Should there be parish sponsored gambling?


#1

Lately I’ve seen more and more emphasis placed on gambling in America. ESPN treats it like a sport. My teenage nephews get together with thier friends to play poker. I went to a parish in Mo. this weekend and they had a page in the bulletin dedicated to a poker tournament.

Isn’t this leading people into potentially addictive and destructive activities?


#2

[quote=tTt] ESPN treats it like a sport.
[/quote]

that’s because poker (and most other card games you see at casinoes) are skill games. poker though, is the only one where you are playing against the other players at the table instead of the house. meaning, you have the same odds going in as everyone else. it is a sport in the same way chess is a sport. no, you don’t have to be in peak physical condition (but neither are professional bowlers), but you do need to be in peak mental condition to compete affectively. poker and card playing (and gambling in general) are not inherently evil. yes, they can lead to other bad things such as a gambling addiction but they don’t need to and can be used for pure enjoyment or even as a skill (the same as any other professional sport or entertainer). there is a line from the movie rounders that sums up my point. matt damon is responding to his girlfriend accusing him of gambling. he says, “why do you still think of it as gambling? it’s a skill game. why do the same guys end up at the final table of the world series of poker every year?! because it’s a skill game.” there is gambling involved in every sport. if you make a risky pass in football, it is called a gamble. yes, no money changes hands (or does it when it comes to bonuses and post season play?), but it is a gamble none the less. just my 2 cents


#3

Is the parish playing the role of “house” and thus cashing in as a sort of fundraiser? I would ask if this is an occasional thing, like maybe an annual casino night, where people get to come and end up “contributing” an average of $25 or $50 while enjoying an evening of fun & games with other parishoners, and maybe someone gets lucky and ends up going home with a little more than they started with, but the parish ends up collecting some money, and there is some cap on how much you’re allowed to lose… Or is it a weekly bingo where seniors come and play for a quarter a game and spend $3 for a night out, and the church makes a few bucks in the process? Or is the church sponsoring weekly high-stakes poker or blackjack or roulette in the parish hall where people are coming and routinely losing their paycheck or the rent money or the mortgage to the house, while the church skims 15% off the top. I think the first two are probably ok, whereas the third case would be immoral.

The deal with gambling is that you can justify the money you lose as money spent for a certain amount of entertainment. So if you go in with the idea that you are willing to spend $3 or $25 or $100 for an evening of fun & games, and this fits into your overall budget, and this doesn’t interfere with your obligations to your family or your charitable contributions, then it’s fine, and once in a while you may get lucky and come home with more than you started with. But for a lot of people, it’s hard to draw that line as to where to stop, and that thrill (or that fantasy) of possibly winning drives them to spend more than they can afford, and that’s immoral.


#4

Parishes throughout this country use Bingo. I am not sure if this is real dangerous gambling, and I know many older people love it. It is fun and it helps them pass the time. I personally don’t gamble or think it should be attached to church. I understand that many do not think of Bingo as gambling though. Not sure of my answer, to be sure!


#5

first of all Bengal_fan, the best line in Rounders was at the end when the cab driver says “good LUCK”, and matt thinks to himself “they insist on calling it luck”.
but at the same time matt was STUPID for gambling, his life became stressful and in danger. he lost more than a few chips his life was ruined.

now in terms of church gambling. i can see what your getting at when you say its not a good thing , but as Bobby says they arent out to hurt you like the casino house. they dont get you drunk and surround you with women. they should have very low maximum bets and limited play. its a form of entertainment and people who have the cash have no problem dropping a little, the parish is probably going to turn around and do good with it. i wouldnt do it because im poor. when i think entertainment one thing i think of is the cinemas…but the prices are so absurd you can rent 2-3 movies for the family for what it costs for 1 person to get in. it would be worth it if they were pumping out award winners, but most the new movies are worthless.


#6

Of all the people who gamble, somewhere around 8 to 10% may have an addictive personality.

For those who have an addictive personality, they aren’t going to get “hooked” on what generally passes itself off as “gambling” in a church setting.


#7

It has been my experience that Church run gambling, like all house gambling, caters to the gambling addict - multiple cards, large prizes, early bird specials - all designed to increase the participation. The Church uses the same approach as any casino.

Note that most products have limited per person sales. To increase sales the seller must appeal to a larger audience. However, gambling, liquor, and tobacco/drugs increase their sales most easily by increasing the sales to each individual - creating addicts.

While the products are not evil, this catering to addicts definitely is and must be avoided.


#8

I’m not against gambling in a casino but is this a wholesome parish activity?
If my parish wanted to raise a little money, should we show R rated movies? It’s only entertainment.
Addictions start somewhere? Should it start at St. so and so’s?

Shouldn’t our parishes be an oasis from the world?


