Exposing the Dark Side of Gambling Addiction

CLERGY QUOTES

8/14/07

MO - It's the people who are hurt and the values that are twisted by gambling. The first harm is to encourage anyone to believe that life is a matter of chance. The promise of gambling is basically a lie. We need to teach young people that hard work, being excellent students, saving money and getting a fine education are what opens doors to them. Bishop Ann B. Sherer, leader of the United Methodist Church in Missouri www.kansascity.com/6.20.04

Newport - It's pathetic and morally bankrupt to permit the gambling industry to inflict addiction, business failures, crimes and escalating costs for police and social services upon the neighborhood and call it justice and the people's choice. The Rev. Marsue Harris is priest-in-charge of St. George's Episcopal Church www.projo.com/religion/content

MA - "This is a regressive tax on the poor, who are looking to hit it big. There are also things that follow that industry, such as an increase in alcoholism, drugs, and domestic violence. I don't think our town manager and the selectmen have taken those into consideration. But gambling just saps the poor for money they can't afford to spend. As clergy, we understand our concern cannot be calculated solely in dollars. Middleborough simply can't afford to gamble the town we know and love will remain." Rev. Roger Haber, Clergy Association/“Clergy vow fight against casino Say gambling profits from poor, addicted”/boston.com/5.24.07

MA - "This is a social justice issue and a moral issue. Being a religious organization, we have the obligation to speak the moral voice. We are dead set against any kind of gambling, and we will fight to the bitter end not to have a class 3 license granted for a [Indian] casino.” Rev. David Milam, Church of Our Saviour Episcopal Church/“Clergy vow fight against casino Say gambling profits from poor, addicted”/boston.com/5.24.07

KY - "It’s all about money. It’s all about personal gain. It’s all about covetousness, or greed, or wanting something for nothing or something for very little.” “We've got enough problems in this community from gambling [and] folks that are addicted to gambling. Folks that use crime to pay off gambling debts and other things like that.” Minister David Hamilton, Franklin Church of Christ/“Governor's Race Spurs Gaming Showdown”/wbko.com/5.23.07

UK - "Gambling encourages a kind of idolatry of wealth and indeed one might well argue that gambling, rather than religion, is today the 'opium of the people', to adapt Marx's phrase. Gambling subtly reinforces and justifies the distorted values of an increasingly unequal society." Church of Scotland/“Kirk fears gambling is ‘new opium of the people’”/news.scotsman.com/5.22.07

UK - "[Gambling] gives [people] a phony belief that very soon they will be fabulously rich without doing anything to earn it." Rev. Professor Duncan Forrester/“Kirk fears gambling is ‘new opium of the people’”/news.scotsman.com/5.22.07

WV- “There are several reasons why we are opposed to table gambling. The statistics are very clear that when gambling comes in, crime rates double. Two-thirds of gamblers turn to crime to support their addiction. There is also the poverty issue. Gambling preys on the poor and makes those with lower income even poorer. And there is the economic issue. For every $1 the state would get in tax revenue from table gambling, it would spend $3 to deal with the ensuing problems. They have said it will increase jobs and improve the community, but statistics show table gambling takes jobs from other industries rather than creating new ones. Then there is the family issue. Where there is table gambling, there has been an increase in domestic abuse, child abuse and divorce. The family is the backbone of our community. If we allow table gambling to come in and destroy our families, it will destroy our communities.” Pastor Darren Wright, First Baptist Church/Churches Say ‘No Dice/theintelligencer.net/5.03.07

KY - "Gambling is wrong because the winner is successful only when his opponent is harmed. In normal economic exchanges, both sides of the transaction win. I give people/businesses a few dollars, and they give me an item. I get what I want, and they get what they want; this exchange is a win/win. Gambling is very different. In order for one person to make money, the other individual(s) must lose and receive nothing of value. Thus, gambling is a win/lose exchange. " Pastor Tim Overton, Bethany Baptist Church/"Why churches cannot remain silent about gambling"/Floridabaptistwitness.com/4.19.07

LA - “I think state-sponsored gambling is a fundamental mistake for our state. I cringe every time I hear our happy gambling songs. As a pastor, I see the ugly underside of this lie more than most. If we can't wean ourselves completely, could we at least stop the state-sponsored recruitment program?” Pastor David E. Crosby, First Baptist Church in New Orleans/“I want out of gambling business”/bpnews.net/4.04.07

