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See what's new with book lending at the Internet Archive. Uploaded by Alyson-Wieczorek on August 29, Search icon An illustration of a magnifying glass. User icon An illustration of a person's head and chest. Sign up Log in. Web icon An illustration of a computer application window Wayback Machine Texts icon An illustration of an open book.
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I think like a 10 year old. I am afraid to walk out of my house because the next munite, I will sneak into gambling machines. There, young people are crying asking how they became gamblers. The addiction is much more worst than drug addiction. I am now sick from diabetes because of nervousnes.
I shake a lot anf fear will take all my motions and senses out of my life. As a result of these, it affected me. I was diagonosed last August My mortgage is under threat. My car is about to be taking because I had it on higher purchase. Pastors have prayed for me. I was just chacking for spirit of ganbling and you poped up so, O started reading your conversation and it got me moved. Dear Brother, Your letter moved me too… You are the classical prodigal son.
Read your story in Luke The solution to your problem is simpler than you think. Like Namaan, you have tried the complicated and complex methods. Be simple like a child! By faith, try God and you can never lose! Come back to God, to Jesus, to the Cross. It is a decision of the will. If tears could help I could have told you to weep, but that will be a waste of time.
And you have wasted a lot of time already…Make up you mind to turn away from sin and come to the Cross. Jesus died because of your sin: gambling, stealing, lying, doubting, fear… etc. There is power in the Blood of Jesus!
Wonder working power! What you need is a miracle and God is waiting for you to ask for one! I am soo happy that we do not know face to face so that when the deliverance comes, it will be easy for you to give God all the glory! Do not fight the devil in your power! You only become weaker and more entangled! He knocks at your door and you shake with fear because he has defeated you so many times in the past…From now on, any time the devil will knock at your door, call on Jesus to be the one who will open it.
Let Jesus face the devil! Let the devil be surprised and run because he can never confront your Lord! I ask for mercy and forgiveness on his behalf. I ask that You come down and intervene in his life. He needs You! He needs Your deliverance! He needs a new beginning with You! I destroy your spell upon his life! I destroy any occult covenant made against his soul! I cause confusion in the spirit realm!
I plead the Blood of Jesus over your body, soul, spirit, marriage, family, business and ministry! Holy Spirit come! We vow to give God alone all the glory for the miracle of deliverance done today! In Jesus name Amen! I wait for a wonderful testimony from you! The power of sin is broken! Then you call upon Me and come and pray to Me and I will listen to you.
I jut believed now that I am truly conterminated by the useless spirit of gambling. All the time, I will vow to forget going insid those shops but once I drive out, I feel some forces draging me to go there. I am very honest in this naration. I will be weeping openly asking myself hundreds of questions why I am been draged like this. It is a terrible situation. I am really in trouble. How else can I be draged out of this trouble. Any other help or advice?
I know that the only person who can help ictor i Victor himself. I cannot give up on you for as long as you desire to be free. For as long as you cry out to God for help, there is hope! Pray for mercy! For now, I advice you to take your eyes from yourself and from your problem with gambling. You give it too much attention. Think of something else. Write me another letter telling me some good things God has done in your life, in spite of your struggles.
Some things you should know: gambling is not the sin unto death! Gambling may destroy many blessings, but it cannot take away your salvation as a child of God. Have peace about this! In your next letter please do not even mention the word g—bling. I have faith that God will help you be free. In Jesus name, amen! Dear Silvia My name is danny,I,m in the same situation,Gambling has destroy me Ana my business, family n children.
Dear Danny, have faith in God! Not in yourself or men, but in God! Pray and believe! Yoru situation is not worse than that of others. Nothing is impossible with God! I know that God loves you! I command you to leave this man and his family, and go away in the name of Jesus!
I destroy every occult spell placed on his mind, in the Name of Jesus! I destroy every evil covenant made by him or by others, in the name of Jesus! Holy Spirit come and reveal Jesus to him! Let him be truly born again and free indeed! Dear Heavenly Father, We vow to give You alone all the glory, for his healing, for his deliverance, for his victory!
God wants to use you! Be sure to give God all the glory! Dear Silvia, Thanks for your prayer. Indeed the Lord is good. Not only I have stopped gambling, now I am attending a Christian gambling rehabitation programme in a church. Praise God I am healed in Jesus Name. I also get encouragement from your posting and your programme in you tube.
