Gambling is considered second only to infidelity on a list of most unacceptable practices published this week by the Pew Research Center. The 2013 Global Views on Morality survey involved participants in 40 nations, who were presented with a list of eight somewhat controversial subjects and asked whether each was morally unacceptable, acceptable or simply not a moral issue. The median figure on gambling’s unacceptability was 62%, second only to extramarital affairs at 78%. A more enlightened 19% of respondents said gambling wasn’t a moral issue, while 11% said gambling was acceptable behavior.
On a global basis, gambling was deemed less acceptable than homosexuality (59%), abortion (56%), premarital sex (46%), alcohol use (42%), divorce (24%) and contraception use (14%). Opinions varied widely by nation, with gambling’s unacceptable rating being lowest in France (13%). Canada was the second least averse to gambling with a 23% ranking, narrowly edging out the United States at 24% unacceptability.
On a regional basis, Europe was slightly less tolerant at 32%, followed by Latin America (59%), Asia/Pacific (69%) and Africa (71%). But the Middle East expressed the most seriously anti-gambling sentiment at 91% unacceptability, much higher than they judged alcohol use (75%). Individual country results for gambling can be viewed here.
Breaking down the US rankings even further, Pew found that Republicans gave gambling a 30% unacceptable ranking, higher than Democrats (23%) or independents (21%). In fact, Republicans expressed higher unacceptability rates than Dems or indies in seven categories. Only when it came to alcohol use did the GOPers pull the cork out, expressing a 17% unacceptable ranking compared to 20% for Dems.
Hard not to see the religious influence in the GOP’s attitude toward gambling, given that those Roman soldiers who crucified Christ played a game of craps to see who won His seamless garments. The slightly more tolerant attitude toward booze may also have a religious component, as pretty much everyone in the Bible was prone to breaking out the wine like there was an ancient drinking game in which you had to do a shot every time someone said ‘begat.’ Happy Easter, everyone…