Moral, psychological evils of gambling » Manila Bulletin News



By Fr. Bel R. San Luis, SVD


In the wake of the attack on the casino-hotel Resorts World where about 38 people were killed, many are asking seriously if it would be better if casinos be closed due to the social, moral and psychological evils resulting thereof.

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What does the Church teach on the issue?

In the new Catechism of the Catholic Church, per se gambling or games of chance are not evil (cf. II, #2413). However, just like drinking alcohol, they become morally unacceptable when abuses and excesses creep in.

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Fr. Conway in his book, What the Church Teaches, cites certain conditions which make gambling moral and fair, namely:

— The game must be honest and fair, that is, the players, referees, and other officials are not bribed.

— It should be a recreation, not a career or vice.

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— The money one bets should not be taken from the budget for food, tuition, and other basic necessities.

For instance, a bishop from the North confided that in his diocese he noted that elementary kids bet their “baon” (allowance) in low-stake jueteng.

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Here in Manila, a policeman friend of a priest related that he was scared to go home to his wife because, after receiving his 13th month pay, he stopped at the horse race in San Lazaro. He lost miserably. “Only P3 was left of my 13th month!” he rued. There are numerous similar experiences leaving in their wake crimes, family quarrels and break-ups.

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If games of chance or wagers are not IN THEMSELVES immoral, why do church leaders vehemently oppose them? It’s because in their pastoral concern for their flock, shepherds know only too well that these are occasions of moral perdition and “tender traps”  that lead frail humans to fall into.

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And the following are some moral and psychological dangers:

1) Gambling leads to addiction and enslavement with the

harmful  effect  of neglecting  or forgetting one’s work,  family, and health.

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2)  It gives one the false illusion of winning huge sums. You may win some but in the long run, you lose more. And as you attempt to regain your losses, the deeper you sink, like being swallowed in a quicksand.

3) For chronic gamblers, betting leads  to grave social problems such as robbery, embezzlement, bankruptcies,  prostitution, suicides.

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4) One pernicious effect is psychological. Gamblers think that success can  be  achieved  through chance or luck, and not through persevering  hard work.

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Cardinal  Sin once said in a pastoral letter, this kind of thinking (success through chance) induces a person to become lazy.  “We have to develop in ourselves the value of honest work.”

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Thomas Alva Edison, the inventor of the incandescent lamp, once said: “Genius is 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration.”  The trouble with some of us is, by indulging in games of chance, we want instead 99% inspiration and 1% perspiration.

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  1. JUDE. Got a serious problem with money, studies, sickness, or marital/family relationship?

Today  join our novena to St. Jude, Saint of the Impossible, at the Divine Word Shrine, Christ the King Seminary, on E. Rodriguez Boulevard, Quezon City, after the 6 p.m. Mass.

A healing prayer and anointing of the sick will follow.

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