Rescued by slots, roulette, baccarat, blackjack and poker?

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Having casinos rescue Georgia’s Hope Scholarship is about like asking ISIS to help us protect our borders.

Those who want to saturate Georgia with casino gambling and horse racing have been up to their shenanigans for years. It is my understanding there are now more gambling lobbyists in Atlanta than legislators.

The proponents of gambling claim casinos are now the panacea for a struggling HOPE college scholarship program. In other words, a faltering program funded by gambling … is more gambling.

The World Casino News seems jubilant about the prospects of casino gambling in Georgia. The Jan. 25 issue of the publication hails Republican Senator Brandon Beach of Alpharetta and Republican Representative Ron Stephens, of Savannah, as the champions of their cause. Last year HR 807 called for minimum investments of $1.25 billion for one Atlanta-area casino and $750 million for the other one presumably in Augusta, Savannah, or Columbus.

According to the World Casino News, the new legislation “would not include legalizing betting on horse racing, but would see the creation of a new gaming commission by the state, one which would be similar in fashion to that of Nevada (Does that mean that Atlanta would become Las Vegas East?). Up to two gaming licenses would be issued by the state. A $2 billion investment would be required for the Atlanta license, and a secondary state license for the other location would require a minimum investment of $450 million.

“Gambling revenue for the state’s two ‘resorts’ would be taxed at a rate of 20 percent, with the state’s HOPE scholarship receiving 70 percent of the gaming proceeds,” according to Beach.

The Athens Banner Herald reported on Jan. 24, “Legislators plan to introduce two identical bills. Representative Ron Stephens, a Savannah Republican, is sponsoring the House version, which would allow two ‘resort destinations’ that could offer casino gambling.”

The Athens publication stated, “Republican Gov. Nathan Deal, who was a vocal opponent of casinos last year, said on Tuesday that he’s willing to ‘keep the discussion going.’ He noted that a proposed constitutional amendment doesn’t require a governor’s signature to get a statewide vote.”

According to the Banner Herald, Deal’s only concern now seems to be that casinos not have an adverse affect on the state’s lottery program.

I have great difficulty in understanding why men change their values and convictions over a period of time. To me it reveals they do not believe in absolute truth. Absolute truth does not change. It is immortal. There are eternal reasons why gambling is wrong. Here are some of them.

  1. Gambling is a poor stewardship of your money. Our money belongs to God. We are trustees of our possessions and need to be wise stewards.
  2. Gambling opens to door of temptation to those who are gambling addicts or may have a propensity to becoming gambling addicts. The media makes much of the big winners, but we hear nothing of the addicts who are the big losers.
  3. Gambling promotes the evil philosophy that it is more blessed to receive than to give; that it is better to get than to give.
  4. Gambling in casinos gives money to the ungodly. For years, gambling and the mafia have been identified as unholy bedfellows.
  5. Gambling is hoping in riches rather than God. The Apostle Paul said, “My God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Will you now put your trust in the gambling industry?
  6. Gambling promotes the love of money. Adrian Rogers used to say, “Our god is gold and our creed is greed.” God help us not to become so materialistic that we forget that God is our source of supply.
  7. Gambling causes us to focus on the things that are temporal rather than the things that are eternal.
  8. Gambling has a tendency to replace hard work. Some think if they can win the big prize at the roulette wheel they can retire and live on Easy Street, but Paul says that if a man does not work he shouldn’t eat (I Thess. 4:11-12; II Thess. 3:6-15).
  9. Gambling can cause others to stumble in their faith. We must not be a stumbling block to others (Romans 14:13-18).
  10. Gambling does not give glory to God. I Corinthians 10:13 declares, “Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

A couple of nights ago I was surfing through the channels on our television trying in vain to find something to watch before dinner and happened to stop at the Game Show Channel, where re-runs of “Deal or No Deal” were being televised.

In a moment of weakness I stopped long enough to see a woman who had parlayed nothing into $270,000 trying to decide if she wanted to take the money. She claimed the amount was over six times her school teacher’s salary.

After several agonizing moments she ignored the advice of her family and was motived by the audience who had no “skin in the game” whatsoever. She screamed “No Deal” and slammed the transparent box to the table indicating that she wanted to go for the million-dollar prize.

She had to select two silver cases, each containing a number indicative of the amount of money that would no longer be available to her. She picked a case that was opened and represented $100,000. The second case she opened was the one million dollar case. She was crestfallen. The next offer from the banker was $18,000.

In her greed she gambled away $270,000 foolishly hoping to become a millionaire.

There are some people who simply cannot control their passion for more and more and more. The gambling industry preys on these people. They make vast riches by exploiting people who undisciplined, impulsive, and full of greed.

I had the privilege of marrying a young couple years ago. He was handsome, educated, industrious, and one of the most gregarious, personable young men I ever met. His lovely wife was a sweet Christian who loved the Lord and had a gentle spirit.

I took them through three sessions of premarital counseling, including a session on finances and Christian stewardship. During the counseling there was no indication he was a compulsive gambler and heavily in debt due to this serious character fault.

Within days after the honeymoon, the young bride discovered he was not what he appeared to be and was literally stealing from her purse and bank account to pay off gambling debts. They were in church every Sunday, but the marriage was not healthy due to his dishonesty and greed. Less than three months later they were separated and she was absolutely devastated.

Is casino gambling what we really want in Georgia? What will be next – taxing sex trafficking to subsidize government employees’ pensions?

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