Experts on the effects of gambling concur that some of the challenges that society has endured won’t leave unless gambling does.
In America’s history, at one point, gambling was considered to be morally wrong. In recent times, according to a LifeWay Research study conducted on sports gambling, people now have no issue betting on sporting events. Yet interestingly enough, almost half believe that it should be illegal anyway.
In an interview conducted by OneNewsNow, Les Bernal of Stop Predatory Gambling was asked how America had morphed into backroom gambling to the opulent casinos, and lotteries of today’s age.
“I think on this issue, more than any other major policy issue in the country today, gambling interests are the biggest advertisers in America,” says Bernal. “[State-run lotteries] are the public voice of American government, meaning government doesn’t advertise anything else to that level. I think we had more than a billion dollars alone just on lottery advertising.”
According to Bernal, those advertising campaigns have encouraged people to engage in activities that would have not been acceptable in the previous several decades. He commented that most gamblers lose, and the impact is not just on themselves, but on their families and society.
Bernal concluded by stating, “You can’t address many of the major challenges in American life today whether it’s inequality of opportunity or restoring some trust level in government, if you’re someone who wants limited government.”
“Government-sponsored gambling is the opposite of all those things. You can’t achieve those things in our society that we want to achieve if the public voice of government is a lie to people in terms of encouraging people to gamble. [It’s just] ripping them off.”
Currently, forty-four states run lotteries as a government operation. The six that don’t are Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Mississippi, Nevada, and Utah. Mega Millions and Powerball are offered in almost all areas and are considered national lotteries.
Our Two Cents:
Gambling is indeed a very addictive behavior and preys on the characteristic of material wealth/greed. Participants have the desire to win- whether it is to win back, or for financial gain- and often do not stop until they either win, or lose completely. It is highly addictive as we know that winning is in favor of the “bank”, not the gambler, and payouts are just enough and sporadic enough to maintain a person’s interest.
Gambling itself operates on a law of averages, but even calculating wins with any accuracy would almost be next to impossible.
The biggest question Christians should ask themselves in regards to gambling is whether or not it is a sin. If we look at it, gambling is fueled by greed at it’s core. We engage in it with a desire to win, and win big. If it were just a game, we could walk away, or play another game without a monetary wager. The fact remains that greed is at its core, making it a sin in the eyes of our Lord.
Not only is it a sin, but it impacts the family as well. A gambler can risk it all in hopes of winning big. More often than not, they lose and with their loss can go money for food, bills, and shelter leaving their family strapped for cash. Gambling breaks up families due to the financial strain on the relationship, not to mention the behavior of an addicted person.
Gambling has also lead to a problem in society as many people cannot produce the money to cover debts. In fear, they resort to theft, robbery, etc to produce money owed to shady lenders. The government looks at it as a way to generate revenue, but the reality is that the disadvantages heavily outweigh any good that the money is able to do.
Families in ruin, addictive behaviors and stealing are not worth money from lotteries going towards beneficial things. Even if the gambler wins more than looses, the addictive behavior weighs on a family and often leads to ruin.
Are the sad faces on your loved ones reason enough to pursue that big win when God really is your source? If you are gambling, are you really believing that God is your source because He won’t give you that big win so that you can destroy yourself and those around you, or to perpetuate greed.