Thank you Danny! You made me happy today! Continue to hold on Jesus. He is the only hope with have! He has started a good work in you. He shall complete it to the end! More wonderful testimonies shall follow! Keep in touch! All glory to God! Dear Pastor. Now my whole family is save , my life change full of Gods blessing after I stopped gambling. I decree that i do not have the issues of gambling for the word became flesh and dwellth among men for to be their light which shineth in darkness and the darkness comprehends it not.
Silvia i cannot thank you enough for this page for my life has taken a new path from now on. I was am a very good christian until i came to europe and gambling and the spirit of haste took over, blown all my life savings from home, and from work, insatiable desire to make quick money, never taking my eyes off the bookies anytime there was money in my pocket. However, there is no point fighting this habit as it will only give it more meaning than it is.
I will work after the wordings of the doctor as well to ignore it and refuse to mention it any more. I am an over comer and i can all things. Just like my tv box has many channels than i can watch. My desire today is that i will return to encourage as many as are fighting many bad habits in their lives. Peace in jesus name to our soul. Wonderful words of life!
I wish you the best, Eddy! God loves you! God is on your side! The Son of Man has made you free indeed! Jesus has helped millions like you! He will help you too! God bless you, your family and the work of your hands! I have lost so much to this sinful behavior. More than just money… I have lost the trust of my closest family and friends. I feel worthless. Thoughts of suicide are my constant companion. God please forgive me for turning my back on you. Dear Josh, thank you for your letter.
I see that gambling has done much damage to you. But gambling is not God. Come to God in prayer. Give your life to Christ! Ask for deliverance and healing. God is merciful! Use the pain you experience now as a reason to come back to Jesus! Join the rank of men and women who have received a new beginning in life because of Jesus Christ.
God will restore your testimony. Just vow to give Him all the glory for the victory. With God, all things are possible! You can do it! Thanks for sharing this article! God is with you! Your future is better than your past! In Jesus name,aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaamen! Silvia do you think there is any chance he can forgive me. Dear Humphrey, Thank you for your letter. I know that it was not easy to write it. But I am happy you did it. The first thing I want to tell you is that God loves you.
God wants to bless you. Give your life to Christ again. Pray to God! He listens to you! Open your mouth and confess all your sins to God audibly, and not just in your mind. It helps to listen to your own prayer! Throw yourself at the feet of Jesus and just ask for forgiveness and mercy. Trust Jesus to defend you. Put your trust in Him alone. He died on the Cross for your sins! Jesus Christ is able and willing to give you a new heart, a new destiny. Then ask the Holy Spirit to fill you.
Expect Him to enter your heart. You shall be filled with peace, joy and a new strength to live for God. Attend a good living church. Little by little, as the Holy Spirit leads, you shall change and become a new person. You are still alive. So there is hope that my words will challenge and encourage you to chose well this time. Keep in touch. Come back with good testimony.
I placed your letter on my wall on facebook. These are two comments that I hope will help you. I wait for you to come back with a great testimony. God provides money without sorrow. He is Jehovah Jireh! The devil gives money but sorrow follows. You chose the type of money you want. Yoru spirit still desires to worship God.
That is a sign that you are still alive spiritually. God will perfect that which concerns you. Trust in the Lord and take it one day at a time and God will see you through in Jesus name. Lovelynn Mogbeyiteren a mind troubling yet heart warming snatching of a precious soul from the coven of hell.
Ma God will help you to succeed in this Kingdom assignment. Well done Humphrey! If God can save me, a greater sinner than you, He can save you too! Not only to stop gambling, but to change you, to make you His servant. You shall serve God with all your heart! You shall taste of His goodness in ministry! To lose is easy. To gain is hard work.
Nothing of value comes easy. But the Holy Spirit will help you. Just stay close to Jesus! Pray in English and pray in tongues! God will help you! Your testimony is sure! Just believe in Jesus Christ! My name is desiah i live village next to Brits town n i believe im addicted to gambling in casinos im a born again christian n i realy to stop gambling ive prayed n fasted for many time but the addiction doesnt want to stop ive told my ps n some members of our church theyve prayed with me but the addiction never stop pls pray with me.
Please remember: God loves you! The Holy Spirit inside you is greater stronger than the evil spirit of gambling! It is not easy. But you need to fight, to do spiritual warfare! I pray that God will make you willing to pay the price to be set free! I bind the evil spirit of deception and lust! I plead the Blood of Jesus over you!
