Father John Flynn surveys gambling expansion in the English-speaking world on Zenit today. Casinos, lottos, and machines: everything gets a bit of bad press.
It’s a hard movement to overcome. Legal gambling tries to drop the “bl” and tell us it’s just about playing games. But it’s really not. Governments tell us the money’s going for school and treatment. In reality, budgets are just reallocated to make it appear the extra money goes for good stuff. I remember in New York State when education shifted from tax-revenue support to the lottery. Budget increase from gambling? Ha!
People have limited incomes, and compulsive gamblers stretch it to the limit. Discretionary income lost on betting is money that won’t get spent on concerts, sporting events, movies, or parent chaperoning at amusement parks. Problem gamblers don’t have money to pay mortgages, utilities, student loans, or food. Booze doesn’t seem to be a problem.
It’s been about sixteen years since I worked for a parish that depended on games of chance for income. I hope I never see a bingo game again. I’d like to think going back to the old days of bans on gambling everywhere would help. I just don’t see it happening.