Today, we share an excellent post by Ivan Zabilka of Kentucky. He writes:
Yesterday a retired friend who is cleaning out his files gave me a little booklet called “The Moral Case Against Gambling,” written in 1965 by G. Bromley Oxnam, Bishop of the Methodist Church and Executive Committee member of the National Council of Churches.
This little document is interesting because it contains personal experiences in ministering to the families of those trapped in gambling addiction. He called organized gambling rotten, subversive, racket-ridden and parasitical. Looking back historically we can see the foresight of the Kefauver Commission which said, “The history of previous experiments in legalization of gambling has shown that legalization results in an increase in gambling, particularly participation by small wage-earners – the people who are least able to bear the inevitable losses … The losses incurred by victims of gambling have driven them to embezzlement, robbery and other crimes committed by men desperately attempting to recoup gambling losses they could not afford to sustain.”
Bishop Oxnam also quoted the former Governor of New York, Thomas Dewey, who stated that it is “indecent for the government to finance itself so largely out of the weakness of the people.” Dewey went on to claim that , “Gambling on professional sports has been the most demoralizing and destructive influence in American sports.”
The only point at which the Bishop miscast the future was his belief that the American people would stand firm in their opposition to expanded gambling. Many arguments that we still use have a long history, have not been disproven, and have not lost their vigor, but they have largely been ignored in the avalanche of money spent by proponents of gambling.