Why gambling is good for you by Prudence Jones in the Guardian (Face to Faith column)
It's nice to see a Pagan author in the Face to Faith column, especially when it's Prudence Jones. The article sets out why gambling was originally a sacred activity, and why it's psychologically beneficial, by teaching us how to handle risk in everyday life. I suppose that's why extreme Protestants were so vehemently against it - they were such determinists (believing in predestination and Providence) that they couldn't handle the idea of chance.
I suppose we have lost the sacred aspect of gambling in the same way that we have lost the sacredness of other activities. For instance, smoking was originally a sacrament shared among the indigenous peoples of America, and none of them got addicted. Addiction to smoking only happened when it lost its sacredness and became an everyday activity; and it was the same with gambling. If gambling was just an annual sacrifice to the goddess Fortuna (also known as Lady Luck), it would be kept within the precincts of the temple, and not practised to excess.