino (legally) I can understand the dangers with free reign gambling online… As of now I don’t think we can morally justify having those sites available to all with a click of a button. Making all online gambling legal makes it much harder to regulate and will result in many young people developing bad gambling habits.”


Maria Garcia from University of Texas Arlington

“I do not believe that all gambling should be legalized. One may make the argument that if online sports gambling is legal then everything else should be too, but it is not that simple. Most states allow some form of gambling like the lottery, and others allow gambling in any form including online, but it is regulated or controlled. To say that all gambling should be legal is such a broad statement that could lead to so many problems if people do not do their research on it or participate the way that casinos or online game rooms allow.”


Alexander Waldrop from Charleston Southern University

“Simply put, gambling is a game, and it should be treated as such. If you don’t want to get killed on the road, then don’t drive or ride in a car. Driving is inherently risky and outright dangerous, and it’s a gamble every time you get on the road. Should cars therefore be banned? Should traveling be made illegal? Of course not, that’s an absolutely absurd thought to entertain at all.”

“Gambling should be legalized. Let the games begin!”


Andre Allen from Immaculata University

“Yes. My reason for yes is the economic value it brings towards the state. There are so many apps for online betting for gambling which only certain states allow. So why not allow it in every state? This brings monetary value to its state with more job openings, economic opportunities, and makes it a tourist friendly stop. This opens up a better market and makes watching sport more fun. It brings more attention to the game, more fans, more money, more excitement.”


Thea Stephan from California State University San Bernardino

“Just because online sports gambling is legal does not mean that all gambling should be legalized. Online sports gambling is easier to access than gambling in a casino or other designated area, meaning that it is more difficult to regulate. Since it’s more difficult to regulate, sports gambling can easily be manipulated for monetary abuse, and because of its legalization, there’s almost nothing that the government can do to stop this abuse. For those who are poor and desperate to make money, criminals and the rich can take advantage of these groups.”


Landen Brocato from North Dakota State University

“Sports gambling has recently become legal, however, depending on where you live, other types of gambling can still be illegal. I believe this is how it should stay, and all gambling should not be legalized just because sports gambling has.

Whether it be online casinos, tabletop games, or sports gambling, they can all be fun and enjoyable, but there is a point that they can become detrimental to a person’s financial health. The addiction that some forms of gambling intentionally try to cause, along with the ability to lose large sums of money in a short period of time, are great examples as to why all gambling should not be legalized, just because sports gambling has been.”


Megan Ha from California State University San Bernardino

“I sincerely do not believe all forms of gambling should be legalized to feed into certain people’s addiction… Although seen as sinful to many, this is not one of the reasons why I believe some types of gambling should remain illegal. If addicted gamblers have more convenient legal access to different gambling methods, they would most likely take advantage of it. The odds of winning a gamble is never in one’s favor. There is always more of a chance one would lose. The more one loses, the more one will continue playing with their money. The games are addictive. This can lead to family bankruptcy, which eventually tears families apart. I have witnessed this first hand with many families I once knew.”


Imonie Mitchell from Canisius College

“It’s clear that legalizing gambling benefits the economy more than making it illegal. Even though there is a serious problem for those who get addicted to gambling and betting, there are many options that the bettor and the government can take to reduce those chances. From things like putting a cap on monthly losses for each account or curbing the players bonuses after they’ve been playing for some time.”

“Gambling is going to happen, whether it’s legal or not. It’s better to find a way to make it as safe as possible.”


Kittie Meyerkorth from Northwest Missouri State University

“The issue here is with the term ‘all’, which creates the blanket inclusion of any form of activity in which individuals exchange monies based on an outcome. There must be clear guidelines for what is being legalized and what activities will remain illegal. Perhaps it should be said that all gambling activities that rely on the use of animals are illegal and then legalize those that do not. Therefore all gambling should not be legalized simply because online sports gambling is legal.”


