Dr. Patrick Basham is Director of libertarian thinktank The Democracy Institute. Together with the Institute’s senior fellow Dr. John Luik, Dr. Basham has written a book entitled Gambling: A Healthy Bet, which suggests the rather novel theory that gambling is beneficial to an individual’s development. Basham contrasts this view with that of the average policy maker, who views gambling as “on its best days, economically ambiguous and, on all other days, socially detrimental.” Worse, Dr. Basham relates how this longstanding misconception has produced a “carefully choreographed long term public health campaign against gambling and your industry.”
But fear not! After crunching the numbers, Dr. Basham’s convinced that the facts are on your/our side in this fight. Contrary to the media meme of gambling as a killer, Dr. Basham found that older non-gamblers were more prone to alcohol abuse, bankruptcy, depression and imprisonment. (Imprisonment? Memo to marketing – new slogan: “Gambling! Where getting raped at the tables is only symbolic!”)
In all seriousness, Basham found that retirees who “remain active in the community and constantly engage in social activity, often, largely or exclusively through gambling, live happier and healthier lives.” Even better, the benefits aren’t limited to the individual, but extend to the community as a whole. Government studies conducted in the UK, US and Sweden found gamblers to be, on average, more sociable, more neighbourly, more involved in community activities and more likely to donate their time and money to charitable organizations than their non-gambling peers.
Basham believes “a taste for risk is essential for human development. Entrepreneurship and risk-taking have always been essential parts of a progressive society and a progressing society.” We literally could not agree more. Seriously, where has this guy been all our life? We, uh, confess we’ve got something of a man-crush on Dr. Basham. It’s like, he completes us. We mean it. He’s like the anti-David Baines, in that he’s actually done his homework on the subject of gambling, and we can’t wait to hear what he’s got to say next.
Without further ado, bow your head and open your ears as The Democracy Institute’s Dr. Patrick Basham delivers a sermon on the 10 Gambling Truths. Amen.