Here in Michigan we have several casinos on Indian reservations. I've often thought of the many reasons why this is bad and wasn't able to condense them as ably as what follows. I found this on a friend's blog and decided to post it here:
John H. Leith, 2001, Pilgrimage of a Presbyterian: Collected Shorter Writings , ed Charles E. Raynal, Louisville: Geneva Press. On pages 208-13, there's a short article he wrote in 1956 titled, "Gambling--What's Wrong with It?." Here's a summary:
1. "Gambling encourages the belief that a man can enjoy the advantages of a prosperous society without making a significant contribution to that society."
2. "Gambling arouses false hopes and gives little in return."
3. "Gambling is parasitic by nature. It creates no new wealth and performs no useful service. At best, it merely redistributes wealth from ... the many ... to the few."
4. Gambling is an attempt "to escape responsible work..."
5. Gambling contributes to the breakdown of society. Gambling is associated with political corruption, bribery, violence and murder. "Gambling contributes to dishonesty." Many companies blame gambling for staggering percentages of losses of the company. It leads to "unpaid debts," and it has "corrupted sports."
6. Gambling may become an addiction and has done so to many people to the ruin of their lives.
7. Gambling is poor stewardship of the resources God has entrusted to you.
8. Community life is possible only when each person attempts to make a contribution to the general welfare. Gambling is an attempt "to take from the community while refusing to give anything in return."
9. We are our brother's keeper. Since gambling causes some to fall, we may not engage in it.
10. "Gambling does not help men become more Christlike. It aggravates human weakness. It stimulates greed and breeds covetousness."
An unknown early Christian wrote: "Do not be a dice-thrower but a Christian: cast your money on the table of the Lord at which Christ presides and the spectators are angels and the martyrs are present; and the patrimony which you are about to squander with that ruinous passion divide instead among the poor: lose your wealth to Christ."
A few years ago a friend tried to argue that gambling was no different than investing money in the stock market. I countered saying that investors don't buy stocks without doing some research. They are primarily interested in a good return and don't want to lose their principal. So, they invest with their eyes wide open to the risks.
On the other hand, those who gamble ought to know that the odds are stacked against them from the beginning. The reason that casinos can offer all sorts of perks is that they are making a profit by stacking the odds in their favor. Sure the casino pays out money but the operators know that they cannot be too generous otherwise they will go out of business.
I once heard someone define gambling as "legalized theft." That's what I told my friend and eventually they had a change of heart.