Your testimony shall encourage many! Only God can change a bad thing into a good thing! And God will do it! Mummy, I am from Nigeria. I am also a student. To be frank, i am deeply confused and tired about how life treats me. But the problems wants to make me change for bad. I have chronic anxiety disorder that has no cure. It makes me to be frighten always. People loves me so much that do help me. My head does not rest, always pounding. It affects my education. This problem wants to make me to be arrogant and bad but when I remember God and my parents I quickly change my mind.
I have prayed and prayed but nothing happened instead it will make it worse. Now what is on my mind is to start smoking and drinking alcohol so that can help me cop. Please pray for me. Help me on what to do. My name is Augustine. Thanks mummy. Dear Augustine, I am just seeing your letter.
How are you now? I hope that you are better. I pray for you that you will fulfill destiny! You are a man of God. You are not a slave of the devil. God forbid! Be filled with the Holy Spirit. Receive strength and wisdom to live well. In Jesus name ,amen! I placed your letter anonymously on my Facebook page.
These are some of the counsels sent to you. I hope you will be encouraged! Peterson C. Obi-Clifford First thing first, he needs to surrender to Jesus, and then be filled with the Holy Spirit. Only then he can worship God genuinely and get delivered. Dear lord I pray for this brother that your light will illuminate every darkness that is trying to over shadow! I pray the devil will not have his way in his life. Let your peace reign and rule in his mind, spirit ,soul and body as I sprinkle the blood of Jesus over him.
Thank you lord for all the glory is yours. He can read it daily. Benson Bezz if you are destine to be a great man in life, you have to take a strong desition. Use him as a testimony to every other addicts out there. And Lord we vow to give You alone all the Glory. Thank God I located this site. I am totally depressed and frustrated every day because of an obvious lifestyle playing gambling to get money.. I certainly will never go back to gambling lifestyle reading this. Deliver Him from the wicked bondage of gambling!
I command all the evil spirits of gambling and witchcraft to leave you and go away, in the name of Jesus! Holy Spirit please come and take control! I vow to give You alone all the glory for his healing, deliverance and new beginning! Fast even if until 12 noon daily until you feel the power of the Holy Spirit in you! Pray daily! Attend a good living church! Serve God in any way you can even if you clean the church…. I wish you well! Hi Silvia, please can you prey for me the gambling as the gambling demon got hold of me very strongly!
I am 38 and been gambling for over 20 years and I give up and started again so many times! This time the gambling demon as made me think I got a system to beat the bookies which works but don,t win very much! And the worst thing is what I do win is gambled on other things anyway such as roulette!
I am on the sick for depression and just don,t know what to do with my life and just want to go to bed and not wake up! Please prey for me. Dear Brother Steve, come to Jesus Christ!
Testimony as to the corruption of the police, rendered possible by the large profits of the bookmakers, and the great proportion of defaulting Post Office employees owing their ruin to the betting system, seriously supple- mented the main evidence. And the inquiries since set on foot at New Scotland Yard with regard to the Metropolitan Police give a pointed significance to the revelations made.
The gigantic monetary interest of the Post Office in the betting system appears in one item of the evidence of Mr. Lamb, the secretary, who said that in the previous Sep- tember the department had sent 82 telegraphists to the Doncaster race meeting, who dealt with 30, private telegrams of persons attending the races, besides , words of racing news for the press.
Betting used to be chiefly confined to the large! A Chairman of Committees of the House of Commons, in joining the society organised to deal with the evil, stated that his doing so was owing to finding that it had penetrated to the rustic neighbourhood adjoining his Devon- shire home. The strange increase in village tele- grams on race days has become very noticeable, and charges of tampering with messages to cheat bookmakers are becoming quite common.
As to the condition of the race-courses them- selves, from the ruffianism of the professional betting men and their hangers-on, interesting revelations were made before the close of the nineteenth century by the efforts of one of the great London daily newspapers. It is not needful to quote the com- ments drawn forth by the journals friendly to reform, as those in favour of the institution of the Turf are sufficiently pungent.
