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"He must hold firm to the sure word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it."
--Titus 1:9, Revised Standard Version
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The bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts, which includes Worcester and surrounding communities, said today that he is against the proposal to locate at $200 million slots parlor on the former Wyman-Gordon Co. parcel in Green Island.
"For those who have little, the illusory chance that they can gain much, even in a game stacked against them, is tempting and ultimately destructive," said Bishop Douglas J. Fisher. "Our churches stand with the economically poor of our society, and that always means taking a stand against gambling establishments in our cities."
Bishop Fisher is the latest prominent church leader to take a stand against the proposal.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Bishops * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Gambling Poverty * Economics, Politics Economy Consumer/consumer spending Corporations/Corporate Life Personal Finance * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
A moratorium on betting on some of our major sports, including football codes and cricket, should be considered for 2013 as one of the immediate responses to the Australian Crime Commission’s devastating report on Australian Sport, Bishop Philip Huggins said today.
Read it all.
Citizens Against Casino Gaming and two area organizations are urging the City Council to pass a resolution to have a vote on the casino issue on the November municipal election ballot.
The Springfield-based anti-casino group was joined by The Council of Churches of Greater Springfield and the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts in seeking the November vote.
Mayor Domenic J. Sarno and the city’s chief development officer, Kevin E. Kennedy, have said that a casino vote is anticipated sometime between June and November.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Bishops * Culture-Watch Gambling Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Politics in General State Government * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
I write this pastoral letter to you, the clergy and laity of the Diocese of Maryland, because you will be voting on November 6 on a number of issues of great significance for the future of our state. In particular, there are are three referenda on the ballot that have caused much controversy as we are inundated with ads on television, radio, and the internet - all seeking to direct our attention to one point of view or another.
In the coming weeks, you may see, read or hear me interviewed in the media about certain issues that our church or diocese has spoken about in convention resolutions or pastoral letters from your bishops. In all of these matters, I want to assure you that The Episcopal Church considers what and who you vote for in an election to be an act of your personal choice, an expression of your responsibilities as a faithful child of God as well as an informed citizen of the state. We have too much respect for you and your conscience to tell you how you should vote; that to us would be an abuse of power that does not honor the way of Jesus.
Instead, I consider the role of bishop in public issues to be that of reminding the church and the public at large of our Christian tradition of 2,000 years of moral and ethical reflection on matters of social concern. In our Anglican way of moral reasoning, we make use of the resources of Holy Scripture, tradition and human reason, and bring them to bear upon the difficult issues of the day. It is in the spirit of continuing a dialogue with you - not silencing, excommunicating or closing off conversation with you, my brothers and sisters in Christ - that I present this pastoral letter as a communication from me to you, as chief pastor of a diocese seeking to shepherd his flock.
Read it all.
A resolution from the convention, meeting at the Sheraton Springfield Monarch Place Hotel, reads, in part:
“Resolved, that we will undertake efforts to educate our members and our communities about the negative impact casinos will have ...
“Resolved, that we will take action to minimize that negative impact, in particular by opposing a casino in Springfield because of the large number of our fellow citizens made especially vulnerable because of the effects of age, poverty, and addiction in the city; and we will be prepared to help those people who will suffer as a result of this legislation.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils * Culture-Watch Gambling * Economics, Politics Economy Consumer/consumer spending * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
Nearly half a million people in the UK have a problem with gambling. This is about the same number as are addicted to Class A drugs, and the problem is growing at an alarming rate. Since the Gambling Act 2005 was fully implemented, the number of people classed as problem gamblers has risen by about 50 per cent.
There is no single factor that has prompted this rise. The Act changed so many things: it brought advertising for gambling into our living rooms, and opened the doors of casinos to non-members - quite apart from attempting to address the increasing availability of online gambling. But there is one culprit that appears to have contributed significantly to the problem: the gambling machines that have been set up in betting shops across the country; because of their profitability, they have led bookmakers to open more branches.....
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Gambling Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Economy Corporations/Corporate Life Politics in General City Government * International News & Commentary England / UK
Cash-hungry states have long tried to poach business from one another. Now many are stepping up their efforts to lure gamblers from their neighbors to their growing ranks of slot machines, leaving states like Delaware, which embraced gambling early, struggling to keep up in what has become a feverish one-armed-bandit arms race.
