The Open Door: a personal story of how gambling affects families

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I have not had a lot of experience with gambling addicts, but I did have one related to some young girls who were attending a church I pastored years ago. Actually, as far as I am concerned, one gambling addict was enough to last me a lifetime.

It broke my heart to see what this man was doing to his wife and daughters. His wife was a nurse and working long hours to help support the family. The husband and father was casually employed, but clearly, not a diligent worker at anything that I could see. The two sweet daughters were superb babysitters and were kept very busy by the young families in the church, including ours.

I remember one occasion on which the older girl opened up to me as I was driving her home from babysitting our girls. She didn’t cry as she told me about her dad, but the sadness in her voice was overwhelming. She was totally frustrated as she talked about her love for her dad and her disgust with her dad.

She explained that he was really a good guy. But when he worked, he worked for the purpose of supporting his addiction to gambling. She said, “We don’t know what to do. He won’t seek help. He is spending everything that we make, just gambling it away, as fast as it comes in. It’s tearing our family apart.”

Before she got out of the car at her house, I had prayer with her for her dad. I’m confident she felt better since she had confided in me, but as far as I remember, her father never sought help and the family was in a constant state of want.

Once again, legislation in support of casino gambling in Georgia has been introduced to our General Assembly. Honestly, this legislation is reprehensible in that it seeks to broaden the scope of corruption in our beloved State of Georgia. Everybody knows, or certainly should know, that immorality of all sorts follows the gaming industry. This is reason enough to oppose this legislation ever being introduced in Georgia.

It is shameful that legislators elected to office to seek the good of all Georgia citizens would even consider such legislation, or in the very worst case, introduce it. Legislators and state government leaders in support of casino gambling in Georgia disqualify themselves from holding public office because they are failing to seek the good of Georgia citizens. They have failed their fiduciary responsibility and should be replaced.

What business leader in Georgia in his or her right mind could possibly support casino gambling? Everybody knows that our families have a very limited amount of spendable income. If those resources are gambled away at slot machines or gaming tables, guess where those dollars are not going to be spent. Right! Not in your business, or any other Georgia business, for that matter. Those dollars can only be spent one time.

I cannot imagine any legitimate business in Georgia being in favor of casino gambling. I say “legitimate” because I am certain the prostitution business and human sex trafficking business would be in favor, as would those who personally stand to gain financially from being supportive of this legislation.

Anyone who truly loves Georgia, including our governor, lieutenant governor, speaker, the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, and major corporations located in Atlanta would certainly not want to support anything that would do harm to our citizens and their families. Let us pray for a deep-rooted consciousness about what is right to rest upon each of these in leadership so that they do the right thing for Georgia and oppose casino gambling in our state.

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