National lottery not the answer

At a time where there is a global recession and leaders worldwide are puzzled by how to get their countries through these tough times, Cayman is now playing with the idea of possibly legalizing gambling in the form of a national lottery.

The argument that is put forward as to why the Cayman Islands should legalize gambling, is the profitability of the current gambling industry called numbers that is already in operations within our islands. This industry is said to possibly generate funds of hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions of dollars on a monthly basis.

And it is because of the earnings that some people are suggesting that government should capitalize on the income from a national lottery.

However, the social implications of legalizing gambling will far outweigh any revenue that government can possibly receive. In fact, if we were to go this route, there would be a rise in government’s cost of welfare because of the greater number of people who would be in need of government’s assistance. We could possibly see an increase in bank foreclosures as well, because of people’s new found love (gambling) and the neglect of their financial responsibilities.

As a young Caymanian I say no to the proposal for a national lottery. I have seen this industry destroy families and put financial setbacks on countless persons. If we were to legalize gambling, we would be legalizing someone’s addiction. This would mean that there would be no fear in the hearts of those who buy numbers because of the absence of any legal punishment.

An addiction is an addiction, no matter what the addict is addicted to, whether it is drugs or gambling. An addict will go to whatever extent to get the product that they are addicted to.

People are so addicted to numbers in the Cayman Islands that they have created a new form of greeting which is ‘what number play today?’ when they are greeting their fellow numbers buyer. If we legalize gambling people will be spending more of their hard-earned money on the chance. Because of this new found freedom they will ignore their debts and other payments of other life necessities so much that it will negatively affect their lifestyle even more.

There have been families that have fallen apart because of gambling. I am aware of one situation of a spouse depleting the family’s savings because they were using the funds to feed their gambling addictions. I am pretty sure that in our country there are many more horror stories and many lives affected by a person’s own lust for gambling, or a family member’s lust for it. The result of introducing a national lottery may be that more children’s school fees will go unpaid; college funds will be depleted; houses foreclosed; cars repossessed; and lives destroyed.

I am sure that not everyone in the Cayman Islands who gambles is addicted as there are definitely some who merely flirt with gambling. But that too is dangerous. If you are one of those, please do your own analysis. Think of all the money you have spent on gambling over the years and now think of what you have to show for it. Your expenditure is more than the income you received from this hobby of gambling.

Right now we are only discussing a national lottery, but how soon will it be that we will be pushing for casinos and the approval of cruise ship passengers to gamble within our waters, all in the name of tourism.

How can someone truly say that they are for the Caymanian people when they want to legalize something that further enslaves them?

Cayman, I strongly encourage us to make our living the way God said we should. That is by the sweat of our brow, which is by hard work and determination in our respective fields. We must not allow greed to consume us. For we know the love of money is the root to all kinds of evil.

We must practice contentment and good stewardship with our country’s resources and our own as well. Cayman, there is no right way to do the wrong thing.

My prayer is that our eyes will be open and that God’s perfect will be done.