Is gambling ethical or not? If not, how is it possible that we see gambling bonuses, promotions, and coupon codes freely advertised everywhere. A good example of the new trend is this promotion that you can activate with a coupon code from Winner.
There are several arguments for the unethical character of gambling that opponents of gambling often stress. The first of them states that it is unethical to profit without working, however, it is not easy to defend such a claim as this would lead to many other forms of income (e.g. rent) being dubbed unethical.
The second argument has to do with problem gambling and how it affects people. Namely, it is argued that gambling is unethical because it can lead to addiction, harm, and ruined lives. However, this argument can be countered by pointing out that everyone is responsible for their own choices and while some people may enjoy gambling as an occasional form of entertainment without any harm, others will sadly develop a gambling problem. The same can be said about playing video games, drinking alcohol, and other leisure activities, but we wouldn’t call them unethical because they can have harmful consequences in extreme cases.
On the other hand, defenders of gambling argue that gambling always existed, that people should not be banned from gambling but that they should learn how to gamble responsibly and that everyone is a free individual responsible for their own actions. Thus, the state has no right to prohibit us from gambling „for our own good “.
As usual, the truth lies somewhere between the two extremes. We could agree that gambling is not unethical if treated as an occasional form of entertainment. Playing a lottery or horse betting every now and then didn’t hurt anyone, and it brings people pleasure to hope that they might win
However, some forms of gambling are more addictive than others and lead to greater losses and bigger problems. It has been proved that gamblers who regularly play slots or online poker are at greater risk of developing an addiction. We could argue that the state should regulate these forms of gambling more and request casinos to abide by certain rules to prevent them from targeting vulnerable social groups (e.g. youth, lower-income neighborhoods) and manipulating players into losing money.
Thus, casinos should abide by certain ethical rules and should be responsible to the state. Gambling companies have an ethical responsibility to warn customers of problem gambling and promote responsible gambling. They should be clear about game rules and not attempt to deceive potential customers, e.g. by misrepresenting the odds of winning or rigging the slots.