A few of these will suffice. Thus The Field, August 20, : — Those unacquainted with race-courses must stand aghast as they read the extraordinary tale of misdoing that is unfolded day by day. A body of miscreants who are prepared to stop at nothing in the way of violence so long as they attain their object, and care not the least if they leave their victim injured for life, as is sometimes the case.
The scum that formerly attended the prize-ring has turned its attention to the most promising substitute. It depends entirely upon the efficiency and vigilance of the management and those it employs by way of guardians, whether or not the rings are invaded by those who have only to be numerically strong enough to do as they please with the respect- able element. The meeting at Epsom is then criticised, but we must devote our little space to the following, also from TJie Field : — The goings-on at Brighton, both on the course and in the town, have reached such a pitch that we have dis- continued sending a representative to report the racing.
This has been the happy hunting-ground of the thief for very many years, but we doubt if matters ever reached the pitch they did this year, the gangs of pickpockets working with such impunity that an inoffensive visitor was bludgeoned on the head actually in the very entrance to Tattersall's ring. Small wonder, then, when an act like this can be fearlessly perpetrated at an aristocratic gathering like Goodwood, that it should be repeated elsewhere.
Here is an extract from one of the letters which appeared at the time : — Words fail to convey any idea of the ruffianism, robbers, and welshing which took place at the so-called Grand Stand at Alexandra Park on Saturday last. There were from two to three hundred organised pro- fessional welshers, thieves, and bullies, with few exceptions well known to the officials and police and even to an occasional race-goer like myself.
Woe to the unfortunate individual who insisted on the payment of a bet — a split skull dealt from behind, a scuffle, and robbery. I have no hesitation in saying that the life of every man and woman in that enclosure was absolutely at the mercy of this organised and desperate gang, and a feeling of fear paralysed the stoutest of us. There were scores of such public communica- tions. One racing correspondent of a large provincial paper stated that he should never think of going to the course without a revolver in his pocket.
Of course the so-called sporting and publicans' papers tried to make out that these letters were not genuine, or were exaggerated, but without exception they bear on their face evidence of their reality. We may be allowed to quote the following reflections, which witness to the existence of this ruffianly condition of the Turf, from Mr.
The sight of it fills me with loathing. It brings to my mind that placard I saw at a station in Surrey a year or two ago, advertising certain races in the neighbourhood. Here is the poster as I copied it into my notebook : — " Engaged by the Executive to ensure order and com- fort to the public attending the meeting : 1 4 detectives racing , 15 detectives Scotland Yard , 7 police inspectors, 9 police sergeants, 76 police, and a super- numerary contingent of specially selected men from the Army Reserve and Corps of Commissionaires.
The above force will be employed solely for the purpose of maintaining order and excluding bad characters, etc. They will have the assistance also of a strong force of the Surrey Constabulary. Every one knows that horse-racing is carried on mainly for the delight and profit of fools, ruffians, and thieves. For a good insight from a bookmaker's point of view of the " sport of kings " the reader is referred to Sixty Years on the Turf, by George Hodgman.
Bad as all this is, the continued permission of existence to these scores of peripatetic gambling hells would be an isolated evil were it not in- extricably mixed up indirectly with the dailyjjfe of the masses of the population, who very seldom or never visit the courses. But these baneful institu- tions and the gambling clubs are fed by the life- blood of the people, whose hard-earned money flows by the thousand retail conduits of street and factory bookmakers to these gambling marts and clearing houses.
It is not only where working men and women gather in numbers, but in the home, amongst domestic servants of both sexes, in the shop, the office, on the journey, in educational establishments, even in the Sunday school and the juvenile social club and class, that betting is discovered.
A lady who devotes her life to the young, and lives among them in a poor part of London, says that she has very little difficulty about drink amongst the youths, but hardly dare attack the betting system- atically for fear of losing her proteges.
She found one lad actually receiving telegrams from France during the Continental racing season. An alarming development, for those who travel by rail and who does not? Any one i. IajJ w ho, iik e the writer, has been in a railway collision, will vividly appreciate this. The crunch of the carriages, the awful succeeding moment between life and death, are among the ills that mortality is heir to in modern times, and are borne with more or less philosophy, to some extent perhaps depend- ing upon the preveutibility of the cause.
But it will be well for railway directors, many of whom provide special facilities for the race-course gamesters all through the summer, to the inconvenience of the ordinary traffic, and wink at the gambling which goes on in their carriages however illegal, to draw the line at signal-boxes being made places under the Act and their signalmen being bookmakers.