Gambling revenue accounts for more than 7 percent of Delaware’s general fund budget, making it the state’s fourth biggest revenue stream, ahead of its corporate income tax and gross receipts tax. But when new casinos in Maryland and Pennsylvania began to attract the gamblers who once fed quarters into Delaware’s machines, the state acted. First it legalized a form of sports betting. Then it allowed table games including blackjack, craps and roulette. But its gambling revenues have continued to fall.
So at the end of June, Gov. Jack Markell, a Democrat, signed a law that could make Delaware the first state to offer Internet gambling — giving its residents the chance to bet on video lottery games and online versions of games like poker, blackjack and roulette without leaving their homes.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Gambling Law & Legal Issues Science & Technology * Economics, Politics Economy Corporations/Corporate Life Politics in General State Government * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
Seated in front of a colorfully lit desktop computer playing “Shamrock,” hair stylist Constance Washington says her dream is to hit it big.
But like most pay-to-play games, things haven't gone so well. Of the 1,000 hours she has spent inside a recently opened arcade on McMillan Avenue in North Charleston, hitting a touch screen over and over, Washington estimates that she is down about $300.
“I'm a gambler,” she admits. “I'm not going to lie to you.”
Read it all from the front page of yesterday's local paper.
Anglican Archbishop Jeffrey Driver has accused the Commonwealth government of gambling with the future of young Australians as it considers changes to gambling regulations.
Proposed changes to online betting laws outlined in the government’s interim report on the Review of the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 include the legalisation of new forms of online gambling that the Archbishop believes could create a new wave of problem gamblers.
“The proposed changes to online betting have the potential to open up more opportunities for Australians, especially young Australians, to gamble online,” Archbishop Driver said. “Young people are the most attuned to the digital revolution but also the most vulnerable to its disadvantages or dangers.”
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Anglican Church of Australia * Culture-Watch Gambling Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Economy * International News & Commentary Australia / NZ * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
The pro-gambling lobby...remains undeterred. As one example, the Poker Players Alliance spent $1.4 million last year lobbying Washington power brokers in support of Internet gambling initiatives such as Rep. [Joe] Barton's bill, the Roll Call newspaper reported. This alliance, along with multiplied other gambling special interest groups, shows no intention of stepping away from the table this year, either.
No doubt there is money to be made in legalized online poker gambling. The gambling purveyors would rake in additional billions each year. According to the Barton bill, the government would collect "substantial revenue." And a relative few players among millions would survive in the black, at least for a time.
But is there a greater price to be paid? The losers would far outnumber the winners.
Read it all.
In 2008, a High Court ruling opened the door for bookmakers to sell beyond their state border.
The aftermath represented a kind of Wild West in the Australian betting landscape. The big companies swaggered into town, staking claims, crossing boundaries and making a killing.
They really pushed their luck with the promotion of live odds. One Anzac Day, no sooner had the bugler wrapped up the Last Post than the market for the upcoming contest flashed on the scoreboard....
Read it all.
Safe places are designed so the people of God can share their struggles with others in the journey of life. We believe that there are real sin struggles in the lives of our people. The purpose is to create an environment where the beginning of accountability, sharing, and confession can occur.
As it says in the gospel of John, “The word of God [read Jesus] became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” The philosophy of our church recognizes that if Christ comes in the flesh we must be in the flesh with each other. Meaning that Christ initiated with us, identified with us, and invaded us with the gospel of truth. The Safe Places ministry creates a venue where the congregation of [this parish of] MRPC can take off our veneer and initiate with each other the truths of our lives.
Read it all and note especially the areas which it encompasses.
With economic growth still anaemic and tax revenue down, governments are hoping that they can find additional funds by allowing more gambling.
In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo is proposing to change the state Constitution in order to legalize commercial casinos.
In Michigan two separate casino development campaigns are under way to persuade voters, who have to approve new casinos, to allow a total of 15 new casinos across the state....
Read it all.
The competition for Americans' gambling dollars is heating up, as several states eye major casino projects in a bid to reverse their fortunes in a tough economic climate....
