Letters to the Editor: Lottery isn’t logical for CI

Gambling has always been rife
amongst sailors and people on welfare with time on their hands who can least
afford it, so we can easily see why gambling has always been regarded as a
social evil. When society was steadier and stable, gambling was frowned on by
governments but demands of the public for more services and fewer taxes has
caused many governments to legalise gambling in several different forms.

There is no specific commandment in
the Bible against gambling, although gambling has an ancient origin and two
Roman soldiers played dice for our Lord’s garments. But the Bible does warn
against love of money; 1st Timothy 6.110: “The love of money is the root of all
sorts of injurious things.” The Bible warned against selfishness: Deuteronomy
5.21 and Corinthians 10.24. Also greed: 1st Corinthians 5.11. The Bible warns
against appeals to good luck: Isaiah 65.11.

Gambling is a gain at the expense
of others but the Bible encourages us to work with our hands, be faithful in
caring for what is entrusted to us; be generous, share with those in need;
Ephesians 4.28, Luke 16.10, Romans 12.13, 1st Timothy 6.18. Many Christians use
these revelations to condemn gambling as well as an abundance of evidence on
the Internet that demonstrates the misery to families gambling causes where the
bread winner is addicted to it.

With our many social challenges one
may ask why we even are bothering to have a discussion about whether or not the
legalisation of gambling in the Cayman Islands would be a curse or a blessing.
The answer is simple, people want government to do more, but not raise their
taxes and government does not have the luxury of the churches to deliver just
spiritual salvation to the people.

I am not a gambler and I doubt very
much I will become one if gambling is legalised in the Cayman Islands. But I
know of many people that could very easily become problem and pathological
gamblers so I have given serious considerations to the possible social
consequences, which could occur if a lottery was legalised and betting was
legally opened to the Caymanian people and the other members of our local
population.  

Cognizant of our need for increase
money to finance our wants and desires as a developing nation with chronic
social challenges, I have taken the position that legalized gambling, which
allows the participation of local residents, would be harmful and should not be
allowed. However, I hold the position that casino gambling restricted to
tourists, and in particular rich tourists, should be permitted in the area
known as the Queen’s Highway.

 It can be empirically proven that the lottery
would bring less money than most think. One reason is that we would be starting
up our national lottery at a time when many countries and states have already
well established theirs.  To launch our
national lottery in a manner that would make us competitive against the others
would demand too large an investment. I would not suggest handing the lottery
over to a private enterprise  because
they would want to make money on their investment and in hard times like these,
that might mean taking advantage of the locals that already have negative psychosocial
characteristics.

A lottery would only move the
already scarce money in circulation out of the hands of small business and into
to the hands of the government or worse, the private entity operating with a
government licence. I conclude therefore, that a lottery would hurt businesses
as well as the social fabric of Caymanian society and should not be allowed.

 On the other hand prestigious casino gambling
would lead to some new construction projects that would generate jobs, import
duties, work permit fees and finally fees for gambling licenses. Gambling is a
pastime of the rich who like to show off and they can pay for the social costs
of their habit if they become problem or pathological gamblers.

Frank McField

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