Why I Oppose Gambling/Lotteries?

Standing in shawdows of the thrid largest gambling destination in the US, Tunica, MS, I tackle today’s topic: why I oppose gambling? I could spend hours giving you anecdotal evidence of the negative consequences of gambling (stories of poverty sticken adults buying lottery tickets instead of family necessities or college students flunking out of school due to an online poker addiction). But this blog is about the facts, so lets take a look at them.

This Country has a Gambling Problem
According to the American Psychiatric Association some signs of problem gambling may include (http://www.masscompulsivegambling.org/paths/help_signs.php):

Sign Evidence of it Happening
Increasing the frequency and the amount of money gambled As you can see in the chart above, casino gambling is skyrocketing in America. Also, 38 of the 50 states now have a lottery.
Secretive behavior such as hiding betting slips or lottery receipts What better example of promoting secretive behavior than the “What happens here, stays here” ad campaign for Las Vegas.
Losing time from school due to betting or gambling College males gambling online weekly has quadrupled in the past year, leading to neglect of school work. See “Poker: Online and Obsessed”, Sports Illustrated, 05.25.2005 or this article
Jeopardizing or losing a career opportunity because of gambling The Financial Times reports that gambling at work costs UK employers £300 million (that’s about $600 million) a year. With the majority of online gambling website users coming from the US, there is no doubt that similar trends exist in America.

Negative Social Impact
My opposition to gambling is a matter of principle as I feel that this practice has a negative impact on the society. Take for example, Neveda, home of the top gambling destination in the US, Las Vegas. It also ranks very high in some other categories of interest:

  • Most dangerous state in the nation
  • Most suicides
  • Most divorces
  • Third most high school dropouts
  • Third most alcohol related deaths
  • Fourth most bankruptcies
  • Fourth lowest voter participation
    (source = http://www.ncalg.org/Library/Facts%20and%20Answers/Nevada%20rankings%20Chart%20revised.mht)

    Gambling/Lotteries Prey on the Poor and Less Educated

  • The Associated Press recently reported that many (particularly the less educated) see the lottery, not saving, as way to wealth (http://angkor.com/cityrain/AntiLottery.shtml)
  • Evidence exists in major media plans of the lotteries target the poor. The advertising plan for Ohio’s Super Lotto game stated that lottery promotions should be timed to coincide with the receipt of Government benefits, payroll and Social Security payments. (http://www.family.org/socialissues/A000000620.cfm)
  • Clotfelter and Cook recently reported that the top 5 percent of players accounted for 54% of total lottery sales. The top 20 percent accounted for 82% of sales. Clearly, this small group of heavy players are the life blood of the lottery; the average player provides little from a lottery revenue perspective. http://govinfo.library.unt.edu/ngisc/reports/lotfinal.pdf
  • Proponents of state lotteries justify their existence because money raised is used to fund education. But that is like selling one’s soul to the devil. The social degradation this practice brings is a heavy price to pay and definitely not worth it. I echo Gordon B. Hinckley’s sentiments on the subject of gambling, “There are better ways to spend one’s time. There are better pursuits to occupy one’s interest and energy… please do not fritter away your time or your talents in an aimless pursuit. If you do so, it will lessen your capacity to do worthwhile things.” (source)

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