Authorizing casino gambling is "easy politically right now," says Douglas Walker, associate professor of economics at South Carolina's College of Charleston and author of The Economics of Casino Gambling. "People want jobs and they don't want higher taxes. Legalizing casinos can be argued to create jobs and tax revenues."
Never mind that some gambling analysts say that gambling doesn't help the long-term financial stability of a state.
Read it all.
Phil Blackwell, pastor of Chicago Temple (United Methodist Church) in Chicago, said the opinion legalized the lottery online, but it did not change the fact that the Illinois lottery is "cynical, short-sighted and cowardly."
Blackwell characterized the thinking of Illinois lawmakers this way: "'Since people are going to throw away their money on gambling anyway, let's get as much of it as we can.' Unlike levying a 'sin tax' on the sale of alcohol and cigarettes, by devising and promoting the lottery the state government is the pusher of the 'sin' itself, dedicated to producing more and bigger losers in order to make it pay."
Read it all.
A key vote in Missouri Wednesday will decide whether to relax measures aimed at keeping gambling addicts out of casinos, the latest push by a cash-strapped state to make gambling restrictions less stringent.
The Missouri Gaming Commission is deciding whether to scrap a voluntary lifetime blacklist for problem gamblers and replace it with a five-year suspension. That would allow nearly 11,000 self-banned gamblers back into the state's 12 riverboat casinos. The self-exclusion list, implemented in 1996, has been a centerpiece of Missouri's efforts to manage gambling addiction, and has been emulated in at least eight other states—usually without the lifetime ban.
Several states have sharply increased betting limits since legalizing gambling. Colorado changed its maximum bet in 2009 to $100 from $5, and allowed casinos to operate 24 hours a day. Previously, they were required to close from 2 a.m. to 8 a.m. South Dakota raised maximum bets in 2000, and Florida last year eliminated its limit altogether.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Gambling Law & Legal Issues * Economics, Politics Economy The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007-- Politics in General State Government * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
This appeared in yesterday's (London) Times (at the top of the Ipad). You have to guess what you think it means before seeing the article's beginning.
Pupils should learn that studying the form can improve their chances of winning a bet, an industry-funded body has advised
Children as young as 12 should be taught in school how to gamble, a government education review has been told.
Pupils should learn that studying the form of race horses, dogs and sports teams can improve chances of winning a bet, an industry-funded body has advised. They should also play the dice game craps, learn about fruit machines and how to calculate betting odds.
Read it all (my emphasis) [requires subscription].
Social critics revile lotteries as state-sponsored regressive taxation because people buy lottery tickets disproportionately to their incomes--it's a tax on the poor, in other words. The NASPL disputes that characterization, but research by economist Melissa Kearney at the University of Maryland shows that when state lotteries are introduced, they suck up 2.5% of household expenditures that would otherwise go to food, rent and things like children; the spending level reaches 3.1% when instant games enter the picture. But Kearney is not a lotto scold; she now sees lotteries as perfectly rational outlays, subject to the controls that would be imposed on vices like alcohol. "For the majority of lottery players, they are getting a bit of entertainment or consumption value," she says. "Simply the fact that it isn't a positive return doesn't mean it's an irrational choice...."
For the cash-constrained, says Kearney, "there is not another asset available to them to be life-changing. They have some chance that they are going to win a million bucks. So it becomes not a terrible proposition."
Read it all.
The Anglican Archbishop of Sydney has come out in strong support of the proposed poker machine reforms, warning that the penetration of gambling culture into sport and media ''bodes ill for the future of sport in this country''.
The Reverend Peter Jensen used his opening presidential address at the 49th Synod of the Anglican Diocese of Sydney to commend the federal government for its ''moral leadership'' on problem gambling as it seeks to introduce mandatory precommitment technology on poker machines.
In his first public statement on the issue, Dr Jensen took aim at sporting associations that create cultural capital ''funded by the real capital of addicts''.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Anglican Church of Australia * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Gambling Law & Legal Issues * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary Australia / NZ
International soccer authorities and law enforcement officials are struggling to combat rampant game fixing by what they describe as sprawling networks of organized crime, a problem that has plagued the sport for decades but appears to have intensified recently.