Melissa Cook from Northeast Texas University

“I do not think that online sports gambling should be the yardstick to which all other gambling is measured. I believe that certain types of gambling are morally wrong. For example, dog fighting is a horrific type of gambling… We do not live in a black and white world. That would make things so much easier, nevertheless, we live in a world with multiple shades of grey.”


Sean Aquino from University of Phoenix

“All gambling should not be legalized. Although online sports gambling has been legalized, it does not necessarily mean that everything should get the pass as well. To be able to gamble on quite literally anything could lead to chaos and turmoil. One could even say that the legalization of ALL gambling would lead to troublesome behavior. It could push society to make things happen, that shouldn’t.”

“I believe that things should stay as they are. There is no need to push for more legalization in the aspects of gambling. It is in everyone’s best interests that we call it quits there, and drop the thought of legalization of all gambling.”


Wendy Lam from University of California – San Diego

“I think all other gambling should be illegal even if online sports gambling is legal because of the dangers of gambling in general… Online sports gambling, many may say, is less of a risk and more regulated. While this is the case, I don’t believe all other gambling should be legalized because that could cause a huge problem in the way money is handled… If all gambling was legal, I think that many people would not find working a job to be a necessity, and just result to gambling to get the money they need to survive. It would cause the economy to shrink with more people relying on winning bet earnings, and there could potentially be more crime.”


Corey Sharp from University of Phoenix

“…I do not believe all forms of gambling should be legalized because all types of gambling cannot be controlled by all people. I understand that we live in a free country with the power of freedom of choice. However, there are many times where we have to protect people from themselves. This is why we have laws to protect our citizens. We have an obligation in some situations (gambling) to protect those who feel that they do not think they need protection. All gambling whether it can be regulated or not, should not be legalized. The more gambling we allow, the more loss individuals and families can potentially experience.”


Mareliz Fraticelli from William Rainey Harper College

“Although online sports gambling is legal, I do not believe that all gambling should be legalized. In the United States there are many different activities that are considered illegal due to the level of danger they possess and the fact that they’re handled by ordinary citizens. If they’re handled by the state or figures of authority, restrictions and laws come into play. The reasoning behind these restrictions is for the safety of the people, so no one is harmed.”


Arandaris Calderon from Texas State University

“Sports gambling recently became legal in 4 states and that is very concerning because some people don’t have personal control over their desires. People will want more and more, especially when it comes to money, and sometimes people will risk whatever they have to get more. A big percentage of people who gamble have gotten divorce because their partners can not deal with the thought of losing everything due to simple online sports games. Debt can be a danger to a person who gambles because not only are they hurting their present self but also their future self. This could affect them whenever they want to do any big purchase such as getting a car or buying a home. I believe that gambling should not be legal because it will affect a person’s future.”


Alisa Segura from University of Phoenix

“Since online sports gambling is legal, I believe all gambling should be legalized—as long as it is not dangerous to the animals. I don’t approve of dog fighting, and chicken fighting.. I don’t think ALL gambling should be legalized, just the majority of it probably. 

Whether or not all gambling is becoming legalized, people will find the way to gamble anyways. It doesn’t make it alright but it is the way it is going to be. I believe we should just legalize gambling then and make it safe for everyone to learn and play.”


Amaya Peterson from Towson University 

“I don’t believe that gambling should be legalized although online sports gambling is legalized. Any type of gambling is very addictive and can be very hard to quit. Gambling can cause a person to lose their money, relationships, and material items. Gambling can also lead to mental health problems, the effects of losing items, relationships and money could lead to depression and other mental health problems. Anxiety and a sense of dependency can be caused due to gambling… I also believe that sports gambling is very addictive, it can have the same effects as regular gambling. Sports gambling can also ruin relationships and cause a person to have financial debt.”


Amy Hoang from University of Houston

“Even though gambling is a dangerous addiction, I would agree on the legalization of gambling to boost the economy as long as it is regularized to protect the players by taxing gambling establishments…”

“It is terrifying to imagine allowing gambling to be accessible everywhere, but banning bad habits, like alcohol, proves that banning does not actually stop people.”