UK - “Sitting a casino in one of the most deprived areas of Manchester presents a disproportionate risk to the local population, as experience shows that casinos are supported on a year round basis by regular local gamblers, among whom problem gambling rates are higher.” Dr. Marijke Hoek, Evangelical Alliance's Greater Manchester Fellowship/"Lords rejection of casino plans an 'historic victory' for local communities"/inspiremagazine.org./3.31/07

UK - “Britain's churches must continue to keep pressure on Government, regulators and operators to ensure that people are aware of the real risks of gambling, and to support those whose lives suffer as a result of gambling." Secretarty Anthea Cox, Public Life and Justice/"Lords rejection of casino plans an 'historic victory' for local communities"/inspiremagazine.org./3.31/07

KS - "I just don't know of any pastor that's for it [gambling]. There's not one that thinks casino gambling is something that will be good for our community. It inflicts a tremendous social cost. It's a quick buck for the state and municipalities involved, but the social costs outweigh the benefits." "The United Methodist Church has for 100 years been opposed to gambling, and I personally am opposed to it. I will be writing to local leaders." Rev. Michael Gardner, First United Methodist Church/“Churches object to expanded gambling bill”/kansas.com/3.30/07

FL - "You are also free to oppose what is wrong for families. You are free to limit the negative influence of gambling in our community." Assoc. Pastor, Ridgewood Baptist Church/"Clay commissioners vote against proposed poker room at greyhound track"/jacksonville.com/3.28.07

LA - “As a citizen of this state, I am prospering in some measure because 200,000 of my fellow citizens have a serious problem with gambling. And I am profiting because the gambling addiction is even more pronounced in the wake of the storms. State-sponsored gambling is a regressive tax that funds government largely through the broken dreams and financial distress of our poorest citizens. Who picks up the tab when gambling addicts spend their wad on lottery tickets instead of groceries? As a pastor, I see the ugly underside of this lie more than most.” Pastor David E. Crosby, First Baptist New Orleans/“I Am in The Gambling Business”/3.28.07

MS - “Gambling is an addiction. It is the cruelest of all the perverted instincts. It observes no sense of reverence although it often disguises itself in the wardrobe of charity.” Pastor Charles G. Clary, Magnolia Springs Assembly of God/“A winning hand”/gulflive.com/3.25.07

MD - "Members of the clergy daily see the results of [gambling] addiction. Even when well-funded treatment is available, many will never seek it. Billboard signs with 800 numbers promising help for problem gambling, which now proliferate in other states that have slot parlors, will be no comfort to a family destroyed by bankruptcy or suicide. National studies indicate that one in five compulsive gamblers will eventually attempt suicide. These studies also conclude that slot machines are the most addictive of all gambling choices. One national study labels slots "the crack cocaine" of gaming." Rev. Kevin McGhee, Bethany Community Church Clergy /“Those who oppress the poor with slots insult their maker”/dcexaminer.com/3.14.05

CA - "Gambling is the same as any addictive problem. Hundreds of families will be destroyed in Lodi because of this expansion." "Anytime you bring a vice into a neighborhood it devaluates the property values. It generates a group of undesirable people that come into that neighborhood." Director Ken Owens, Christian Community Concerns/“Some in Lodi feel a card room doesn't suit area”/lodinews.com/articles/3.11.07

UK - "It's quite clear from all the research figures that gambling is a more and more popular form of addiction in this country; and we must not underrate the seriousness of that. All addictions are imprisonments for the soul and therefore any form of addiction is something that ought to be of concern to the population at large, and to the religious population in particular." Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams/”Britain's Dicey Move: Gambling Problems Multiply as Casino Gets Go-Ahead”/Zenit.org/2.19.07

MA - "We believe that gambling will greatly compound the problems of those who can least afford it. The human costs of expanded gambling are staggering and nobody really can or should put a price tag on that. Our churches and social service agencies are already swamped with trying to help people whose lives and families have been torn apart. We believe without a doubt that an expansion of gambling will only bring more pain and suffering to our communities." Rev. Lima, Rev. Fredrickson , Inter-Church Council of Greater New Bedford/“Why we oppose expanded gambling”/southcoasttoday.com/2.19.07

