Title:  "Gambling:  Don't Bet on It"
Author:  Dr. Rex M. Rogers
Publisher:  Kregel Publications

The Earl of Sandwich was a problem gambler who wouldn't leave the gambling table long enough to eat his dinner, so his servants had no choice but to develop something he could eat with one hand while he gambled with the other. Hence the birth of the sandwich as we know it today. This tidbit from the new Kregel Publications release, "Gambling: Don't Bet on It," demonstrates the degree to which gambling can alter a lifestyle, a personality, and in this case, even our eating habits.

Finally, we have the definitive book on gambling, better defined as, the game ... that turns into pain. It has become a religion where people faithfully worship at the Temple of Chance, genuflecting before The Wizard of Odds. It is a totally inclusive religion that welcomes outcasts and ne'er-do-wells, along with the rich and the powerful. As long as you have a few bucks in the pocket, it's an egalitarian community.

The big names caught in the grip of gambling's tentacles include sports figures, religious leaders, movie stars and government officials who have been sucked into this "sophisticated" lifestyle to their ruin.

This well-researched and thoroughly documented work by Dr. Rex. M. Rogers puts gambling in a perspective that has never been captured so effectively. It details a fascinating history ... and yes, they did cast lots in biblical times even though it is explained how that was not considered gambling.

The author reveals the very nature of gambling, its destructiveness, those who are behind it, and how the odds are skillfully rigged against the players so that the casino must make a profit at the player's expense (or more correctly stated, the player's "loss").

It is not by chance that the casino wins, as the public has been duped to believe. Common sense should tell you that those elaborate hotels and casinos were not built by you winning. To further hammer home that point, heed these words of wisdom from Steve Wynn: "If you want to make money in a casino, you'd better own it." And he should know. Wynn, who masterminded the gaming revolution in America, is also known as "The Casino King of Las Vegas." (See page 54 in Rogers' book.)

Every ploy and psychological device is employed to entice a "mark" (as the carnival refers to those who stroll down their midways) to part with their money. The reader will be amazed at how purposeful casinos are designed for that very purpose.

Hooking potential lifelong gamblers is the goal. Pit bosses and casino owners make special efforts to appeal to the young. The televised poker tournaments show young players making it all look chic to instill a desire in teenagers to take it up. And the new on-line poker tournaments make it easy and immediately accessible.

This is all carefully planned. The liquor industry has contrived to lure the very young to the habit of drinking cocktails by offering a kids' cocktail – called a "Shirley Temple" – which they enjoy while the adults sip their martinis. It is all designed to shape a habit. And remember years ago when beautiful young girls with short skirts came to the high schools to give out free samples of cigarettes?

Chapter Seven in this book, "Gambling as a Means of Fund-Raising," spotlights the contribution of the Church to gambling, which is disturbing. A nationwide survey conducted by the Barna Research Group in 2002 found that 27 percent of Evangelicals, to varying degrees, consider gambling morally acceptable.

You can say what you will about the Mormon Church, but they have taken a strong stand against gambling, and Utah is the one state where it is not permitted. The Mormons have given us a good example of the impact that united religious people can exercise in a democratic polity.