I’m calling Representative Bruce’s hand


Roger Bruce, who represents part of Douglas and part of Fulton Counties in the Georgia House of Representatives, is pushing his proposal to permit casino gambling in Georgia. Bruce contends that gambling would bring a minimum of $100 million dollars annually into the states coffers and is certain his proposition is the solution to the state’s financial woes.

While the government may get some revenue from casino gambling, the state would only profit by allowing the gaming industry to exploit poor and misguided people who essentially chose to invest their money in an industry that is rigged to hijack their paychecks.

Take slot machines, for example. The actual stops on a slot machine reel correspond to a computerized or virtual reel with stops, which is what determines the chances of hitting a particular symbol combination, and consequently, the big jackpot. Since the virtual stops correspond to a fewer number of actual stops, the odds of each symbol combination are determined by the number of virtual stops per actual stops.

A regular slot machine will have only one virtual stop corresponding to the top jackpot spot on the actual reels. For a machine that uses the value of 32 to process RNG (random number generated) sequences the chance that the jackpot image will land on one reel is 1 in 32. For all three jackpot images to line up on all three reels (with all three reels set up in the same manner), the odds of that happening would be 32X32X32, or 1 in 32,768.

So, the gambler’s chance of winning any real money is remote. The gambling industry establishes the odds so they (the casinos) are pre-determined to be the winners. I have been to Las Vegas (to attend the Southern Baptist Convention) and I did not see one run-down casino – not one. The casinos establish the rules so that they win and the gamblers lose.

In most casinos, I am told, little bells sound when someone playing the slot machines wins. I contend they should also have a buzzer sound that goes off every time someone loses playing the slots. There would be many times more buzzers than bells if this were true. Of course, the casinos would never insinuate that more people lose than win. But anyone with any sense at all knows that – they don’t build those big fancy buildings on losing money.

Incidentally, just in case you think I have an inordinate amount of knowledge of gambling, you need to know that I got my information in paragraphs 3 and 4 from a website that surfaced when I Googled “slot machine odds.”

There was a time when gambling was the vice of a very few unscrupulous people who had been corrupted by organized crime. However, gambling fever now seems to affect untold millions of people as more and more states try to legalize various forms of gambling.

A far reach

Legalized gambling now exists in 47 states and the District of Columbia. The momentum seems to be on the side of those who want legalized gambling as a way to supplement state revenues. But these states and their citizens often ignore the costs that are associated with legalized gambling. The personal, domestic, social, and economic costs are enormous.

Gamblers Anonymous estimates that there are at least 12 million compulsive gamblers in the country. Over 90 percent of those gamblers began gambling before the age of 14. Research shows that 70-80 percent of adolescents report having gambled for money in the last year. A recent study stated that there are 750,000 problem gamblers among our youth between the age of 14 to 21 in the United States.

A survey by the Connecticut Council on Problem Gambling has found that most of the callers to its 24-hour help line earned less than $35,00 a year. Despite the low salaries, the callers reported that they lost an average of $21,500 a year. The survey found that callers lost an average of $115,000 over their lifetime.

A survey in Oregon found that 64.5 percent of adult Oregonians gambled in the past year (2006) and in 2004 the people of Oregon lost $1.27 billion on all forms of gambling, equaling $457 per adult.

A claim to question

Georgia claims that its lottery operation is self-supporting and does not cost the state one penny, but that cannot be the case. Along with the economic benefits gambling may bring to a state, there are social costs that include the destruction of families, the depletion of resources, and the escalation of crime. Additionally, gambling imposes a significant social cost when it ceases to be entertaining and becomes an open door for addiction.

Those who spend money on gambling have less money to spend in shops and supermarkets. Often the money spent on gambling comes from basic family needs and household needs. Crime rates in towns with casinos go up by about six percent. Statistics show that other businesses are less apt to build anywhere near a casino. Therefore, demographic studies show that building retail stores near casinos are counterproductive.

While the Bible does not directly address the issue of gambling, we know that the Word of God emphasizes the sovereignty of God, while gambling is based on chance. The Bible admonishes us to work with all our heart as unto the Lord, but gambling fosters a “get rich quick mentality” or a “something for nothing” attitude. Furthermore, the Bible condemns materialism, while gambling promotes it.

So, Mr Bruce, I am calling your hand. The state of Georgia should promote public virtue, not seduce its citizens to gamble in state-sponsored vice.

economy, gambling, money, poverty, stewardship


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