Barbados - "It is evil and should be avoided," said Father Harcourt Blackett on Sunday in a telephone interview. The Roman Catholic cleric said that the "seriously" addictive behaviour had led to the break-up of families and ruined a good few lives. "It isn't just the poor people who become addicted; every one across the social strata has," he said. Priests cry out against gambling /http://www.nationnews.com/2.7.07

UK - "Most of the jobs created will be low paid and the benefit for the community as a whole will be minimal." Rev. Keith Davies, Methodist Church/“British Methodists fear fallout from new casinos”/wfn.org/2.01.07

UK - “[treatment should be made availible for the thousands, if not millions] who will develop gambling-related problems. Unfortunately, evidence suggests that the new casinos, along with the increasing popularity of online gambling and the general normalization of gambling within [Britain], could result in many more people developing a serious gambling addiction over an extended period." Secretary Anthea Cox, British Methodist Church/“British Methodists fear fallout from new casinos”/wfn.org/2.01.07

UK - "[gambling is a] more and more popular form of addiction [and the seriousness of it should not be] under-rated. All addictions are imprisonments for the soul and therefore any form of addiction is something that ought to be of concern to the population at large and to the religious population in particular." Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams/“Church leaders attack supercasinos”/Dailystar.co.uk/1.31.07

UK - "These facilities [casinos] are alongside some of the poorest communities, and there is every evidence to suggest that actually gambling addiction follows the development of casinos - a massive rise in gambling addiction. These communities are already vulnerable. Do we really want people to be going in to the 1,250 slot machines that are going to be in this facility before they go into Asda/Wal-Mart for their weekly shop? Frankly, there is evidence to suggest that people will go hungry because of these sorts of facility and that's not a better Britain." Anglican Bishop of Hulme, Stephen Lowe/“Church leaders attack supercasinos”/Dailystar.co.uk/1.31.07

UK - "We're seriously concerned about the casino's social and moral effects." Bishop of Manchester, Nigel McCulloch/"Manchester leads big bets shake-up"/mirror.co.uk/1.31.07

UK - "I'm concerned we can't think of better ways [besides gambling] of regenerating deprived areas." Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams/"Manchester leads big bets shake-up"/mirror.co.uk/1.31.07

UK - "Casino gambling will not be glamorous. Instead most floor space will be dedicated to rows of highly addictive high-stakes slot machines - the crack cocaine of gambling." The Evangelical Alliance/"Manchester leads big bets shake-up"/mirror.co.uk/1.31.07

UK - “Claims of job generation and economic improvement are misleading. International research does not demonstrate that casinos always revolutionize tourism and reverse decline. Over time, casino jobs (mostly low paid and often part-time) merely displace existing jobs from smaller local businesses. Casino complexes offer everything very cheaply, under one roof, so existing businesses can’t compete.” The Evangelical Alliance/“Evangelical Alliance Condemns Government’s ‘Super-Casino’ Expansion: The Evangelical Alliance has condemned the Government’s announcements on the expansion of the Casino industry in the UK”/christiantoday.com/1.30.07

CO - "If this happens, then you really have wide-open, hard-core Las Vegas style gambling in your most populated areas. This is do or die. This is the definitive battle for the future of gambling in Colorado." Rev. Tom Grey, National Coalition Against Legalized Gambling/"Churches remain silent as gambling spreads"/www.canadianchristianity.com/1.05.07

CO - "This [slot machine] is the crack cocaine of gambling. We see this as taking money out of the pockets of people who really can't afford to lose their money. It causes people to not pay their mortgage, their bills and it creates a lot more compulsive gamblers in a state that already has a gambling problem." "This is an issue that is gaining more awareness every day. For the past several months, this has been argued on an economic basis. That's a Trojan horse. Now people are beginning to consider the costs to the Colorado family." Dir. Jim Chapman, Rocky Mountain Family Council/"Churches remain silent as gambling spreads"/www.canadianchristianity.com/1.05.07

CANADA - "I basically said, 'Look, there's going to be a cost to this. It'll be a social cost, a credibility cost to council, and a spiritual cost if you go ahead with slot machines in Terrace . . . It may reap some financial benefit for us as a city, but it will cost more than it gains." Pastor Joel Ringma, Terrace Christian Reformed Church/"Churches remain silent as gambling spreads"/www.canadianchristianity.com/1.05.07

