The States Like the Odds

Numbers games, sports betting and other forms of illegal gambling have been mushrooming, as Pete Rose's troubles testify. But the really explosive growth in the past 25 years has been in gambling that is completely legal: state- sponsored lotteries, offtrack betting parlors and the like. In fact, many believe that the growth of legal betting has spurred illegal wagering by spreading the idea that "it's O.K. to gamble." So, the more governments sponsor various forms of wagering, the more insistent grows a moral question: Should the states promote, encourage and even hype the nation's betting frenzy?

Proponents argue that people have...

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