A pastor friend of mine in a neighboring town just south of the Idaho border told me once that the greatest issue they deal with is the “intoxicating drug of gambling.” His experience is that gambling is more addictive than most substance abuse addictions. That said; he argued that the overwhelming majority of those who had gone bust and seeking help when they show up at the church house looking for help are among the poor, elderly, desperate. Where the Lottery doesn’t require a citizen of Idaho to drive to an Indian reservation or cross the Idaho/Nevada border, it has the same level of intoxication as the slot machine.
Can “innocent” office pools, raffle tickets, fantasy sports leagues (for pay) be in the same league as the gaming table and the lottery? If one needs to sooth the conscience then I suppose so.
This is a serious issue that needs addressed. Our government is… wait for it… lying to her citizens.
The church must speak to this. But not in a “the sky is falling” kind of way. With care, compassion, and consideration of how she talks of it as much of what she says about it.
The addict who is looking for a way to sooth his conscience hears an elder make a joke about it, or a deacon talk about the time he won $100 just before a $99 bill was due is all he needs to hear to give his conscience permission to indulge.