Drinking a glass of wine or a can of beer is fundamentally different than playing a slot machine or buying a $20 lottery scratch ticket:
1) Government does not have a vested interest in how much alcohol citizens drink but government does have a vested interest against its own people when it acts as the “house” in a gambling operation. Citizens need to lose for government to win. We are betting against ourselves.
2) No sip of a Miller Lite has ever offered the false promise of a “life-changing jackpot” or even the lure of paying the bills at the end of the month.
3) While alcohol can be habit-forming, no one has ever compared the potency of its high or the speed at which it addicts people to cocaine – like it has been proven with an intense gambling experience.
4) More than one out of five Americans don’t think the best way to achieve long-term financial security is to drink Budweiser like they do with the lottery.
5) You can’t drink the amount of your paycheck. You can lose not only your paycheck at a casino but you can lose your house as well.
6) When you get behind in gambling, you always think you can get it back. You think, ‘I can’t possibly lose forever” which leads you to chase the money you’ve already lost. You may drink way too much but you never thought alcohol was going to be a solution to your problems. Nor do you “chase” in drinking alcohol like you do with gambling.
7) The guy that owns my local bar room or the package store on the corner is not a billionaire, unlike many casino owners.
8) Most tellingly of all, the vineyard owner drinks his own wine. Jim Koch drinks Sam Adams beer. Most predatory gambling operators don’t gamble.
Unlike the prohibition of alcohol which most citizens regard as a policy failure, the policy of criminalizing commercial gambling was successfully practiced for nearly one hundred years up until the late 20th century when it then became government’s preferred method to fund (unsuccessfully) public services. It too is a major policy failure which is why government needs to get out of the predatory gambling business.