John Stossel on Legalizing Gambling

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," May 11, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Stossel Matters" segment tonight: Many people, including me, think it's a big gamble to even buy stocks these days because of manipulation, insider trading and all the rest. But the market is a legal situation, whereas most gambling is illegal in America. Fox News Business anchor John Stossel would like to see that changed, and he joins us now.

Now, let me — let me put forth the reason that the authorities outlaw gambling: public safety. Because you can get addicted to it. It's fun. All right. You play games.


O'REILLY: You can lose the rent money and you can lose money and go into debt so your children will be very, very adversely affected. It's almost like narcotics that you become addicted to them. Your children suffer. Most child abuse in this country is caused by substance abusers. So that's why this stuff is made illegal in most places.


O'REILLY: You say?

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STOSSEL: I say it doesn't stop it. I say fatty food can lead to heart disease and diabetes and premature death. Do we try to ban that? Do we try to ban sex? I hear there are sex addicts doing all kinds of harm.

O'REILLY: Is that at the same level? If you're going to eat a Big Mac, I don't know if your children are going to be impacted directly, whereas if you goes to Vegas, which it's legal in Vegas, and you lose $300,000 and you don't have that money, then your whole family is wiped out. You see, it's a matter of degree.

STOSSEL: Some people will always abuse some appealing things, and you can really hurt your family if you get fat and die.

O'REILLY: Yes, that's a long-term thing and gambling is such a powerful thing. It is such a powerful…

STOSSEL: But the laws against it don't stop it, and the states are so hypocritical they run their own game with the worst odds, the state lottery and then run commercials, take tax money and encourage poor people to play the lottery.

O'REILLY: Yes, but it's not like sitting at a table and playing 21 blackjack and roulette. It's, you know, buying the lottery is not fun. You're just hoping. Don't you understand the psychological effect? There you are gambling.


O'REILLY: Now, you don't do this because you have to. You do it because it's fun.

STOSSEL: Fun is OK. I'm for fun.

O'REILLY: Fine. But a lot of people can't handle that. Some people can drink two or three beers and they're not intoxicated. Some people become alcoholics. That's why prohibition was put in.

STOSSEL: How well did that work? Do we ban beer?

O'REILLY: No, but you make it more difficult to gamble, rather than having a casino on every corner.

STOSSEL: That's the philosophy, but it barely works because now people can gamble on the Internet, and all the money goes overseas to the Caribbean and to Europe.

O'REILLY: Now how — I don't know. How pervasive is the Internet gambling? I mean...

STOSSEL: Nobody knows because it's illegal.

O'REILLY: You have to give them the credit card. And you play games of chance in your home, and you can get wiped out there?

STOSSEL: That's right.

O'REILLY: See that is changing the equation. And then you have the Indian, the Native American have got casinos everywhere.


O'REILLY: So the equation has changed in America. If you want to gamble, you can. So you say gambling, then, should be legal — should be legal everywhere and then the tax revenue should come in and help us all out?

STOSSEL: And the government should leave adults alone if we're not directly hurting anybody else.

O'REILLY: But if the adults then bankrupt themselves, the government will...

STOSSEL: That's my problem if I bankrupt myself.

O'REILLY: But the government is going to come in and save you and give you welfare and Food Stamps and everything else. You know that's going to happen.

STOSSEL: By that logic, you should ban everything, because all kinds of things can lead to...

O'REILLY: Not as fast as gambling. You can get wiped out in one night. Your whole mortgage deal can go.

STOSSEL: You can get wiped out drinking too much beer and wrecking your car.

O'REILLY: Well, that's true. All right, Stossel. So you put forth that...

STOSSEL: Leave consenting adults alone.

O'REILLY: John Stossel, everybody. There he is. Now, if you want Stossel's money, just e-mail him, you know, and play a little blackjack.