Normal Vice: The Evolution of Gambling

Jerome H. Skolnick, New York University

At different historial periods, those who merchandised or participated in alcohol consumption or gambling, were considered "deviant" and even criminal. Like other victimless but "wicked" pleasures--i.e. vices--these activities never entirely lost their stigma. Yet with wide participation, plus a set of other factors to be discussed, achieved the status of what I shall call "normal vice." Eventually, these vices were widely legalized. Focusing on the social transformation of gambling as a model of normal and legalized vice, I shall explore factors affecting the social and legal acceptability of vices in general, and especially the model's application to marijuana sale and use.

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Updated 05/20/2006