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The Case Against Gambling

Gambling is impoverishing America.
It is taking the money needed to feed and clothe children.
It is destroying the moral fabric of our nation.
It is increasing the wealth of the crime syndicates.

Since part of the money is being used to buy off politicians, it is corrupting our political system on all levels,

It is causing otherwise good citizens to enter crime, in order to pay off gambling debts.

It is causing an increase in suicides.

Because of the poverty and crime it brings, it is not decreasing—but increasing—the cost of running state governments, Here are facts you should know:

  “The gambling craze has swept the country with the avariciousness of a prairie fire . . The flames are out of control.”—Columnist Arthur Daley, in the New York Times.

In 1984 alone, Americans wagered $177 billion on gambling. That is twice as much as was spent that year on education and fifteen times as much as was donated to all the churches and religious organizations in the nation.

The July 10, 1989, issue of Time magazine reported that the yearly gambling estimate had increased greatly.

The estimated amount of money changing hands each year in illegal betting alone surpasses our national debt, which is $2.15 trillion.

Here is a basic fact. If you forget everything else in this report, remember this: Every time someone wins at gambling, someone else loses. If one man wins a million dollars in a state lottery, the other people in the state who took part lost a million dollars. Actually, they lost more, since the winner only received part of the money wagered.

Oddly enough, the only people who win are the ones who do not gamble. Yet even they lost, since the morals of society are being destroyed, their own taxes will increase to pay the increased welfare and crime costs, and, if someone in their home is a gambler, they may have part of their daily bread.

In 1976 alone, $145 million was paid into the State of Maryland by gamblers. That means the people of Maryland lost a majority of that money, since much of it went to lottery management or winnings by a few.

One New York lottery was $50 million. A single Massachusetts lottery was $22.4 million.

In just one of the Illinois lotteries, the jackpot was $40 million. At the time, Illinois governor, Jim Thompson, purchased a lottery ticket as the news cameras shot the scene. Then he announced to the citizens of the state: “I think it’s terrific. There are no losers in the Illinois lottery.”

With words like that, what is to keep the school children of the state from taking part?

Legalized gambling exists in forty-seven states and the District of Columbia. There are thirty state lotteries. It is estimated that there are now over 15 million compulsive gamblers in America.

People will buy ticket after ticket in order to win a state lottery, yet you are more likely to die in an airline crash than win a state lottery (about .5 million to 1). You are more likely to die in a car crash (about 6,000 to 1), and you are more likely to be hit by a falling object (15 to 1).

More money is spent each year on gambling in America than is spent on medical care, and this is half of what is spent on food. That is a lot of money. Yet the illusion is that gambling brings winnings, not losings.

In state lotteries, only about half the money taken in is paid out to the winners. A sizeable amount of the rest goes to finance the operation.

Gamblers meet with just as poor odds when they wager in other ways. Whether it be a racetrack or a casino, a lot of the money goes to the establishment, and far less is paid out in gambling winnings.

But, even if there is not middle-man establishment, you still cannot win at gambling.

A deck of playing cards has fifty-two cards, thirteen in each of the four suits. Your chance of drawing the card you want is only 1 in 52. Your chance of being dealt a perfect hand (in bridge, for example) is 1 in 635,013,559,599.

What about dice? Each die has six sides, so the chances are 1 in 6 that you will throw the number you want. But the chances are 1 in 216, if you throw three dice.

What about numbers games? In a three-number game, the odds of your number coming up are 1 in 1,000. In a six-number game, it is 1 in 10 million. What about “Super 7,” which is seven numbers in a row? It is 1 in 100 million.

Then there are the race tracks. They are now legal in over four fifths of all the states in America. The owners of the track take 18 to 21 percent of money wagered. The bettor has a likelihood of winning only a 0.41 to 0.44 probability of winning. That is about one half of one percent! But, it is a well-known fact that when a man wins at gambling, he is very likely to stay in for another game—and then lose his winnings! It is no wonder that it is called “gambling fever.” It is almost an insanity which grips a person.

What about slot machines? They help Los Vegas take in a yearly income of $3 billion from gambling. The typical slot machine has a payoff of $5,888 for every $8,000 invested over a period of time. Lose, lose, lose; that is what gambling is. That is the basis of its excitement. Is it exciting to lose your money? That is what gambling is all about.

