There's much merit in the argument that people will gamble no matter what. Particularly with compulsive behaviors, the more and more difficult the steps between the compulsion and fulfilling it, the less likely the person is to engage in the compulsive behaviors. Pretty sure a recovering alcoholic will be far more likely to recover if there isn't any beer in the fridge.
If your argument is that people who want to gamble are going to do so anyway, then that argument also works against setting any kind of age limits on anything. If a gambler's gonna gamble no matter what, then a 14 year old who wants to smoke is gonna get their cigarettes. Unless making it more difficult will prevent people from doing it, I don't see why a kid shouldn't be able to buy a pack in CVS.
I don't think you'd really argue that fatalities in car crashes and heroin usage can not potentially cause harms to anyone besides those actually injecting heroin or killed in a crash. The point was to figure out what degree of potential harm warrants regulation. So, considering whatever damage you imagine may be caused to others by not wearing seatbelt, using heroin, or not requiring seatbelts or other safety features in cars, should the government regulate these areas?
True, age limit really does not stop any kid from gambling as I have experience this on multiple occasions. Kids will always find a way to do what they should not whether its smoking, drinking, gambling or sex. The thing is it will lower the amount who only want to experiment but not to fuss about going the extra mile to do so. Its pretty much the same for any particular activity that can be abused. I know when growing up, my best friend and I was driving our parents cars before we had driver license, smoking and drinking way before 21. Fking everything that moved because we could.
I am more of the mind of how Amsterdam do it. Why criminalize drugs and put people in prison for usage just like making seats belts or heroine usage a crime and put people behind bars. I consider gambling the same way, rules to setup safe and effective gambling where people are not scammed I am all for. Rules trying to prevent people from doing something and govern how they do it I am totally against. When you make something taboo you give way more power to it then if it was free to anyone and your knowledge and common sense is what leads you to avoid things you cannot control.
So for me should the government regulate these areas, context would be the key. Case in point. You can drink alcohol all you want but when you get behind a vehicle lose control and kill someone, you should be tried for manslaughter. The way I see it, you have the right to drink as much as you want but when you do an action that causes harm to others even property then that is where the government and laws step in. As an adult, you should be given the freedom to govern yourself its when your actions effect others is when the government needs to step in.
So many people in jail today over substance abuse where that is definitely not the solution and neither would it be for gambling. Making such things a crime or fines or any type of punishment along those lines I am not in favor of.
Don't think I said anything that would vaguely suggest I think gamblers should be fined or jailed.
Charging someone for manslaughter after killing someone under the influence of alcohol is not regulating alcohol, it's regulating homicide. You can still drink as much as you want, and you can still drink and drive. The thing that's being regulated is hitting someone or something with your car. The alcohol is only relevant in establishing fault, so it's not being regulated any more than any other factor that may cause an accident, for example driving when excessively tired.
Punishing someone for manslaughter does very little to help those who have been harmed either directly or through the societal costs of helping to support the victim who may be unable to work or in need of state provided medical treatment, support those who would have been supported by the victims, higher taxes due to the need for emergency services, generally higher insurance rates, etc. There are civil lawsuits, but that only works if the driver had money/insurance that would cover it, and again doesn't regulate alcohol specifically.
Penalties for drunk driving itself on the other hand, whether or not anyone is hit, is a specific regulation on how one may use alcohol. If we assume it is effective (https://www.responsibility.org/drunk-driving-fatalities-decreased-in-2017-accounting-for-an-all-time-low-proportion-of-traffic-fatalities which there is reason to believe) in causing less drunk drivers, then less people will be harmed by drunk drivers. The regulation actually protects those who may be harmed, and can shift the burden drunk driving causes in part to those who are responsible (through fines on drunk drivers). We can consider other regulations that would either prevent the harm of drunk driving or shift the burden to those responsible or those benefitting.
Your argument seems based on the premise that regulation of individuals is inherently useless, which I don't accept. I brought up seatbelts as an example, because that's an area where regulation has had a massive impact. Seatbelt usage has gone tremendously from about 10% of people using them prior to regulation to about 90%. It's unlikely that none of that is attributable to regulation, especially as states with stricter seatbelt regulation sees greater seatbelt usage.
The idea that we can influence behavior by making something accessible is something that successful companies know well and utilize. When I worked retail, we always had to slide product to the front of peg hooks, because we know people would be less likely to buy it if they had to reach back for it. Amazon and other companies are so keen on enabling one click checkout because they know the fewer steps before $$$ the more likely the customer is to buy something. We know that when candy bars are right by the register people buy significantly more candy than if the same candy is in the candy aisle. https://consumer.healthday.com/vitamins-and-nutrition-information-27/food-and-nutrition-news-316/want-to-eat-healthier-avoid-stores-with-snacks-at-checkout-740721.html If the candy is in a place where you can't avoid it, more people buy it, even though they could have very easily grabbed it in the aisle. Hershey's has put candy bars in stores like Home Depot because more accessibility means more chocolate. So accessibility leads to more chocolate sales, and I don't see why it would lead to less gambling.
You might argue that those who are compulsive chocolate bar eaters are the ones who would have bought the candy bar no matter what, and the extra 17% are from people who are not addicted. But, that's also probably not true. One of the recommended ways to curb compulsive behaviors is to put a delay between the compulsion and the behavior. https://www.helpguide.org/articles/anxiety/obssessive-compulsive-disorder-ocd.htm Interrupting automatic or compulsive patterns is the basis of cognitive behavioral therapy, which is recognized as one of the more effective types of therapy.
If interventions can be effective (which I think they clearly can be when you look at examples of regulatory successes), accessibility to a product or service increases usage (which seems pretty clear based on the efforts of companies to increase ease of access), and gambling is a significant problem that can have impact beyond the gambler (which I don't think you can honestly deny), then the question becomes to what extent are we willing to limit freedom to mitigate the problem.
Obviously context matters... Nobody is saying the government should regulate for shits and giggles. The point of asking about concrete examples was to figure out the contexts which justify or don't justify regulation, so we could see where online gambling would fall. But, we don't seem to be getting past the abstract to the point I'm actually interested in, so I'm going to check out here. Respond at your own risk, because I may or may not read the response or respond back. Not like saying this out of anger or anything, just don't want you wasting your time.