The National Lottery also contributes to the spread of suffering

The National Lottery also contributes to the spread of suffering
The National Lottery also contributes to the spread of suffering

It’s something different. Besides migration, purchasing power and budgets of all kinds, there are other important issues that are welcome in a political election campaign. The scourge that is addiction, for example, and how we can maximize its damage to individuals and society. And this is not about people who say they are addicted to chocolate, because they certainly eat a piece of it every day – then you are not addicted, you just like eating chocolate. You are addicted if the use of a substance destroys yourself and often also your loved ones – that danger is relatively limited with a daily portion of chocolate. Gambling, on the other hand, destroys lives.

It is therefore to be welcomed that Vooruit has come up with a well-thought-out, detailed plan to make this more difficult in every respect. With a better applied advertising ban, a ban on so-called live betting, more online gaming restrictions and even stricter rules for the National Lottery, which also diligently contributes to the possible spread of human suffering with, for example, scratch cards. Anything that gives an instant kick can be addictive. Online and anonymously, this danger is of course greatest among young people. What starts with a magically designed pink or orange e-cigarette at the age of fourteen may soon end with a maddening smoking addiction that will destroy your life. Let us not give the youth stepping stones to misery, but rather protect them from it.

Is the government interfering too much in our private lives? Are we not allowed to smoke and drink and gamble as much as we want, as long as we do not hinder or disadvantage others? That is the classic application of the well-known harm principle – only ban what can harm others – and there is something to be said for it. But there is still a difference between liberals and social democrats: the liberal hates paternalism, the social democrat occasionally wants to sacrifice individual freedoms for the benefit of the collective. And yes, sometimes a ban, or an obligation, promotes freedom. I’m still alive thanks to the seat belt.

There is only one problem: the discussion about restrictions on the gambling sector is not always based on ideological arguments. If dark blue liberals resist – as is also the case in other dossiers, for example that of mandatory ventilation – it is also because they are under pressure from a lobby. We are alive, writes public administration professor Bram Verschuere in his book Politics in times of distrust, not only in a partycracy, but also in a lobbycracy. That is why it is a useful idea from Vooruit to abolish the far too weak Gaming Commission and replace it with an advisory council with representatives from social services, the gambling sector and the government. With this addition: “There are no contacts between the government and the gambling lobby outside of this advisory council.”

Good plan. Will this be included in a possible coalition agreement? It’s a nice bet.

Gambling destroys lives. It is to be welcomed that Vooruit has come up with a well-thought-out plan to make this more difficult

The article is in Dutch

Tags: National Lottery contributes spread suffering


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