Stay home and you lose no money, but that is not thought to be as exciting by some people.

Bingo is another great loser, but, each year in America, it takes in $4.2 billion. That is money taken from the pockets of the common people.

And then there is the state lottery. The New Yorker magazine estimated that the chances of winning an average lottery is about 12 million to 1. Some things are just impossible; like finding an iceberg in Arizona, or being hit on the head by a meteorite. Or winning a state lottery.

Take the New York Lotto jackpot, for example. This lottery involves picking the correct six numbers between 1 and 44. But, because this is a permutation of numbers, it is more complicated than a simple combination of numbers. The odds against winning it are 44 to the sixth power, or 44 x 44 x 44 x 44 x 44 x 44. Try multiplying that on your calculator; mine jammed before I got partway through the calculation.

According to U.S. News (November 21, 1989), the chances of winning a state lottery vary from 1 in .6 million (Kansas) to 1 in 14 million (California and Florida).

The California Lottery Commission advertised that one ticket in nine would be a winner. What they did not mention was that 99.6 percent of the winning tickets would be for a mere two or five dollars. But would that not be a lot? No, of the 400 million tickets sold, over 355 million were total losers, and the odds against winning the $2 million jackpot were 25 million to 1.

The math department of Miami’s Barry University says the odds against winning a single lottery are 7.5 billion to 1.

It is impossible to discuss gambling, without mentioning organized crime. Wherever gambling occurs, organized crime will try to penetrate.

No one knows exactly how much the Mafia, and similar crime organizations, siphon off the gambling industry. It is estimated to be at least $10 billion a year, and all of it tax-free income.

It is estimated that illegal bookmakers in Chicago alone handle about $2 billion bets annually. District Attorney Henry Wade estimates that, in the Dallas-Fort Worth area alone, $10 million or more is bet on sports every weekend. That would be over half a billion dollars annually. Sports Illustrated declared that, next to illegal drugs, illegal sports gambling was the largest source of income for the crime syndicates (Sports Illustrated, March 10, 1986).

In order to protect their interests, the syndicates pay off the politicians to keep gambling wide open. Frank Costello, a mob leader, said just that to the McClellan Committee in the 1950s. Bugsy Siegel put it in similar words: “We don’t run for office; we own the politicians.”—Messick and Goldblatt, “The Only Game in Town,” 169.

Most research used by public officials, to encourage voters to legalize gambling,—is provided by the gambling interests.

“In almost every instance where casinos have been made legal, the developers start demanding concessions of reduced taxes, increased loss limits, extension of hours and added gambling establishments. Once the casinos get a foothold in a community, they hold the town hostage and have the leverage to get these concessions.”—Kansas Citizen, April 1993.


Some people believe the end of America came when the states decided to try to “save taxes” by starting lotteries.

But, as mentioned earlier, gambling empoverishes any nation which legalizes it.

The New York Times denounced government revenue from gambling as “economic immorality.” Thomas Dewey, former governor of New York, declared that legalized gambling brought the state nothing but poverty, crime, corruption, and misery.

Both are right.

It is highly significant that state lotteries especially take money from the pockets of those who can least afford it: those earning small salaries. Then, when they lose their money, they turn to criminal activities to bring in more money.

According to Charles Colson (Christianity Today, July 10, 1987), of all those living in the state of Maryland, the poorest one third buy half of the state’s weekly lottery tickets. He also cites a report by one of New York’s busiest lottery agent that “seventy percent of those who buy my tickets are poor, Black, or Hispanic.”

One third of the families with annual incomes of less than $10,000, spend one fifth of their income on lotteries. The National Bureau of Economic Research found that “the poor bet a much larger share of their income,” and that “the less education a person has, the more likely he is to play the lottery,” and that lotteries do best in urban areas with large proportions of minority groups (Business Week, June 5, 1989).

It is clear that states are wasting their time managing public lotteries, for more money than that which is gained from the lotteries is spent on higher welfare costs, crime management, and the state prisons.

A New Jersey study revealed that one third of families with annual incomes of less than $10,000 spend one fifth of their income on lotteries. Money used for betting means less money for gas, groceries, clothes, and other needs. The poor buy less from regular business establishments, and then the government funds new businesses, to help them get started in poor neighborhoods. Everything is backwards and upside down.

