Sports & Outdoors
8/11/17 at 05:33 AM 0 Comments

Does Religion Curtail Gambling Addiction?

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Between the many casinos that dot the U.S and the presence of online casinos, the temptation to gamble isn’t getting any easier to avoid — especially with things like free bonuses at casinoroom.com. It seems there are few places to hide for people who feel they may easily succumb to the temptation to place a wager. Luckily for those who may be tempted, online gambling isn’t available throughout the US. It may be worth keeping an eye on what Attorney General Jeff Sessions plans to do with regards to online gambling, and the outdated Wire Act of 1961.

But two new studies are suggesting that religion can help deter gambling, an industry that tends to exert its greatest harm on society’s most vulnerable. In one national study, people who attended religious services tended to have the fewest problem gambling symptoms, such as borrowing money to gamble, or betting more than they could afford to lose.

A second study measured the different effects of faith on casino, lottery, and online betting. The research found that being part of religious life can reduce the urge to gamble — which is a good thing, as most religions frown upon the personal and social ills associated with gambling.

For example, the Quran teaches, “Satan’s plan is (but) to excite enmity and hatred between you, with intoxicants and gambling, and hinder you from the remembrance of God, and from prayer: will ye not then abstain?”

In 2012, the United Methodist Church declared that, “Gambling is a menace to society, deadly to the best interests of moral, social, economic and spiritual life.” And research has shown that the more people suffer, the easier it is to gamble — which certainly brings a sense of urgency to their message. Unfortunately, the negative effects of gambling appear to fall disproportionately on the poor and disadvantaged, who are more likely to see it as a way out of an impoverished lifestyle.

A more recent study revealed that people who live in disadvantaged neighborhoods were more likely to have the most gambling problems. However, researchers also found that people who frequently attend religious services had the fewest indicators of problem gambling. The study analyzed data from a national survey of nearly 3,000 adults from 2011 to 2013.

In a separate survey where 2000 adults over the age of 23 were analyzed, it was determined that no one religious approach worked best with regards to gambling prevention. But those who considered faith an important facet of their life did show increased constraint when it came to online gambling.

The researchers from both Notre Dame and the University of Arizona were in agreement over the following conclusions:

Spending time at congregations means less time for hanging out at a casino
Being integrated into the life of religious institutions means one is less likely to risk being seen as a gambler, and even the most secluded internet gambling appears to be curtailed

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