The article focuses attention on the presupposition that gambling is ‘class-exploitation’ – an argument that positions players as passive pawns in a capitalist conspiracy. It disagrees with this frame and presents theory and research from psychology that suggests relative deprivation has more explanatory power than (absolute) social deprivation to predict gambling problems. It also inserts Canada into the discussion about the possible existence of an Industry–State Gambling Complex. In Canada, governments are the owner and operator of (most) gambling venues. This overlapping relationship means that the gambling industry is answerable to the public. The article contends that in such a context, as well as in any functioning democracy, government must balance its function to facilitate economic growth with social responsibility. Academic research from many disciplines can help governments find this balance.