Gambling produces no new wealth for the economy. It has no product and is an economic parasite. It is a leech which destroys the morals at the same time it steals money.

Gambling also steals from the state government. Half the lottery revenue is spent on keeping the lottery going, and citizens receive only a small part in prizes. Every time there is a $1 million winner, the people of the state lose $2 million. Then there is the added burden to the state and the taxpayers for increased welfare, police, and prisons.

There are now some 10 million people who cannot stop gambling. The states are feeding these people’s habits, increasing their numbers, preying on their addiction, destroying their families, and weakening the morality of the entire state.

What about the “winners”? Most winners find themselves harassed by reporters, sob stories from strangers, and swindlers after their money. One such winner of a million dollars was Erika Earnhart, who later stated publicly that, if she had know the tragedy that would come from her “big win,” she would have torn up the ticket and thrown it away. The million-dollar win resulted in two divorces, a child custody case, alimony payments, and a pile of debts. Research studies indicate that many regamble their winnings, plus more, and lose it all. Many die in debt, and some commit suicide (Christianity Today, October 18, 1985).

Are you ready for a few more statistics? Consider these:

“Gambling profits are the principal support of big-time racketeering and gangsterism.”—Kefauver Committee, U.S. Senate.

“The Commission’s research has shown that the availability of legal gambling creates new gamblers.”—Larry Braidfoot, Gambling, 153.

“Where gambling flourishes, the racketeers gather like flies around syrup.”—W.J. Peterson, “What You Should Know about Gambling,” 46.

Legalized gambling only makes new gamblers, and soon they are betting on illegal, mob-controlled wagering. This fact is well-attested.

Consider racetracks: As soon as a new one opens, the illegal bookmakers open shop and start taking bets. After Massachusetts legalized pari-mutual betting, it soon became “the most important racket in the underworld” (Peterson, 63).

Legalizing a lottery whets people’s appetites and stimulates more gambling. The new gamblers soon turn to illegal outlets, since they offer better odds, etc., because none of the money is reported to the IRS. James E. Ritchie, former director of the Presidential Commission on Gambling, said that legal gambling is a stimulus to illegal gambling (National Council on Compulsive Gambling).

“Michigan law enforcement officials concede that the Michigan State lottery and organized crime have vied for customers in the numbers game business for 11 years and in some respects, the competition has proved mutually beneficial . . Thus, the state government provides valuable services for the state’s criminals.”—Henderson, 26.

The Organized Crime Section of the U.S. Justice Department found that the rate of illegal gambling was three times higher in states with legal gambling than in states with no legal gambling (Ibid).

So legal gambling inevitably leads to illegal gambling: FBI director, William H. Webster, “knew of no situation in which legalized gambling was in place where we did not eventually have organized crime” (L. Braidfoot, Gambling, 86).

And illegal gambling inevitably leads to mob control: “There is no major bookmaking operation in the United States which operates without organized crime.”—Austin Mc­Gui­gan, Connecticut Chief State’s Attorney.

“Gamblers not only lose and borrow, they hide their losses and borrowing from others. Then, in order to recover these losses and repay loans, they spend more time gambling.”—H.R. Lesieur, Understanding Compulsive Gambling, 5.

Then they turn to crime to solve the problems which have resulted. A large share of white-collar crime (forgery, embezzlement, etc.) is the result of gambling losses. “Pathological gamblers commit 40 percent of all ‘white-collar crimes’ in this country.”—Henderson, 25.

“More than half of the nation’s pathological gamblers turn to illegal means of obtaining funds at some time, from bad checks to bogus claims to embezzlement” (National Council on Compulsive Gambling).

“State lotteries give public sanction and encouragement to an exploitative and wasteful life-style.”—Peterson, 116.

“Three years after the California lottery was introduced, Jacobs found an 11 percent increase in high-school students who gam­ble.”—Georgia Family, 1991.

Are there no winners? The only ones are those who never gamble. Read this, underline it, and share this entire sheet with a friend who needs it:

“Legal gambling promoters told us, ‘Here is a vice that occurs anyway. Let’s control it and tax it.’ But we never controlled it. What we did was encourage people to engage in the vice . . We convinced people to gamble who would never become involved in gambling. We created a whole new generation of gamblers.”—Austin McGuidan, Con­necti­­cut’s chief state’s attorney, quoted in  Henderson.

