Gambling is morally acceptable for most Americans, according to a Gallup survey conducted soon after two online publications reported on the gambling practices of the well-know moral crusader William Bennett.

The Washington Monthly and Newsweek reported that William Bennett, author of The Book of Virtues, was a late-night customer in Nevada and New Jersey casinos who has lost more than $8 million in the last decade. He was identified as a “preferred customer,” which meant that he had a line of credit of at least $200,000 at some casinos and received free hotel rooms and other perks.

The Gallup Poll found that 63 percent of those surveyed said gambling was morally acceptable, compared to 34 percent who said it is morally wrong.

“Gallup’s annual survey on America’s values and beliefs suggests that most Americans may not view Bennett’s behavior as inconsistent with his emphasis on moral living,” reported Gallup News Service.

The poll also found public approval of activities about which Bennett has expressed disapproval: 66 percent of Americans find divorce morally acceptable; 64 percent see the death penalty as morally permissible; 58 percent say that sex between an unmarried man and woman was OK; and 54 percent support medical research using stem cells from human embryos.

Public opinion was narrowly split over several issues. Having a child outside of marriage was morally acceptable to 51 percent of those surveyed, compared to 46 percent who said it was morally wrong.  Similarly, doctor-assisted suicide was morally acceptable to 45 percent and considered morally objectionable to 49 percent.

The May 5-7 survey found less opposition to homosexual behavior now than a year ago. Although 52 percent of Americans said homosexual behavior was morally wrong, 55 percent said it was wrong last year.

Those surveyed expressed a difference between what they said was legal and moral.

Gallup found that 60 percent said adult homosexual relationships should be legal, but only 44 percent said it was morally acceptable.

Some 80 percent said abortion “should be legal in at least some circumstances,” but just 37 percent of Americans said abortion was morally acceptable.

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