Zenit on Gambling

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.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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1 Response to Zenit on Gambling

  1. Liam says:

    While from the perspective of the gambler’s soul, gambling is not immoral per se, only if it fails the conditions of prudence and health, et cet., I find the idea of have the state preying regressively and chronically upon the cupidity of its citizens for important streams of revenue to be, frankly, obscene and not very much better than having government-hosted brothels.

    A private casino sprinkled here or there, in ways that are not easy to access for the urban or rural poor, is one thing. (Failing or in addition to that, it would be great to have the government inspect and audit the casinos frequently and publish the results at least annually: one of the best disinfectants of the illusions of gambling is mere daylight, as it were.) The kind of market omnipresence demanded by state lotteries and other forms of gambling is quite another – it is the vanquishing of barriers to entry and the pushing of these temptations deeply and pervasively into commmunity fabrics that makes this so morally squalid.

    I would LOVE to see the religious and other organizations sponsor a Legion of Decency-type campaign about gambling establishments.

    “Gaming” is not for stakes: gambling is. Don’t ever let the Orwellian Newspeak win.

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