“The State lottery is immoral because it would make education and other pressing needs of the state dependent on the weakness rather than the strength of the people.”—The Los Angeles Times, quoted in Peterson, 73.

“No one knows the social costs of gambling or how many players will become addicted . . The states are experimenting with the minds of the people on a massive scale.”—J.I. Tabor, psychologist, in USA Today, August 14, 1989.

Immorality, crime, and degradation are rapidly taking over our nation. Surely, the end is near.


Curt Suplee calculates that a person is about seven times as likely to be killed by lightning as to win a million dollars in an instant lottery game (The New Yorker, December 19, 1988).

In a recent Pennsylvania lottery, the odds of winning were less likely than those of surviving eighty-eight rounds of Russian roulette.

You will always lose in gambling. The more you gamble, the more you will lose.

And you will not be the only loser; your family—and your children—will lose even more.


Gamblers Anonymous estimates there are about 8 million compulsive gamblers in the America (Sports Illustrated, March 19, 1986).

Gamblers Anonymous, itself, has 700 chapters throughout the nation, and is trying to help 12,000 compulsive gamblers at any one time.

It has been estimated that, every day, one out of eight people in New York City gambles (S. Winston and H. Harris, M.D., Nation of Gamblers, 4). Every year, the situation becomes worse.


“If history teaches us anything, a study of over 1,300 legal lotteries held in the United States proves . . they cost more than they brought in, if their total impact on society is reckoned.”—John Ezel, Fortune’s Marry Wheel.

Gamblers Anonymous reveals that 67 percent of its members’ total household debt is attributable to gambling. The impact of this vicious habit on the spouse is terrific.

On one hand, 61 percent of the compulsive gamblers reported striking, or throwing something at, their spouses.

On the other hand, there are the reactions of the spouses: Sixty-seven percent are harassed by creditors; 61 percent become violent toward the gambler; 78 percent suffer from insomnia; and 11 percent attempt suicide (National Council on Compulsive Gambling).

“The suicide rates for spouses of compulsive gamblers is 150 times higher than the national average.”—J.E. Henderson, State Lottery: The Absolute Worst Form of Legalized Gambling, 8.

Compulsive gamblers are five times as likely to have been married three or more times.”—Larry Braidfoot, Gambling, 55.

It is estimated that the average compulsive gambler affects four to ten other people.

This includes all his or her children. Those poor souls are actually gambling away their families.

The children are especially hurt. Of the children of compulsive gamblers, 25 percent exhibit behavioral or adjustment problems in school, use alcohol and other drugs, gamble, run away, or are arrested (National Council on Compulsive Gambling).

  After careful research, Harry Milt, in his book, Compulsive Gambling, a New York State-sponsored publication, wrote a description of the compulsive gambler:

“He is anxious, tense, and depressed and insists on immediate relief from psychic distress—relief that gambling provides. He is impulsive, volatile, and demands immediate gratification. He cannot tolerate boredom and the tedium of work that does not bring instant success and recognition. Instead, he resorts to the fantasy of quick success, recognition, and riches—a fantasy that gambling enables him to perpetuate.”

  Teenage gambling is increasing fast. In fact, it is attaining epidemic proportions. A survey of New Jersey high-school students revealed that 86 percent gamble at least once a year, and 32 percent at least once a week.

The gambling casinos, in Atlantic City, turn away over 200,000 minors from its doors, and another 35,000 are escorted from their floors. (Business Week, April 24, 1989).

In the early 1970s, Gamblers Anonymous had no teenage members, but by 1990 they comprised 20 percent of those who were coming to that organization for help in quiting gambling. Why are the states legalizing gambling! It only makes everything worse!

  The September 25, 1988 issue of the New York Times Magazine reports that about half of the nation’s pathological gamblers eventually move into crime in order to support their wagering habits. They fill out phony insurance claims, write bad checks, dabble in embezzlement, and do other forms of cheating and stealing.

That journal report goes on to state that over 30 percent of those in the nation’s prisons are pathological gamblers, and over half are imprisoned for gambling-related crimes.

If we could eliminate the liquor traffic, availability of hard drugs, and all gambling, we could close down most of our prisons.

Gerald Fulcher, of the Deleware Council on Gambling Problems, says that 86 percent of compulsive gamblers have committed felony crimes while pursuing their addiction. They just could not stop.