Game-fixing scandals are engulfing men’s professional leagues around the world, from Turkey, whose top officials are meeting this week to determine whether the coming season will have to be delayed pending an investigation, to South Korea, where dozens of players have been indicted over the past several weeks. Authorities attribute the apparent burst of fixing cases to sophisticated criminal operations based in Singapore, Malaysia and elsewhere in Southeast Asia.
Read it all.
Christine Bell, Manager of Salisbury Services, says gambling counselling is a highly specialised field. “Gambling counselling is a relatively young industry, only 15 years old,” she said. “Drug and alcohol counselling is well established over many decades, with many therapeutic inter-ventions being well tested and researched.” Christine says many people in the community don’t see gam-bling as a social problem, as it has often been seen as part of our recreational history. For a large percentage of people in our com-munity this can be so, however others see the opportunity to win ‘large’ amounts of money which they believe can enhance their lives in many ways. “Gambling can become a problem for people, and this is usually seen around the time when it stops being fun,” Christine said.
“Many gamblers find it hard to control the time and money spent on gambling. “Part of the counselling is to find out what the client is look-ing for when they go into the gambling venue. Some go in with the expectation of losing a certain amount - problem gamblers go in expecting to win.” Once the motivation to gamble has been established the process of addressing the issues under-pinning the gambling activities and finding alternative activities begins. The problem is not just expecting to win on that occasion but also the need to win back or “chasing” prior losses.
Problem gamblers are often chasing losses to get their money back and when this does not happen they can feel desperate and guilty about it. Christine says only a small per-centage of people experiencing problems seek professional help. Many clients have to ‘hit rock bottom’ or come close to it before they will seek help. The main reasons why gam-blers do not seek professional help are the social stigma as-sociated with having a problem, denial of a problem and people believing they can handle the problem themselves.
Read it all (article on page 4 of the pdf).
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Anglican Church of Australia * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Pastoral Care * Culture-Watch Gambling Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary Australia / NZ
Footballer Brendan Fevola has been urged again this week to seek more help for his alleged gambling addiction. This follows another visit to the pokies.
“Brendan’s is a case study in why the Australian Church's Gambling Taskforce urged this week the adoption of a national pre-commitment scheme that is mandatory in all gambling machine venues,” said Bishop Philip Huggins today.
Bishop Huggins, who is the Chair of the Melbourne Anglican Social Responsibilities Committee, said such a scheme requires gamblers to choose and stick to their gambling limit.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Anglican Church of Australia * Culture-Watch Gambling Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary Australia / NZ * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
The Government must take urgent action in response to a report showing a rise in the number of problem gamblers. That's the call from a group of churches and Christian organisations, including The Salvation Army, who want local councils to have the power to limit the number of gambling premises in their areas.
The latest Gambling Prevalence survey* shows that problem gambling has increased in just a few years. The survey shows that last year 0.9% of the population - 451,000 people - admitted to being problem gamblers. That's up from the 0.6% recorded in 2007 and 1999....
Malcolm Brown, Director of Mission and Public Affairs at the Church of England, said: ‘Problem gamblers become sucked into a distorted view of reality and often drag themselves and their families into insecurity and poverty. This is not just a matter of personal morality and character, but a problem exacerbated by the values communicated by the wider social and policy context.'
Read it all and follow the links.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Culture-Watch Gambling Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Economy Consumer/consumer spending Corporations/Corporate Life * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
I've often wondered what happened to the high-profile 1990s church-led protest against expanded gambling in B.C. and the rest of Canada. It turns out some religious leaders,including Vancouver-area Anglican Bishop Michael Ingham, have joined with academics and others over the past several years to fight the fight, raising issues about problem gamblers. But with litte effect in B.C.
I received this letter today from one of those who has been pressing the B.C. Liberal government to address the issue of compulsive gamblers, who experts believe make up about six per cent of those using government-sponsored casinos....
Read it all.
"I found that the machines were wonderful. I loved the excitement. I loved the people, I loved the camaraderie, the high fives when you win. It was just very exciting," Sandi Hall told Stahl.
Hall lives only a short drive from thousands of slot machines in Rhode Island and Connecticut. Married with two daughters, she worked in a bookstore, and used to look at the casinos as an entertaining break. But eventually she was playing slots so much, she burned through her retirement funds.
