An essential tool for operators, regulators, politicians and open-minded people. --Ricki Chavez-Munoz publisher Casino Compendium magazine
Last week, upon receiving an invitation to the presentation of the book Gambling A Healthy Bet by Patrick Basham and John Luik, at the Institute of Economic Affairs in London, we received a resume on this watershed work on Gaming s hereto untold contribution to society. In hope of something good to support the industry for once but with what later proved to be misguided trepidation, we attended the launch where Hope was indeed one of the virtues that is abundant in gaming per se. On one of those unforgiving January evenings when a biting wind descended on the Westminster corridors of power, Basham laid out the clear message that, notwithstanding the perils of irresponsible gaming that affects a tiny fraction of society, there is a story that neither the gaming industry nor society at large can ignore. Conclusively Basham showed that gaming has a Good story to tell , if only it stopped trying to apologize to those who see themselves as holding the moral upper cards - not the high ground, mind. That whereas the moral Ace of Spades is just one tool that is wielded with venom and arcane erudition and hides nothing more than fear and ignorance about the boundless benefits of responsible gaming, the gaming industry and its supporters have both a feel good factor as a means to enjoy life and social intercourse on the whole and a liberating appeal too. Unless gaming is addressed as entertainment with similar values as concerts, holidays and playing bingo in the church hall, instead of browbeating the accursed view that it imperils society with crime and practices in the dark arts, society will not come to terms with the need to face up to the reality that it is the lack of information on gaming or gambling at an early age that will endanger the vulnerable who have a propensity for bad gaming habits, rather than a psychotic disorder such as drug abuse or alcoholism. For now, rather than comment on the points that Patrick Basham made on the merits of Gambling A Healthy Bet, suffice it to say that on mentioning the launch of the book during ICE 2011 to some Latin American gaming operators, such was the interest in the book that an early Spanish language translation was mentioned. It is not difficult to understand the need for a book with scientific support for the gaming industry in order to question policy and decisions in countries such as Ecuador and Venezuela, where misguided thinking is threatening licensed gaming operations with closure. During last evening s book launch, the gaming industry was told to stand up and fight . Just as the 1968 Gaming Act of Great Britain, which opened up the international frontiers of modern gaming and was essential in the drafting of the Spanish and New Jersey gaming legislation at the end of the 70s, I am sure that Gambling A Healthy Bet will prove be the seminal work for gaming s proponents to tell the Good Story that, except for a tiny minority, people for the most part enjoy a flutter or two and live a fuller life for doing so. --Ricki Chavez-Munoz Casino Compendium magazine
About the Author
Dr Patrick Basham is most recently author of the book, Butt Out! How Philip Morris Burned Ted Kennedy, the FDA & the Anti-Tobacco Movement. He has taught research methods and various health policy courses at the Johns Hopkins University. He is founding director of the Democracy Institute, a politically independent think tank based in London and Washington DC. Basham previously served as a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, where he is currently an adjunct scholar. Prior to joining Cato, he served as founding director of the Social Affairs Centre at the Fraser Institute, where he led the Institute s gambling regulation research and coauthored the book, Gambling with our Future: The Costs and Benefits of Legalized Gambling, with Karen White. He has written, lectured, and commentated extensively about regulation of the gambling, food, alcohol, and tobacco industries, and is coauthor of the UK bestseller, Diet Nation: Exposing the Obesity Crusade, published by London s Social Affairs Unit. He wrote his Cambridge University doctorate on British and American politics. His articles have appeared in the British Medical Journal, Sunday Telegraph, The Independent, the Guardian, the New York Times, Washington Post, and USA Today. He regularly analyses public policy on British and North American radio and television. Dr John Luik was educated on a Rhodes Scholarship at Oxford University where he earned his PhD. He has taught at a number of universities, served as Senior Associate of Canada's Niagara Institute, and worked as a management and public policy consultant for governments, professional organisations, and corporations on six continents. His professional interests include public policy, particularly the use of science in policy and the question of government intervention to change risky behaviours. John is the author of numerous articles and books on a variety of public policy issues. He is coauthor of Diet Nation: Exposing the Obesity Crusade. He is currently a Senior Fellow at the Democracy Institute.