“The only way to beat the solution of addictions, like gambling, is to join them by legalizing all forms of gambling. By openly joining them, this will keep an open eye on people suffering from addictions and give back to the community around them.”


Edwin Campos from University of Houston

“Participation in a lot of cryptocurrencies or shares in the stock markets is truly calculated gambling as well anyway. You can pay attention to a sports season, injuries, potential strategies, and style clashes that aid a fan in predicting the outcome of an event. Likewise, similar efforts are done by casual investors looking at trends, industries, and news at Wall Street. I do not see why everyone should not be allowed to earn the opportunity to win for themselves through this type of recreation with adjusted regulation as the process unfolds.”


Allison Conner from University of Georgia

“I believe that the variation in gambling laws from state to state within the USA infringes on an individual’s choice to spend their own money as they see fit and thus, that gambling should be legal, regardless of the precedent that online sports gambling sets. Living in Utah, where gambling in all forms is banned, I feel strongly that the general public would benefit from the legalization of gambling. My opinion that gambling should be legalized across the United States comes from strong beliefs in autonomy for making financial decisions, an understanding of the benefits of utilizing taxation of winnings to benefit society, and the feeling that people already participate in gambling in other forms.”


Golden Aina from Lancaster Bible College

“I will argue that gambling should be illegalized because of its addictive process of progressive reward gratification that can surely lead to other crimes. Therefore, if the government legalizes gambling, they must alongside open their disciplinary doors to allow for further criminal activities. More so, gambling legalization in the internet age means that the government would have to accept the fact that they have opened the door to make it easier for citizens to get addicted to gambling.”

“[I]t important for the pro-legalization group to understand that gambling illegalization is not about the government interfering in how citizens use their money but in how money is far more likely to further use responsible citizens to engage in criminal and irresponsible activities.”


John Marshall from Grand Canyon University

“Although gambling presents a prospect of making money faster for many individuals, it has adverse effects such as increased crime rates and mental health issues. I argue that gambling should not be legalized because it poses more disadvantages than advantages in society.

Although online sports gambling is legalized, other gambling practices should not be legalized because it will significantly impact people’s lives. The benefits of gambling are one-sided, which increases conflicts among people and affects the health and relationships of the participants. Therefore, gambling should not be legalized because it presents many risks to individual development and its economy.”


Autumn Browne from Harper College

“When it comes to gambling, it is all about taking risks. However, it is a risk that no one should be willing to take. Gambling can be entertaining to an extent, but it can also lead to someone having serious financial problems in the long run. Personally, I do not think that all gambling should be legalized because it will give people more problems if a person becomes addicted to the hobby.”

“Legalizing an addiction is not the right thing to do and I hope to see gambling in the shadows some day. If that were to happen, I would feel like I won the jackpot.”


Linnea Castaneda from University of Southern California

“Continuing to keep gambling outlawed encourages illegal gambling as a result of existing gambling addictions. Social outreach campaigns can be funded by the taxes collected from newly legalized casinos to educate people about therapies and support groups available to support gambling addictions. This will reduce the stigma and allow for more people to get help than before.”

Legalizing gambling would strengthen other industries and positively affect the economy. Allowing the government to regulate these industries minimizes the potential negative consequences of illegal gambling, and can provide more help for those who struggle with gambling addiction.”


Audrey Esomonu from University of Southern California

“Since sports gambling is now legalized, I think it is only right for all other forms of gambling to be legalized as well. My reasoning is based on the fact that all forms of gambling require the same premise—which is betting. Plus, the only risk to gambling falls on the gambler who may lose money for making the wrong prediction. If people are aware of the risk gambling comes with, they should be free to play at their own discretion.

