Policy / Oppose Efforts to Expand Gambling

Oppose Efforts to Expand Gambling

Southern Baptists have long voiced their opposition to predatory gambling. Our Convention has adopted 14 resolutions on this issue. Most recently, one resolution called on believers “to exercise their influence by refusing to participate in any form of gambling or its promotion” and urged “political leaders to enact laws restricting and eventually eliminating all forms of gambling and its advertisement.” Governments should seek the welfare of their citizens, not exploit their weaknesses.

The Bible clearly outlines the negative consequences of gambling on individuals, families, and society. Scripture commands believers to carefully steward their resources, but gambling recklessly covets and pursues worldly materialism (Matt. 6:24-34). Christians are called to love their neighbor, but gambling elevates personal gain and pleasure at the expense of another person’s loss and pain (Matt. 22:37-40).

Gambling addictions create financial tensions and community problems. High levels of gambling often lead to more unpaid bills, bankruptcies, and job absences. Children suffer disproportionately when a parent gambles away money reserved for necessities like food, rent, clothing, and medicine. Pathological gamblers experience significantly higher divorce rates, while the presence of casinos reduces community health indicators including voluntarism, civic participation, and family stability.

Rather than protect the vulnerable, state governments are colluding with profiteer gambling operations to exploit ​​their citizens. For the past several years, Americans have been increasingly exposed to predatory for-profit gambling—the practice of using gambling to prey on human weakness for profit. This practice is illegal unless granted special legal exemption—which many states are increasingly willing to provide. 

State governments continue to legalize predatory gambling despite decades of research that it is destructive to their communities. Until three years ago, Nevada was the only state in which a person could legally wager on sports results. But in 2018, the Supreme Court ruled that a federal ban on sports betting was unconstitutional, opening the floodgates for legalized sports betting. Currently, 45 million Americans can legally wager in their home state.

The ERLC urges Congress and state legislatures to closely regulate the sports gambling industry and to push back on the predatory practices of the larger gambling industry. The ERLC will continue to advocate against any expansion of gambling and will further encourage state legislatures to roll back current laws authorizing gaming.

SBC Actions

Southern Baptists spoke to gambling at the 2017 annual meeting through the Resolution On The Sin Of Gambling.

Latest Resources

Oppose Efforts to Expand Gambling

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