Faith-based gaming

I’ve explained, opined, asserted, declared, and suggested, but at last I’ve reached the stage in my career where I can quip. From the Daily Review: After defeat at polls in 1974, a gaming referendum in New Jersey succeeded two years later thanks to an alliance between gaming interests and the Roman Catholic Church, explained David … Read more

Gambling can lead to deviationism?

According to one Malaysian parliamentarian, gambling leads to superstition. From The Star: -In the kampung, when people want to win numbers games, they go to see the bomoh and even make offerings to trees so that their numbers will come up winners. -All this shows that gambling can make people carry out deviationist practices,” said … Read more

Gambling at the Last Supper?

Another day, another clash between religion and gambling, it seems. First of all, a Mississippi state representative from Pass Christian has called would-be moralists out over their insistence that Katrina was doing God’s bidding:

Rep. Jim Simpson of Pass Christian couldn’t believe the e-mails he received from some self-proclaimed Christians this week attempting to lobby against casinos rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina.

“I’ve gotten more than half a dozen from people who said, ‘I prayed for the destruction of Katrina. This is God’s wrath,'” said Simpson. “I got so mad I wanted to scream at them. But I didn’t respond. Not yet.”

Many of Simpson’s constituents died in Katrina. He lost his home and his business and pretty much everything he owns.

“I’m going to get together a list of all the obituaries,” Simpson said, “and send them in my response to them. I’m going to send that list and ask, ‘OK, was this part of your prayers? Did you want this to happen?’

Again, I’m not going to claim any kind of moral high ground or divine inspiration, but it seems to me that anyone who prays for harm to befall someone else is pretty twisted.

That’s not the biggest story that mixes gambling with religion today, though. For that we can thank Paddy Power, an Irish bookmaking company that felt it would be a tremendous laugh to restyle Leonardo Da Vinci’s famous Last Supper–as a gambling party.

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God strikes back?

I’ve been waiting to hear this: the hurricanes that have recently struck the Gulf Coast are, apparently, God’s way of punishing us. Unfortunately, no one can agree just what we’ve done that’s so bad. There’s the usual suspects–gambling, drinking, etc–but nearly every religious zealot with a beef is stepping up to the plate on this one.

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Solid socio-economic research

I get people asking me all the time for quantative measures of the “social impact” of gambling. I try to convince them that such a thing is hard to measure. But, if you’re unhampered by standards of academic rigor, it’s easy to make wildly inaccurate claims based on second-hand evidence.

Take, for example, this letter to the editor in the Sun-Sentinel:

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Bible study (updated)

Gambling has been around for thousands of years, and many religions have at least tolerated it in moderation. Still, many churches offer religious objections to gambling.A recent letter to the editor in the Jamaica Gleaner lays out a Christian pro-gambling argument: CHRISTIAN GREETINGS. It is with great trepidation that I write this letter, asking the question … Read more