Although I agree all forms of gambling should be legal there are still rules that I believe must stay intact. For example, I believe all gamblers need to at least be 21 years old to play. Additionally, people should not be charged based on how many times they place a bet. Money should only be distributed to the winning party and all games attempting to take money from players outside of betting should not be authorized.”


Amira Dehmani from Stanford University

“Whether or not I am a fan of gambling personally, I know that it will happen–legally or not. We saw this with Prohibition in the 1920s… Did this protect the American people from the dangerous effects of alcohol, or did it only make the black market even more lucrative and powerful? Clearly, the government recognized that it was the latter, as only 13 years later they reversed the amendment.

On top of being an enormous money producer for the government, legalizing gambling is the safest option for Americans. With the legalization of all forms of gambilng, the government will be able to put protections in place for individuals who choose to gamble; they will be able to tax casinos and regulate their activity, leading to a rise in law-abiding casinos that create safe spaces for citizens to enjoy themselves in the adrenaline-inducing activity; they will be able to sanction criminals and dirty casinos who don’t follow the rules– it will be better for everyone.”

“The only way to truly ensure safe gambling for all is to legalize and regulate. Regulation would allow the government to aid those who do become gambling addicts, rather than cast them away from society to feel ostracized and continually suffer. That is what the criminalization of polarizing activities does. We have seen it with hard drugs, marijuana, sex-work and now gambling.”


Francisco Lopez from University of Arizona

“The right to choose what we want as citizens should not be dismantled by the beliefs or fears of state and local governments. Statistics show that each state that has legalized gambling has seen a net positive on their GDP of their state which could be invested back to the people by tax dollars paid by casinos and businesses operating within the gambling spectrum. The state and local governments could then use this needed capital to provide more help against Covid-19, schools, essential workers, and infrastructure. Let’s come together under one banner and work as a team to legalize gambling and break away from outdated principles.”


Dannesha Lewis from University of San Diego

“I am in favor of legalizing gambling and the following are my reasons why: 1) Law enforcement resources being used to enforce these laws can be used for more demanding and important issues. 2) As long as no harm comes to others, people should have free will to do with their money as they please, gambling included. 3) People will gamble regardless. Making it illegal will pose greater risks due to back alley type establishments.

Gambling should be treated like alcohol. Establishments should be able to operate as long as they obtain the appropriate permits to do so. Police resources are being used to enforce these victimless crimes when it could be used to resolve crimes that carry more weight in the eyes of the law.”


Braden Terry from Brigham Young University

“Key differences between gambling for online events and gambling in physical settings draw a line between what can and cannot be allowed legally. Gambling for online events cannot be policed by a single entity therefore the laws must be changed accordingly. Additionally, gambling online simply does not pose the same risks as gambling physically. Therefore, traditional gambling should not be considered to be legalized simply based on online event gambling.”


Alexander Vargas from Thomas Nelson Community College

“It is both socially and economically advantageous for us to legalize gambling completely. Gamblers find a way to satisfy their vices whether it is legal or not. Legalized gambling creates regulatory limits and conditions where gamblers’ rights and livelihoods have a modest amount of protection. By creating a government enterprise on gambling, we will severely harm organized crime organizations that allow people to gamble in secret.

Gambling is not going anywhere. They bring in too much revenue to both businesses and the government to replace them with anything else. The solution is to invest more into the growth and personal development of gamblers and to allow casinos to participate in that. Our economy was built on free enterprise and should be allowed to continue to grow. Legalizing casinos nationwide is a benefit to us all under safe regulated conditions.”


Victoria Nelson from University of Houston

“Laws are meant to protect the citizens of a state or country, and gambling laws only serve to further indebted people who may have lost funds due to gambling, or to jail them for a crime that does little harm to a community. Additionally, if all forms of gambling are legalized, gambling addictions can be more easily addressed in a similar way that alcohol addiction is addressed. People plagued with gambling addictions do not need to hide their struggle for fear of being prosecuted anymore and can seek help as they would with any other addiction.”

“The legalization of all gambling would provide relief to those who have gambling addictions and stimulate economic opportunities for struggling communities.”