"My every thought and every being, if I wasn't at the casino, I was figuring out how I was going to get there, where was I going to get the money," she remembered.
When Stahl pointed out she sounds like a heroin addict, Hall said, "It takes your soul, it takes your humanity. You drive home, pounding the steering wheel, promising yourself you're never going to go again, you're never going to do it again. And you know that you're going down, and you're going down, and you're going down. I became from a nice person, I became a manipulative, deceitful, lying person."
Read or watch it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Gambling Psychology Science & Technology * Economics, Politics Economy Consumer/consumer spending Corporations/Corporate Life * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A.
America’s history with gambling has been characterized by ambivalence. There have been periods of full embrace of gambling within communities, followed by movements seeking temperance and prohibition.
Starting in the 1970s, there was a slow movement to accept gambling as a regulated pastime. As gambling expanded over the last 20 years, regulation of gambling has been an issue at the state level, meaning that there has not been a national, consistent plan to address the impact of gambling problems.
The result has been that each state has different approaches, resources and attitudes on how to deal with gambling addiction. Legalizing gambling has significantly contributed to the economy and has supported many different businesses and industries. The negative impact, though, of pathological gambling remains under-addressed in many states. It is my belief that there is a shared responsibility between the gambling industry, the government and individuals who gamble to work together to develop policies and procedures that limit harm from gambling.
Read it all.
The nation’s gambling capital is staggering under a confluence of economic forces that has sent Las Vegas into what officials describe as its deepest economic rut since casinos first began rising in the desert here in the 1940s.
Even as city leaders remain hopeful that gambling revenues will rebound with the nation’s economy, experts project that it will not be enough to make up for an even deeper realignment that has taken place in the course of this recession: the collapse of the construction industry, which was the other economic pillar of the city and the state.
Unemployment in Nevada is now 14.4 percent, the highest in the nation and a stark contrast to the 3.8 percent unemployment rate here just 10 years ago; in Las Vegas, it is 14.7 percent.
August was the 44th consecutive month in which Nevada led the nation in housing foreclosures.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Gambling * Economics, Politics Economy Consumer/consumer spending Corporations/Corporate Life The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007-- Politics in General City Government
Local charities are hurting since some quit holding raffles over legal concerns, according to testimony at a public hearing on the state's gaming laws Thursday evening in North Charleston.
It was the first of several hearings around the state by a subcommittee appointed by Sen. Glenn McConnell, R-Charleston. The senators are drafting a bill that would call for a referendum next year to let voters decide on a constitutional amendment declaring charitable raffles legal. They're drafting another bill to allow poker in homes.
As it is, state law written a century ago says all games of chance are illegal. Many charities quit holding raffles after a 2006 raid on a game of Texas Hold 'em at a Mount Pleasant home.
Read it all front the local paper on the front page of the local section.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Charities/Non-Profit Organizations Gambling History Law & Legal Issues Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Economy * South Carolina * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
The other day, a citizen went before a House committee and urged its members to stop their burdensome interference with her business. "At its most basic level," said Annie Duke, "the issue before this committee is personal freedom, the right of individual Americans to do what they want in the privacy of their homes without the intrusion of government."
I know what you're expecting: At that point, the politicians all had a good laugh and told her to get lost so they could get back to meddling in people's lives.
But no. Not only did they hear out the winner of the National Heads-Up Poker Championship, they did exactly what she suggested. The committee voted to lift the federal ban on Internet poker and other online gambling, while approving a measure to tax and regulate it.
Read it all.
South Carolina had more than 7,500 licensed gambling locations. This number was much higher than Nevada, and the city of Columbia had more licensed locations than Las Vegas. There were more than 37,000 licensed video poker machines — roughly one for every 100 people in the state.
The gambling industry was taking in a reported $3 billion a year.
The money came disproportionately from the poor: In a 1997 survey of video poker players, 48 percent reported making less than $20,000 per year.
The cost far outweighed the gain....
Read it all.
"It's a sleazy business run by sleazy people..."