PA - "Gambling and all the baggage it brings, stress on wages, the housing market, transportation, crime and related social problems, will not add to the positive quality of life in our beautiful Valley. Now is the time to say no to gambling. Slot machines kill existing local businesses, draining off employees and customers.'' Rev. Dr. Christine L. Nelson, Lehigh County Conference of Churches, with offices in Allentown./Casinos will stress housing, job markets, foster addictions/mcall.com/12.05.06 NC - "There's a lot of things about gambling that are unscriptural. There is a biblical command to work and a lot of people who get into gambling do it in place of work. The thing is, it's wrong and they know it is, but people justify it. What we're doing is preying on people, and I don't like it." Rev. Ray Barnhill, Forest Hills Baptist Church/"Pastors: Don't Bet on It"/wilsondaily.com/9.26.06

NC - "It [gambling] does prey on the poor. If you look at the places to play the lottery, it's in the poor areas." Rev. Doug Murray, First Baptist Church in Wilson/"Pastors: Don't Bet on It"/ wilsondaily.com/9.26.06

NC - "To me, it was a sad day in North Carolina when this started. It appeals to the people who can least afford to invest in it. They're willing to risk even what they have in hopes that they'll get something. I'm concerned that it exploits people." Rev. Eric Vernelson, Living Faith Church/"Pastors: Don't Bet on It"/wilsondaily.com/9.26.06

NC - "We will have taught our children to take advantage of others rather than sharing responsibly, to take the quick and easy way out rather than working and paying for what is needed. This is not the example we set at home and it should not be the example set by our leaders and our government." Executive director George Reed, N.C. Council of Churches/"Lottery a hollow promise"/hendersondispatch.com/9.03.05

IL - "We're in a dogfight for the souls of the people around here, and I need to be careful to be God's spokesman, even if it puts me on the outs with culture.” "My contention to that argument [that gambling is good for the economy] is that I will never say gambling doesn't bring money into a community, but you have to be willing to pay the penalty for your moral, social, and educational compromises. It's a swap-out that's not worth it." Pastor Dean Register, First Baptist Church/"With internet wagers unregulated, gambling is on the rise and closer to home. How will we help the hooked and persuade the unconvinced?"/christianitytoday.com/8.04.06

UK - "I think it's a great concern when the state endorses a pattern of behavior which is going to make some people very vulnerable, and, as a result of it, some people are going to suffer. And the fact of the matter is that people can become addicted to gambling, and when they do, that it is completely destructive of family life, of simply holding down a job. All addictive behavior is destructive to the human personality. This is a danger area for the whole of society, and nobody can pretend they haven't been told or the alarm bell's not been rung." RT. Rev. Dr. Idris Jones of Glasgo and Galloway/"Supercasinos will cause suffering, church leader warns politicians"/news.scotsman.com/6.08.06

NOVA SCOTIA - "We’ve repeatedly requested government move ahead with elimination of VLTs and increase treatment and services for addicts, but on platforms revealed to date there has been no clear action on these fronts. It is unacceptable that the major political parties respond ineffectively while families suffer emotional and economic "chaos" and sometimes the loss of loved ones overcome by VLT addictions. We are concerned about the lack of political will to act in an ethical and moral manner." Bishop Fred Hiltz, Anglican Diocese of Nova Scotia and P.E.I./“Anti-VLT lobby asks leaders to show ‘moral leadership’ (CD)”/thechronicleherald.ca/6.01.06

NY - "All across the country, the surrounding communities [near casinos] are devastated with increased crime, poverty and prostitution. These things concern me because there is a battle with crime already in this community." Rev. Keith H. Scott,/“Lawsuit protests casino impact on poor, black area”/buffalonews.com/5.15.06

KY - "My general view is that the lottery is not healthy for Kentucky. It is a means to raise money that really should be done through a tax procedure that's agreed upon by the commonwealth." Rev. Leslie Hollon, St. Matthews Baptist/“Churches: Lotto's toll is too high”/courier-journal.com/2.16.06

MI - “[Gambling is] a suspension of reason and rationality and a participation in superstition." Dr. Rex Rogers/Exclusive Interview Dr. Rex Rogers on Gambling Epidemic/cbn.com/2.06.06

