Question About Selling Lottery Tickets

I posted this question on the Faith and Finance forum but I’m not getting much guidance except for one person who showed me the applicable catechism chapter which didn’t fully address my dilemma.

Anyway, I thought I’d try here too to get some input.

Here is the original thread.

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?p=6532773#post6532773

Here is my original post there.

I don’t know if this is the right forum to post this but here goes.

For the past two years, I have worked a seasonal job at a state park gift shop that has lottery.

Until I worked there, I had never bought a Powerball ticket and didn’t even know what scratch offs were. I had, of course, heard of gambling addiction but never experienced it.

I soon discovered it was real and there were people and usually the ones who could least afford it who would buy $100 worth of scratch offs.

I felt very uncomfortable selling them tickets. I had no problem with the person who would buy the occasional ticket but those who would spend money they really needed for everyday expenses.

I even discovered the attraction myself. I would get bored during slow periods and buy scratch offs, win a couple bucks and drop another $10 trying to duplicate the winnings.

The people who are gambling addicts really act like drug addicts. They will push in front of the line of customers and DEMAND you cash their ticket, sell them another one, whatever. They are agitated and obnoxious.

I told anyone who would listen that I felt like a drug pusher slinging oxys on the street. Nobody cared. I had learned the complicated accounting procedure to do the closing which wasn’t easy because of having to separate lottery sales from regular sales.

I am in a training program now to learn new skills so I don’t have to depend on seasonal work. I have been collecting UE while on this program.

The state park called me in for an interview. I was so vocal about my opposition to the lottery that I really didn’t think they’d even offer me the job but they did.

Now, I stand to lose my UE for five weeks if I turn the job down unless I can state that there is a moral objection.

So what is the Catholic Church’s stance on gambling? As I said, I don’t personally see a problem with the average person buying a ticket now and then. But there is that minority who have an obvious problem.

I have my own personal reservations about it but is there official Church policy on this? I mean Catholics do sponsor Bingo games.

I’ve been thinking and praying a lot about this a lot since I posted that.

Am I just rationalizing the fact I don’t want to work there (for other reasons like it’s horrible) or do I really have a moral objection to being a part of the gambling industry? Sure, the obnoxious behavior of the gambling addict aggravates me but do I truly care whether they blow all their money on the lottery or not. I should care, I know, but I’m not sure I do.

I guess that’s why I was hoping the Church had an official stance. To make my life easier. :slight_smile: But apparently, they don’t.

The Church doesn’t take an official stand on gambling, per se. I’m sure somebody already quoted you this paragraph from the CCC, but, just in case:

[INDENT]2413 Games of chance (card games, etc.) or wagers are not in themselves contrary to justice. They become morally unacceptable when they deprive someone of what is necessary to provide for his needs and those of others. the passion for gambling risks becoming an enslavement. Unfair wagers and cheating at games constitute grave matter, unless the damage inflicted is so slight that the one who suffers it cannot reasonably consider it significant.[/INDENT]

So the issue comes into not the game of chance but in your support of games of chance that deprive someone of…

If I was in your situation, I would wonder how you would be able to make the subjective decision that the patron’s participation in the lotto results in the deprivation of ________. Just because a person appears to be of insufficient means doesn’t mean that he is, in fact, not able to afford his habit.

In other words, unless you know ALL of the facts in a situation, I don’t think that you are morally liable.

BTW, I don’t care for the lotto either.

You might see if your state has an exception for turning down work you find morally objectionable or against your religious beliefs. If so, this will clearly qualify–it does not matter that the Church hasn’t taken an official stance against gambling, if your personal religious beliefs are against it, that’s all that matters.

If there is no such exception, I say just take the job. Gambling is a social evil, that’s true. I was recently at a Birkshire Hathaway stockholder’s meeting, and Warren Buffet argued that we skip teaching kids economics and first concentrate on teaching how wrong gambling is, because if people are burning their money gambling, they can’t possibly be expected to understand investments.

THAT SAID, I think we are called to minimize our contribution to social evils as much as we are reasonably able. If you’re going to lose your unemployment benefits for awhile because you turn down this job, then you aren’t reasonably able to avoid this social evil. This isn’t an intrinsic moral evil, and as such, your circumstances need to be considered; here, it’s clear your circumstances excuse you taking the job.

Okay, I went into town today to the grocery store. I stopped at a small convenience store on the way home.

Inside was an older man, obviously poor, no teeth, a bandage on his neck, his voice gone (throat cancer?), clean but worn clothes. In other words, your average poor but decent/nice person here in Appalachia. Salt of the earth, hard working Christian.

We were talking about the weather turning chilly.

He was cashing in two Keno tickets. The store owner was on his Blue Tooth. The man buys 5 more Kenos ($10) and gets $17 back in money. So he won $27. I figure he probably bought 5 to start with or $10.

I wished him luck and he said, “Well, if you quit while you’re ahead you win but I just try to break even.”

When I left I saw him sitting in his pick up scratching off the tickets.

So I thought about how did I feel about it? What if that were me selling the tickets?

And the truth is I just felt sad.I don’t know why. Maybe I just felt sad for him and all the struggling poor and sick people.

It’s not horrible that this man who is not well and is old spends 20 minutes of enjoyment or whatever it takes to lose $10.

So I’d have to say I probably don’t feel any moral outrage. I know I should when I see people who don’t quit and drop $100 and you know their kids are probably not going to get fed properly.

And yes, I can tell when somebody’s poor. They’re not rich people dressing in worn clothes who haven’t been to a dentist in 20 years and don’t want to even buy dentures.

The fact is that the lottery preys on these very people. When they hit a scratch off that pays $60, they’re ecstatic. Of course over the course of a year, they’ve spent 10 times that and lost.

But the lottery advertises that BIG win and how it could be YOU! Then they also give you the 800 number for Gamblers Anonymous.

What poor person wouldn’t be drawn into the only thing that might get them out of poverty because there are no jobs and the ones there are pay minimum wage. Here anyway.

I do hate the lottery. Truly. I can’t hate the people who play it though. They’ve been caught in a web of magical thinking.

I just don’t think I can stand hearing that stupid machine play “You’re in the money” when you scan a winning ticket one more time.

Sorry, I didn’t even see your post before.

Yes, there is a clause for moral objections to a job.

However, the park people will say I did it for two years so why the big objection now? I had called UE and did not even mention the moral objection, just the fact that I would lose my spot in the training program for an 8 month job and be unemployed again.

She told me to come in and make a statement for my side of the story. I would probably lose but she advised me to try and hold out and stay in the training program. This is huge state park and they deal with the layoffs ever year so she knows it’s a dead end job.

I would also probably lose citing moral reason because I did do it for two years. They recently rehired a girl who refuses to sell wine. They put her in a gift shop without wine.

However, I know the bizarre accounting and closing which is almost impossible to learn because of commingling lottery sales with regular sales and then having to separate them at closing.

So that dog won’t hunt, I’m afraid as far as they’re concerned. The other girl refused to sell wine from the get go and I didn’t refuse to sell lottery tickets although I told anyone who would listen how much I hated it it for two years.

They don’t care basically. I’m in the Bible Belt and Catholics are a cult anyway and not really Christians. :slight_smile:

They know how hard it is to find any job so their attitude is it’s a job. Be grateful we’re hiring you at all.

Sorry I didn’t see your post. Thank you for the advice.

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