Journal of Gambling Studies

, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 61–75 | Cite as

The philosophical foundations of Las Vegas

  • Michael Scriven


Las Vegas is a city that has long challenged social norms of the rest of the United States and built a highly successful economic base on gambling and other hedonistic pursuits. Now that many other states and communities are pursuing or actively considering following the route of legal casinos for economic development purposes, the ethical considerations that have confronted Las Vegas about the question of gambling and its broader social impacts take on greater import.

This paper examines the ethics of gambling relative to Las Vegas at two levels: first, as a pragmatic trade-off of accepting an activity with some bad consequences because of the economic benefits that can be derived; and second, more fundamentally, by examining the validity of the major ethical arguments against gambling.


Economic Development Social Norm Economic Benefit Ethical Consideration Social Impact 
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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Scriven
    • 1
  1. 1.Point Reyes

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