HONG KONG - "…the prevalence ofexcessive gambling…'brings an increasing number of people' to‘incur huge debts and fall prey to loan sharks who in turn inflict immense physical and emotional pain, and as a result, devastate family lives." Bishop Ayub Yuet Che Yin, President of the Chairperson Tong Wai Ki, Dr. Tong Yun Kai, Rev. Dr. Thomas Soo, and President of the Hong Kong Buddhist Association, Ven. Kwok Kwong/“Hong Kong’s religious leaders: “society is deteriorating, our values can help”/www.asianews.it/1.30.06

PA - "Gambling is a menace to society, deadly to the best interests of moral, social, economic and spiritual life, and destructive of good government. As an act of faith and concern, Christians should abstain from gambling and should strive to minister to those victimized by the practice." The Social Principles of the United Methodist Church"Gambling: Political issue sparks spiritual reaction"/centredaily.com/6.26.04

PA - "Gambling is a threat to business and breeds crime and poverty. There is a reason they call slot machines "one-armed bandits." Gambling encourages the belief that work is unimportant, that money can solve all our problems. It serves as a "regressive tax" on those with lower income. In summary, gambling is bad economics; gambling is bad public policy; and gambling does not improve the quality of life." Rev. Tom Jacobs, St. Paul's United Methodist Church/"Gambling: Political issue sparks spiritual reaction"/centredaily.com/6.26.04

TX - "Government should be protecting the health and welfare of its citizens. Legalized gambling comes in where states are in financial difficulty and promises to help solve their problems. They always tie it to something good, like education, but gambling makes losers of poor people and destroys their lives on the pretense of funding education." Rev. Charles Kemble/"Anti-gambling effort comes to S. A."mysanantonio.com /5.01.04

CA - "The impact [of casinos] on the social fiber of our community would be devastating. Families would split, credit card debt would rise, crime would increase and there would be more drug addiction." "I will do whatever I can to keep Barstow from becoming a little Las Vegas. I fear that the casino will become the plantation and the city of Barstow its slaves." "Gambling deserves our most sincere and aggressive rebuke. If the church ignores gambling ventures, it's a 'sure bet' that the personal and interpersonal damage will be irreparable." Pastor Charles Mattix III, Assembly of God/"Pastors predict bleak future if local casinos open”/www.ag.org/12.19.03

AZ - "Gambling is biblically and morally wrong. It's a predatory industry that adds one more vice to an already vice-stricken group of people. Gambling splits friendships and families, increases the suicide level, and contributes to life-controlling problems such as prostitution and alcoholism." Chief John E. Maracle, A/GNative American Fellowship/"Pastors predict bleak future if local casinos open”/www.ag.org/12.19.03

WV - "I think it's a terrible situation. I don't theologically think that gambling is something we should be involved in. It preys on the most desperate and susceptible members of our society. They hope to strike it rich, and of course they don't. Money for milk and shoes is spent at these parlors instead." Pastor Warren Wilson, Worldwide Church of God/“Churches in W.Va. concerned about rise of gambling's influence”/cpubco.com/9.07.03

WV - "I was stunned when I returned after seven months absence to find 'casinos' popping up throughout the area. I think it's a negative development. Gambling has an addictive nature to it, and frankly the people who gamble the most are those who can afford it the least." Pastor Quint Pitts, Horizon Church/“Churches in W.Va. concerned about rise of gambling's influence”/cpubco.com/9.07.03

"Gambling is pleasure and profit at the cost of someone else's pain and loss." Dr. Adrian Rogers/wava.oneplace.com

Gambling challenges the view of life which the Christian Church exists to uphold and extend. Its glorification of mere chance is a denial of the Divine order of nature. To risk money haphazard[ly] is to disregard the insistence of the Church in every age of living faith that possessions are a trust, and that men must account to God for their use. The persistent appeal to covetousness is fundamentally opposed to the unselfishness which was taught by Jesus Christ and by the New Testament as a whole. The attempt (which is inseparable from gambling) to make a profit out of the inevitable loss and possible suffering of others is the antithesis of that love of one’s neighbor on which our Lord insisted.” Feast of William Temple, Archbishop of Canterbury, Teacher, 1944,(1881-1944)/www.worldofquotes.com/author/Archbishop-William-Temple/1/index.html