--North Charleston Councilwoman Phoebe Miller, who plans to vote for casino boats to come to North Charleston anyway
IF THE world appears to have escaped relatively unscathed by social unrest in 2009, despite suffering the worst recession since the 1930s, it might just prove the lull before the storm. Despite a tentative global recovery, for many people around the world economic and social conditions will continue to deteriorate in 2010. An estimated 60m people worldwide will lose their jobs. Poverty rates will continue to rise, with 200m people at risk of joining the ranks of those living on less than $2 a day. But poverty alone does not spark unrest—exaggerated income inequalities, poor governance, lack of social provision and ethnic tensions are all elements of the brew that foments unrest.
Take a look at the chart and the comments if you have time.
John P. Hoffmann, a professor of sociology at Brigham Young University, examined the harm caused by gambling. Gambling has generally been placed in the category of victimless crimes, but he argued this terminology is not correct.
Problems such as gambling have substantial negative effects on marital relations and family functioning. Many people gamble with no apparent problems, Hoffmann admitted, but studies point to about 9% of gamblers having some risks, with another 1.5% classified as problem gamblers, and 0.9% as pathological gamblers.
The percentages might seem low, but they translate into substantial numbers -- millions of people, in fact -- when you consider the total population of the United States, he commented.
When it comes to family life Hoffmann observed that pathological gambling is associated with mental health problems and divorce. When gambling reaches problem levels, children are also often acutely affected. Not only does it influence the time parents spend at home, but children also suffer from a sense of diminished personal attachment to their parents and a loss of trust in them.
In my mind, one of the colossal failures of the church in the last generation. Read it all
States are aggressively expanding legalized gambling, eager to shore up battered revenue sources during the economic crisis and concerned that residents will cross state lines to gamble elsewhere if they don't.
Gambling will expand in about a dozen states this year in an effort to generate an extra $2 billion in gambling taxes by 2010, a record-breaking increase if state projections are accurate.
"Politicians are pushed toward gambling when times get tough," says William Thompson, a public administration professor at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas. "If it's gambling or a tax increase, the political choice is clear, and the public acquiesces."
Very sad--since the poorest are most often the most hurt. Read it all.
By promoting the lottery on the one hand – but liberalising gaming on the other – the government has created its own, rather odd Camelot. Gambling has become an act of civic responsibility. It is something for all the family to enjoy. The great personal dream of citizens, one which children are encouraged to aspire, is win some impossible jackpot and never work again.
Through the cunning expedient of funding good causes, the government has silenced criticism from those who might otherwise have had qualms about its sleazy, back-scratching arrangement with the gaming industry. The national lottery is, in the words of Camelot, "serving the nation's dreams".
Last year, online gambling in the UK reached an all-time high, according to a recent ICM poll.
Read it all.
Avarice and materialism have come in for strong criticism in the wake of the current economic crisis. Nevertheless, the effects of living in a de-Christianized society continue to make themselves felt.
Right in the middle of Lent, a big gambling company in Australia, Tabcorp, announced that they would be allowing betting on Good Friday in the country's two most populous states, Victoria and New South Wales.
According to a March 17 article in the Melbourne-based newspaper, the Herald Sun, Tabcorp managing director Robert Nason said that the move is part of a push to allow race meetings in Australia on Good Friday.
While punters will not be able to bet on any local races this year, Tabcorp's opening will allow them to wager on overseas events.
Read it all.
Anglican Archbishop of Melbourne, Dr Philip Freier, today described Tabcorp’s proposed move to allow gambling on Good Friday as a “terrible desecration.”
“Good Friday is a day of profound significance for many Australians because it’s the day we remember Christ’s suffering and death on the cross.
“To turn Good Friday into yet another day with easy access to gambling would be abackward step.
Read it all.
Update: There is a lot more heree on this as well.
According to recent surveys, serious proposals to seek revenue from new or expanded gambling operations are percolating this winter in at least a third of the states.
There's just one problem: The most recent evidence says the promised riches won't materialize. A few examples:
• Kansas authorized state casinos in 2007 on the notion that $200 million could be raised each year for debt reduction, capital improvements and property tax relief. Nearly two years later, private casino developers have pulled out of three of the four proposed casino sites, fearing that there's little money to be made in today's down economy.
This isn't the primary reason to oppose it, but it is yet another one. Read it all.
A tell-tale sign America's chips are down: States are increasingly turning to gambling to plug budget holes.
