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Christian Book Reviews, Author Interviews, Excerpts

Readers Win Big With New Exposé on Gambling

  • Rev. Austin Miles AgapePress
  • 2005 12 Sep
Readers Win Big With New Exposé on Gambling

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.

Church-sponsored "casino nights" imply a stamp of approval for gambling from the highest of all authority. Then with the lottery being sponsored by our own state governments with ads and TV spots suggesting it is patriotic to play the lottery, gambling has become legitimized and accepted.

There was a time when gambling was considered outside the rules of law and decency. It was taboo. Not any more. It is legally here – it is everywhere, and its presence is growing. Poker tables are sold now in various family stores. Leading bookstores stock dozens of books, prominently displayed, that purportedly tells the reader how to win at gambling. It is all glamorized to bait a new mark.

Those who profit from gambling do not care that people are driven to bankruptcy, that families are devastated, that crime rates soar as gamblers begin to embezzle money to pay off gambling debts, and that the suicide rate for gamblers is staggering.

Readers will be astonished to learn how much money these game operators take in; and they will learn the real inside story of the Indian casinos, where the money goes and – most startling of all – how the public is being manipulated. This book should challenge everyone to re-think participating in so-called "charity gambling."

And let no one mislead you into thinking that a casino improves an area. This book provides solid documentation of what actually happens to cities like Atlantic City (and others) when casinos are brought in. It shows clearly how crime skyrockets in the wake of casino gambling, identifies the kinds of crime that casinos attract, and explains how much money actually goes to the community.

"Gambling: Don't Bet on It" shows that the so-called community and state "windfall" that results from legalized casino gambling is a delusion. It reveals that for every dollar gambling contributes in taxes, taxpayers spend at least three dollars fixing streets, increasing police patrols, and treating compulsive gamblers (page 82). The only financial "windfall" goes to the casino owners and certain politicians.

What is worse, the "powers that be" – those politicians and casino owners – have no conscience or even concern that they are aiding and abetting an addiction that is every bit as damaging as drugs, alcohol, and sex addition. Their only interest is bringing in the money.

Dr. Rogers' book cites scriptural authority of what our role as Christians should be. Is gambling a sin? (See Chapter 4.) Is it a disease? (See page 124.) What is the Catholic view? (Page 62.) And what does Pete Rose, whose gambling habit cost him a spot in the National Baseball Hall of Fame, say about the Church and gambling? (The answer is on page 145.)

Finally, suggestions on how to begin to defeat gambling and stop further growth of this sordid industry can be found in the last chapter. And this is not signing a petition or blast-faxing officials; this is solid, workable information.

And frankly, I think another way to slow down the spread of gambling is to get this book in the hands of as many people as possible – including those who have a gambling problem. Seeing the shocking truth about the gambling industry should cause even the most dedicated gambler to pause and think. Resources for gambling addiction recovery are listed.

Dr. Rex M. Rogers has done an outstanding job with this book.  Every pastor, chaplain, and counselor should have this book in their library for reference.

The history of gambling is a consistent record of broken promises, broken dreams, and broken lives. Indeed, gambling seems to thrive on destroyed lives. Without fail, gambling produces detrimental personal and social consequences.

© 2005 AgapePress.  All rights reserved.  Used with permission.