It’s no secret that the Philippines has big plans for Boracay, with the gambling moratorium recently lifted and construction moving apace on new destination casino properties.
However, the pushback – both locally and internationally – has been incredible.
In Boracay itself, there are environmental concerns as well as a concerted religious opposition to the initiative, while throughout the Philippines, the more pervasive argument is that gambling just leads to really bad things.
You know, because people fundamentally cannot be trusted. (In which case, why would anyone trust the gambling doomsayers? But we’ll leave that for the postmodernist philosophy wonks to sort out.)
Per FSSPX, a bunch of Filipino bishops are none too pleased:
“Gambling statistics…show that families in which at least one parent gambles compulsively are more likely to experience domestic violence, including child abuse.”
But what, that’s not all!
“Over 80 percent of problem gamblers were at risk of alcohol or drug use/dependency and half of compulsive gamblers commit crimes.”
Now, of course no studies were cited to prove or even contextualize any of this. Nor, naturally, has any rudimentary sociological explanation been put forward to explain why such correlations might exist.
Instead, these claims are simply presented in a vacuum where gambling is implied as being wholly causal in nature.
Just for starters, it’s worth asking: How many destination gamblers – that is, how many tourists and upper class patrons of domestic regulated IRs – are the types of social degenerates described above?
We strongly suspect the “statistics” – wherever they’re hiding – are pooled from those who gamble illegally to begin with.
Naturally, then, any person drawn to illegal activities would have higher proclivities to commit other types of crimes, and they’d similarly be more prone to domestic violence and so on.
The taint on the numbers is obvious from the outset.
Look, we’ve gambled for a long time, and we’ve known a few “gambling addicts.” We’ve even helped those receptive to self-betterment get back on track.
We’re not saying this isn’t important stuff. Gambling addicts do exist, and gambling addiction can be a real hardship if one is negligent enough to let the hobby spiral out of control.
But we know a lot more drug addicts, alcoholics, and generally dysfunctional and violent people who don’t gamble. As far as destructive vices go, gambling isn’t anywhere near the top of the list.
Naturally, this two-pronged attack on the new Boracay IR installations isn’t just limited to the Philippines.
At least one prominent Philippine American – working in Las Vegas, Nevada – has chimed in to pile on.
Retired family court judge Cheryl Moss, who specializes in criminal apologetics by excusing those crimes committed by bad actors who just happen to have a gambling “disorder” (this is apparently a viable legal defense in the USA), had this to say:
“There’s a huge explosion of gaming and with that, we need to make sure that there is proper prevention advocacy and education about responsible gambling. But if there are those that are truly afflicted and they end up in court, then that’s where I come in and educate on how the state can get gambling courts or some type of treatment diversion program in their states. It would save the state’s money. Instead of housing [criminals who gamble] in prison, where they’re not gonna get any treatment, it would also rehabilitate them to become productive citizens again.”
To bring her particular brand of deflection and criminal coddling to the Philippines. She is, after all, Filipino, and she simply wants the best for those criminals back home who just can’t help it.
Note that gambling is again presented here as causal in relationship to the crimes in question.
The idea, presumably, is that before these people first set foot onto a casino gambling floor, they were paragons of social virtue. The purest and most dedicated followers of the law. Upstanding citizens to the last.
But she undermines that entire argument here:
“[Gambling is] an addiction that is associated with stigma and shame. A lot of [gamblers] don’t want to admit they have a problem. They don’t know they have a problem. But they already spent all of their savings and they’re gonna end up homeless. Where are they gonna go? Or some of them are being chased by their bookies so their lives could be threatened.
“We are not anti-gaming. We are for responsible gaming. We are also for prevention and education because it’s an entertainment industry but there’s that 1 to 2 percent that could get hooked on gambling.”
The truth comes out!
Moss, here, already calls gambling – all gambling – an “addiction.” That undermines the notion that she’s “not anti-gaming,” because who wouldn’t be opposed to an addiction?
Then, she puts the onus of the bad decision-making of one to two percent of the gambling market’s clientele on the casinos where they make their bad decisions.
Then, in the biggest tell of all, she openly admits that regulated gambling – that is, gambling in state-sanctioned brick-and-mortar casinos or legally authorized online casinos in the Philippines and elsewhere – aren’t the actual venues of choice for these criminals!
No, these criminals gamble with underground bookies and gambling dens that actually extend players endless credit and then send henchmen out to collect.
No legitimate retail or online casino, sportsbook, or poker room does this, of course. If a gambling addict is committing crimes to pay back their bookies, their bookies aren’t running legal operations.
As a result, it makes no sense to blame the operators of legitimate gambling houses and websites for the business that illegitimate gambling operations attract from those already breaking the law.
This completely destroys her claims, full stop. The premise is exposed as broken, hopelessly flawed, and perhaps even malicious.
But she’s not the only one who wants to coddle the tiny criminal element within the totality of the global gambling industry.
Indeed, the goal for these creeps actually seems to be to portray as many gamblers as “addicts” as they can, such that they might summarily excuse – or explain away – any crimes that this large subset of human beings may ever commit.
Indeed, from the same article expounding on Moss’ mission of criminal apologetics comes the following:
“The National Council on Problem Gambling says that 15 percent of Americans gamble at least once per week, with Nevada having the highest prevalence of problem gambling in the country.”
Notice the conflation?
Fifteen percent of Americans gamble “at least once a week,” which is immediately implied as “problem gambling.”
There is nothing reasonable about this.
First, most casual gamblers – which is the vast majority of the market – gamble more than once a week.
Second, gambling once per week is not indicative of any gambling addiction.
Is someone who watches one movie a week a film addict? Is somebody who has intimate relations with their partner once a week a sex addict? Is somebody who drinks three or four beers on Saturday night an alcoholic?
Of course not.
In order to push the narrative that gambling addiction is a pressing societal concern, one must grow the pool by expanding the definition of what addiction actually denotes.
You see, they know they can’t grow the pool any other way.
It doesn’t matter how many retail Philippine casinos or sportsbook lounges or poker rooms are built. It doesn’t matter whether the nation legalizes online iGaming or online Philippine sports betting or Philippine online poker.
Access to safe, legal gambling does not show – and never has shown – any increase in gambling addiction levels.
Illicit gambling with illegal operators that follow no laws and are thus unencumbered by the law may lead to big problems for any idiot fool enough to participate with such outfits, but regulated and legitimate gaming forces those bad actors out.
It certainly doesn’t create more of them.
The biggest problem in the gambling community isn’t gambling addiction. It’s the addiction of policymakers to control as many people as possible.
Gambling addiction can be a serious thing.
But don’t let these anti-rights activists convince you that you’re an addict – or, worse, that your crimes can be excused – because you gamble “once a week.”
Because if you do allow them this assignation, you’re playing directly into their hands.
And that’s a bad call, because they’ve got a full house every single time.