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LOTTERY TALKING POINTS

Alabama citizens expect their government to encourage individuals to act responsibly.  A state-operated lottery will put the government in the contradictory position of promoting irresponsible behavior, with damaging consequences for Alabama’s families.  If other states’ experiences are any indication, the harm created will be severe.

In Texas, the Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse found that the introduction of a state lottery increased the number of adults who gambled by 40%.

Even though legalized gambling has only been in Georgia since 1993, the Georgia DHR estimates that at least 71,000 Georgia adults are already problem gamblers and another 16,700 are so severely addicted as to be classified as pathological gamblers.

The average cost to society of a pathological gambler is $13,200 a year.  For Georgia, this means that pathological gamblers are costing the state’s economy $221 million per year.

For Alabama, a similar level of pathological gambling would cost out state’s economy more than $95 million per year.  According to economist Mark of Auburn University, a lottery in Alabama could not realistically expect to bring in more than $72 million in revenues.

Ironically, legalizing a state lottery will hurt the very people it is intended to help:  Alabama’s children.

When California legalized its lottery in 1985, gambling among adolescents increased by 40%.

According to the Georgia DHR, one in eight Georgia teenagers is already a problem gambler or is at risk of becoming a problem gambler.

The lottery amounts to a regressive tax on the poor, funding government programs on the backs of those who can least afford it.

In Georgia, those who make less than $25,000 per year spend three times as much on lottery tickets as those who make $75,000 or more per year, as a proportion of income.

Just like the poor, minorities (particularly African Americans and Hispanics) tend to gamble in disproportionately large amounts.  The Georgia DHR has found that while minorities make up 28% of Georgia’s population, 48% of all problem or pathological gamblers in the state are minorities.

The repeal of Alabama’s constitutional prohibition on lotteries would also make possible the legalization of casinos and other harmful forms of gambling.

In more than 80% of states with both lotteries and casinos, the lottery was introduced first.

According to newspaper reports, Eddie Tullis, Chief of the Poarch Creek Indian tribe of Alabama, has said “casinos could be up and running within a year” on tribal lands if the legal prohibitions on gambling are removed.

“Ye shall know them by their fruits.  Do men gather grapes of thorns, or gigs of thistles?  Even so every good tree bringteth forth ood fruit, but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.  A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.”  - Matt. 7: 16-18.