#9

Porn and gratuitous violence are intrinsically evil and have no ‘safe’ level of participation.

Gambling is, IMO, like alcohol. Some folks (mostly protestant) think any use of alchol is evil and argue it similarly to the way some here argue against gambling. However, Jesus himself endorsed drinking wine more than once, so I think that issued is pretty settled.

I agree that churches must carefully monitor how Bingo or any other gambling is done in the name of the church. IMO, it should be a social event and nobody should be able to blow more than $20 in a night. Same goes for church activities and alcohol. I’ve seen people get blasted at parish parties and I just have to wonder why there isn’t tighter regulation at the bar? Why would a parish serve a drunk another drink? That said, I’m fine with wine being served at spaghetti dinner!


#10

[quote=Bobby Jim]Or is it a weekly bingo where seniors come and play for a quarter a game and spend $3 for a night out, and the church makes a few bucks in the process?
[/quote]

Quarter a game? $3 a night? That’s not the kind of BINGO I know. Nor is it the kind that most serious senior citizen BINGO players care for. BINGO is big business gambling and if you aren’t spending at least $20-30 a night (maybe several nighst a week at various parishes and community centers), you aren’t really a player, but just having a rinky dink family game. It’s like the difference of playing poker for nickels with family and kids inclduing all kinds of silly wildcard games and such versus playing serious medium stakes card games.

The deal with gambling is that you can justify the money you lose as money spent for a certain amount of entertainment. So if you go in with the idea that you are willing to spend $3 or $25 or $100 for an evening of fun & games, and this fits into your overall budget, and this doesn’t interfere with your obligations to your family or your charitable contributions, then it’s fine, and once in a while you may get lucky and come home with more than you started with. But for a lot of people, it’s hard to draw that line as to where to stop, and that thrill (or that fantasy) of possibly winning drives them to spend more than they can afford, and that’s immoral.

While this is basically true, I think that the larger concern is whether we ought to be finding gambling to be a quick fix to everything that can bilk the poor (often literally) hopefuls for easy funds.


#11

[quote=Joe Kelley]It has been my experience that Church run gambling, like all house gambling, caters to the gambling addict - multiple cards, large prizes, early bird specials - all designed to increase the participation. The Church uses the same approach as any casino.

Note that most products have limited per person sales. To increase sales the seller must appeal to a larger audience. However, gambling, liquor, and tobacco/drugs increase their sales most easily by increasing the sales to each individual - creating addicts.

While the products are not evil, this catering to addicts definitely is and must be avoided.
[/quote]

Remember where parish casino nights came from, also. They originated in a time when gambling was formally illegal in most places and you didn’t have the boats all over the place. So this scheme was devised so that the parishioners could basically go to Vegas without having to get on a plane. All the heavy drinking, gambling guys who were doing this in the church basement or their buddy’s house, anyway, could invite more people in and have more games while raking in the dough for the parish instead of just keeping it to themselves.


#12

[quote=chicago]Quarter a game? $3 a night? That’s not the kind of BINGO I know. Nor is it the kind that most serious senior citizen BINGO players care for. BINGO is big business gambling and if you aren’t spending at least $20-30 a night (maybe several nighst a week at various parishes and community centers), you aren’t really a player, but just having a rinky dink family game. It’s like the difference of playing poker for nickels with family and kids inclduing all kinds of silly wildcard games and such versus playing serious medium stakes card games.
[/quote]

shows how much I know. this is what I remember from the local senior citizen’s home in the mid-'80s.

agreed… same goes for the lottery. It’s like a tax on stupidity.


#13

CCC 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.

Heck the Apostles shot craps to decide the next.

And they put forward two, Joseph called Barsab’bas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthi’as. And they prayed and said, “Lord, who knowest the hearts of all men, show which one of these two thou hast chosento take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside, to go to his own place.” And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthi’as; and he was enrolled with the eleven apostles. Acts 1:23-26

Gambling is morally neutral. And like anything else moderation is called for.


#14

Our parish is having a poker tourn. for the first time this month. I don’t like the idea really because we are in a Protestant area. We need to avoid these types of stumbling blocks. Paul seemed to say this, didn’t he?

Romans Ch. 14
13] Then let us no more pass judgment on one another, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.
14] I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; but it is unclean for any one who thinks it unclean.
15] If your brother is being injured by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. Do not let what you eat cause the ruin of one for whom Christ died.
16] So do not let your good be spoken of as evil.
17] For the kingdom of God is not food and drink but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit;
18] he who thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men.
19] Let us then pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.
******20] Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for any one to make others fall by what he eats;
**21] it is right not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that makes your brother stumble.
22] The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God; happy is he who has no reason to judge himself for what he approves.
23] But he who has doubts is condemned, if he eats, because he does not act from faith; for whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.


#15

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.