A handful of misguided Kentucky lawmakers are continuing to push the boneheaded notion of legalizing casino-style gambling in our state. Thankfully, we have more than enough sensible legislators in the House and Senate who understand the great harm expanded gambling would bring to Kentucky and who are resolved to stand against pro-gambling interest.
Everyone who has followed the decades-long push to bring casinos to our state know the persistence of those on the pro-gambling side. They created a doom and gloom scenario some years back, saying, without the revenue from casinos, Kentucky’s horse tracks would go out of business. They have promised hundreds of millions of dollars for any number of the state’s biggest needs. This year, of course, they’re saying gambling is needed to shore up the pensions of teachers and other government employees and retirees.
Kentucky’s largest religious organization, the 750,000-member Kentucky Baptist Convention, is perhaps the leading voice in opposition to gambling. Messengers reaffirmed their opposition to gambling at a meeting in Louisville in November by unanimously passing a resolution opposing casinos.
In that resolution, Kentucky Baptists listed several longstanding biblical arguments against gambling, saying that:
•Gambling violates the principle of lordship, tempting individuals to trust chance rather than God, who provides for people’s needs.
•Gambling violates the principle of work, looking to gain something for nothing, hoping for easy money rather than pursuing responsible industry, investment, and labor.
•Gambling violates the principle of the civil magistrate, causing governments to prey on their own citizens rather than protecting them and seeking their good.
•Gambling violates the principle of contentment, enticing individuals to greed and covetousness in the hope that in winning, others will lose.
•Gambling violates the principle of good stewardship, encouraging reckless and careless speculation with resources entrusted to them by the Lord.
• Gambling violates the principle of the Golden Rule, attempting to do to others what you do not want them to do to you.
•Gambling violates the principle of freedom, inciting destructive desires and enslaving many to habits that lead to financial ruin and broken relationships.
Most Kentucky lawmakers understand that the human toll of casinos would be catastrophic. They understand that the additional costs social service agencies would have to shoulder to care for victims of gambling would be enormous.
And, on the political side, Kentucky lawmakers also understand that most voters in our state have deeply held religious beliefs that gambling violates biblical principles they hold dear, and they will hold elected officials accountable at the polls if they tread on those principles.