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With sports gambling legalized in Delaware, should it be legal everywhere else?

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The Battle of the Church Against the Enterprise

Part 3 of 4

While legislatures and casino executives are mired in the battle for sports gambling, perhaps the strongest argument comes from the pulpits of our country because no matter how good or bad things are in America, religion still reigns supreme.  And, at this point, religion is against sports gambling.

According to numerous statistics, morality is the number one reason why sports gambling has not been legalized across the globe.  The churches feel that to legalize the enterprise would corrupt our youth and dirty the games.  The question we are left to ponder is do these religious organization take issue with gambling as a whole or is it just sports gambling?

One such state that has taken a staunch stance against the legalization of sports gambling is Nebraska which is the home of the Cornhuskers and the “Bible Belt” of our country.  Recently, Nebraska passed a statute which states:  “For one to be granted an operation of an amusement machine, the applicant must have never been convicted of running a gambling house which goes against the decency and morality of the state.”  This statute shows that Nebraska claims to be against all gambling with a special spot in their heart against sports gambling.  Ironically, while many Nebraska legislators take a strong and proud stance against gambling in general, Nebraska also generates much of the states' revenue through their lottery system.

One of the most outspoken opponents of sports gambling is Greg Smith who is the Executive Director of the Alliance Against Sports Gambling in Delaware.  Prior to Delaware adopting a modified version of sports gambling, Smith led a charge against the enterprise and preached how the activity would destroy the youth of America.  Smith did not take on this battle alone.

To add power to the organization, Smith recruited many religious leaders into the organization.  Amongst those members are, (i) Bishop Peter Weaver who is a leader in the Methodist Church, (ii) Bishop Michael Saltarelli who is a Bishop for the Catholic Diocese of Willington, Delaware and (iii) Reverend Robert Hall who is the Executive Director of the Delaware Ecumenical Council of Children and Families. 

Smith, together with these religious leaders fought hard against sports gambling being legalized in Delaware because he felt the legalization would not only corrupt the youth of Delaware but it would also corrupt the integrity of sports.  Another fear Smith had is if Delaware was to legalize sports gambling, other states would soon follow. 

Another religious leader against sports gambling is Kerby Anderson who serves and the National Director of Probe Ministries in Houston, Texas.  Anderson is a highly regarded conservative who has been deemed the “Face of Probe Ministries.” 

Kerby Anderson has taken the approach that sports gambling destroy the American home front and goes against the teaching of the Bible.  Anderson states that while the Bible does not specifically address gambling, the Good Book does emphasize the sovereignty of God while gambling and specifically sports gambling bases the outcome on an element of chance. 

Anderson also argues that sports gambling is a major form of family negligence because it consumes the individual.  Eventually, all of the gamblers thoughts and actions will dwell upon the next bet they can make.  According to 1 Timothy 5:8, a person who refuses to protect the family is worse than an unbeliever.  Based on this passage, Anderson argues that sports gambling is on the same level as cult-worship.

While many of these religious leaders take a hard stance against sports gambling, there is something to consider:  Are they hypocrites?

Church leaders speak of how sports wagering is corrupt to our youth and destroys the integrity of sports but the question remains, are we all on the same playing field?  Many of these religious leaders utilize Bingo and Poker nights to generate revenues for their churches and organizations.  Why is it that gambling in the form of Bingo and Poker is allowed but sports gambling is not?  Either you are for gambling or against gambling.  This should go for all forms of gambling.  As it stands, these religious leaders who are so outspoken against sports gambling are sending a message to the youth of their congregations.  That message is, if we can make money off of gambling its okay, if we can’t, it’s illegal and immoral.  When it comes to sports gambling, the opponents of the enterprise play by their own set of rules.

In part four of this expose, we’ll finalize the arguments for and against sports gambling but leave you with one question:  “If keeping sports gambling illegal prevents corruption in sports, can someone please explain Tim Donaghy?”