On May 14, 2018, the US Supreme Court ruled a 1992 ban on commercial sports betting violated the 10thAmendmentof the United States Constitution.
States are now free to pass laws allowing any sports betting most lucrative to them—and this is the real bottom line…states starting with New Jersey want their piece of an estimated $150 billion annual haul in illegal sports betting.
Until recently, the NCAA and professional leagues: NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, expressed a wariness of sports wagering. But now the MLB and NBA are opening the way to legalized sports betting, including professional leagues investing in online gambling or fantasy sports websites.
But sports betting is gambling kindergarten. It’s how young people most often start gambling.
Teens are nearly two and one-half times as likely to become compulsive gamblers as adults. Suicide rates are twice as high among teenagers with gambling problems.
Sports betting is the easiest and quickest way for children and youth to begin gambling because it taps into athletics opportunities that are “everywhere.” And because frequently they are emulating adults in their families who are already gambling on sports.
Christians are getting sucked into the gambling vortex. Some say, “There’s no Bible verse against gambling” or “Hey, it’s my money.” But they forget that God requires us to be stewards of our time, talent, and treasure. He expects us to discern, to be a testimony to others, to handle our money in a way that honors him, and to never allow ourselves to be controlled by other than the Spirit of God. Christians riding along on the cultural wave have forgotten their theology and the record of church history.
Christians who gamble, particularly ubiquitous sports wagering, are playing with fire. It’s almost impossible not to get burned, via debt, compulsive if not addictive behavior, loss of pleasure in sports, broken relationships and more.
Gambling is a slippery slope, and sports betting is the first rung on the slide.
© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2019
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