Michelle Paster from University of Southern California

“Given that medical and recreational marijuana has been legalized, I believe the category is analogous to legalizing gambling. Online sports gamlbing is legal, so why shouldn’t in-person gambling be? Supporters of the marijuana legislation claim that by legalizing the drug: crime diminishes, tax revenue increases, the money spent on criminal justice lessens, public health is improved and the stimulation of the economy takes place. So these five factors could also apply to legalizing gambling.

People have an ethical right to choose what they want to do with their own money as long as it is not harming an individual or society, especially against their will. Therefore, if people want to gamble their personal earnings on Poker games they should be permitted.”


Joshua Toole from University of Pittsburgh

“I majored in biology and in every science course I took, the professor said never choose always statements because not many theories address everything all the time. It would be easy to say no because all gambling would mean that Russian roulette, death races, and other unethical and immoral dilemmas on the furthest end of the spectrum be considered. I do think we should open gambling considerably [and] I think a good amount of gambling should be legalized.”


Maria Rahman from Oregon State University

“Legalizing sports betting will lead to an improved economy, with additional jobs: The legalization of sports betting can put an end to the treacherous ways of illegal betting while also helping boost the economy. Nevertheless, many people believe that gambling is immoral to society, and the exclusive way to solve this problem would be to ban gambling altogether. However, gambling is not the sinister freak that many believe it is. Gambling can be helpful to the economy in many ways.”


Morgan Stemple from Stetson University College of Law

“Gambling should not be fully legalized due to how addictive it can be and the havoc that it wreaks on others. Gambling is the process of risking something of value in hopes of obtaining something of greater value. It becomes an issue when an individual becomes so caught up in the chances of winning that they begin to jeopardize their livelihood in order to continue gambling.

Gambling can also cause a lot of problems within the government. Gambling can cause fraud and essentially create a double standard for the governments. Many believe that it is not the responsibility of the government to dictate its citizens lifestyle choices, however, I believe it is still the government’s duty to protect its citizens from known potential harm. The government is supposed to promote and encourage its citizens to have desirable traits and clean lifestyles. Gambling is not part of a morally good and clean lifestyle.”

“The legalization of gambling would be promoting the downfall of society, which is hypocritical for state governments to sponsor.”


Jacqueline Grant from Taft University

“All gambling should not be legalized. Evidence has shown that legalized gambling often hurts and even destroys those who are poor and disadvantaged… Gambling addiction can affect the gambler and his or her family in many ways. This addiction causes social problems, emotional problems, physical problems, psychological problems, occupational problems, family problems, and of course, financial devastation.”


Cami Contestabile from La Roche University

“If we make all gambling illegal, then it would be virtually impossible to enforce it. Take the period of prohibition as a telltale sign of the failure of making a popular enterprise illegal, remember speakeasies and bootleggers. There will always be people who will neglect the law, so by making all gambling legal, I believe that emphasis can then be focused on education and safety. If a concern is addiction, then regulations can be put into effect to control the amount a person can gamble—this can be done without making it completely illegal.”


Reed Knutson from University of Nebraska – Lincoln

“Overall, the best option seems to be legalization with education—as in, legalizing all gambling while educating the general public about the risks of gambling addiction. If younger generations in particular are educated on the risks associated with gambling, then they would be more prepared to make their own decisions on the matter. Legalization would clear up the confusion about illegal gambling activities, decrease tax fraud, and simplify law enforcement on the matter.”

“While widespread economic effects and gambling addiction might increase, this negative side effect could be mitigated with proper education on the risks of gambling addiction so that everyone can make an educated decision to gamble or not.”


Think you can win our next scholarship essay contest?

If you missed this essay contest or weren’t selected as the winner, don’t sweat! We invite you to visit our Scholarship page soon to participate in our next scholarship contest. Students must be actively enrolled at the university with a valid student ID number and currently enrolled in classes in order to be eligible.

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