Proposals to allow or expand slots or casinos are percolating in at least 14 states, tempting legislators and governors at a time when many must decide between cutting services and raising taxes.
Gambling has hard-core detractors in every state, but when the budget-balancing alternatives lawmakers must consider include reducing education funding or lifting sales taxes, resistance is easier to overcome, political analysts said.
"Who wouldn't be interested if you're a politician who needs to fund programs?" said Bo Bernhard, director of research at the International Gaming Institute at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas — a government-funded program.
It is simply a hidden tax on the poor and it is fool's gold for policy makers. Makes the heart sad. Read it all.
Desperate poor people will be fleeced by new gambling laws aimed at recovering the Government’s own losses, says the Church’s Mission and Public Affairs Council (MPA).
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Second Consultation proposes to double the stakes and prizes for fruit machines and even larger increases for 'crane-grab' machines. Together with the Methodist Church, the Quakers, the Salvation Army and the Evangelical Alliance, the MPA has criticised the Government for giving in to industry pressure, instead of defending desperately poor people.
In the MPA’s response to the consultation, it said: “While it is tempting to justify socially harmful policies by pointing to their economic benefits, it is wrong that people who are liable to engage in problem gambling should be made to pay the price of protecting businesses from financial pressures.”
An insider at the department confirmed that after the first consultation on the gambling regulations “the majority of respondents were from the gambling industry.”
Read it all.
Gambling, as a key solution to our economic woes might not be as attractive as the pundits are making it seems. The Church, as well as all other civic groups, needs to remain resolute that the gaining of money at all cost is not in the best interest of our county and citizenry.
Money is a moral, material and spiritual issue. Emphasis on any one or two of these issues will lead to a breakdown in the moral and spiritual fabric of the society. There is evidence that the decay is evident elsewhere so there is no need for us to duplicate the problems and failure of others.
The fact that casino and other forms of gambling have been accepted as government policy does not mean the Church will be silent. On the contrary, the Church will continue to echo the words of the council: "The principle involved in gambling and the attitude to life which it inculcates are wrong. It is a selfish something-for-nothing attitude, and it involves a basic misuse of money and personnel." Sounds familiar in the present climate.
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A Sydney Anglican minister plans to be a Christian voice at a community forum on gambling today.
St Barnabas’, Fairfield assistant minister Steve Frederick has been invited to speak at today’s South West Sydney Problem Gambling Summit.
“This is a fantastic opportunity to offer a Christian voice on an issue of such importance for the south west of Sydney,” Mr Frederick says.
Mr Frederick was invited to speak at the summit after writing an email of encouragement to a member of Fairfield Council who came under fire from the rest of the council for an opinion piece he’d written in the local paper.
“In the article Councillor Thang Ngo expressed concern about the disproportionately high number of pokies in Fairfield and the staggeringly high proportion of disposable income that residents of the area spend on them,” Mr Frederick says.
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Colleges concerned about the addictive potential of gambling face an uphill battle against its glamorized image. Think ESPN's all-out coverage of poker tournaments or the parade of movies: Now it's "21," about six students beating the house in Vegas; 10 years ago, the popular film "Rounders" featured Matt Damon as a law student and high-stakes poker player.
Whether it's in dorm rooms or at a "casino night" fundraiser, gambling pervades college campuses. And more schools are starting to take notice of the problems it can spawn.
In Missouri, for example, a coalition of 12 schools is working hard to reach out to students about gambling. They're starting to address betting through orientations and health surveys. They're training financial-aid officers to ask about gambling debts if a student requests an emergency loan. And earlier this month, they promoted an educational website (Keeping the Score) with giveaways during National Problem Gambling Awareness Week.
Silence is still too often the response to the surge of gambling on campus, prevention advocates say, but they see hopeful signs of change in nascent efforts like these around the country.
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Every major religious advocacy group has united in opposition -- Catholic and Protestant, black and white, conservatives who view gambling as a destructive personal sin and liberals who see an industry that preys on the poor.
Despite religious groups' disagreements on other issues in Frankfort, "this is the one thing that seems to galvanize everyone," said Hershael York, a Frankfort pastor and past president of the Kentucky Baptist Convention. "That ought to say something to the political world."
Good for them. Read it all.
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