The conviction recently of a signalman for book- making at Knaresborough is by no means a solitary instance. In reporting to the Board of Trade on the North British Eailway collision at Lochmill siding, Major Pringle states that just before it occurred there were five persons in the signal-box playing games.
There are reasons to fear that there are bookmakers' agents in many of the large railway stations, carrying on their regular nefarious business with the staffs, and affecting the comfort and safety of the public. As to the race-course ruffians, whose patronage is so carefully nursed, they have been known to descend from race trains and relieve refreshment rooms of the provisions without payment, so that it is now the practice in some places to clear them of their contents before the advent of these traffic-cherished caravans.
All sections of society are more or less corrupted by the gambling habits prevalent, and particularly by the professional betting system. In the Civil Service the evil has spread most seriously in the Post Office and Police departments, but is not confined to them.
Information having been sent to the writer of this paper that a clerk in a Government office was using the public stationery and other conveniences to issue betting lists from that office, personal application was made to the principal of the establishment, who investi- gated the matter, found the allegation to be correct, and promptly put a stop to the proceeding.
Upon another occasion it was discovered that two clerks were hired to spend their two-day holiday from Civil Service work by the betting men financially interested in a race meeting, who employed them in taking the entrance money to the rings. The published opinions of such men as Field- Marshal Sir George White, General Wavell, Lord Charles Beresford, Admiral Kawson, and others bear eloquent testimony to the fact that the mili- tant Services are suffering from the immunity obtained by professional gamesters, owing to the lax application of our existing laws and the need for others.
Many items of information, both of a private and public nature, are alarmingly sug- gestive of such considerations. A single instance of the latter may be found space for. One of the witnesses before the Select Committee of the House of Lords was an officer commanding a battalion of the Scots Guards, and he gave evidence of the fact that he was a sort of chairman of a betting com- mittee, the go-between of the Jockey Club and Tattersall's, upon which he spent a considerable portion of his time, the principal duty apparently being to settle betting squabbles between members of the betting clubs and the professional betting men.
If this is not considered infra dig. His colleagues upon this important tribunal included, he said, a representa- tive of the Ring and two well-known commission agents, the trade alias for bookmakers. We have no hesitation in saying that the Navy is as badly tainted, not only upon the evidence of officers whom we have mentioned and others, but on information from different sources.
He was dismissed the Service and suffered a year's imprisonment. In Rear- Admiral Henderson, Superintendent of Devonport Dockyard, discovered that betting was being systematically carried on, and published an order notifying the discharge of a skilled labourer of nineteen years' service. Professional betting is not confined to horse- racing. Lists are habitually issued in connection with other sports, particularly football. It is gambling which causes the rush for the football editions of the half-penny journals, and, notwith- standing the efforts made by some of its principal patrons, leading officials of the football world have been found taking part in the disreputable gambling arrangements of sporting newspapers.
Gambling Cards In miscellaneous gambling, cards, harmless in themselves, are still prominent. The game of Bridge amongst the wealthier classes is responsible for reproducing many of the vicious situations we read of in the chronicles of our forefathers. While Queen Victoria was lying dead, one very prominent female society leader could not be got to abstain from this form of gambling even for a brief space.
At the aristocratic mansion over which she presides guests must play. One young man of moderate income suggested that his means were quite unequal to such hazards as the hostess and her friends were accustomed to, but he was given to understand that he could play or leave. He unhappily chose the former alternative, and in a few hours lost half-a- year's income. There are hundreds of smaller imitators of this woman, whose husband ranks high in the political world.
The disgusting position is frequently created of young girls, not discouraged from gambling by their parents, losing money which they have difficulty in paying to men with whom they are not otherwise well acquainted. Amongst the poor, where horse-race betting does not prevail, cards, to which juveniles are largely taking, as well as automatic machine gambling, are often made the vehicle for disposing of their small means.
No stock passes. It is merely gambling in the rise or fall for differences. Here, as else- where, neglect, for which the whole nation is to blame, has allowed matters to get into a groove, and great difficulty will be found in getting out of it. In another chapter suggestions are made, and if the proposed remedy is necessarily a serious one for those whose business is to a great extent founded upon an illegitimate basis, some of them at least feel that the present system is indefensible, and the following pathetic extracts from a letter written by a member of a leading Stock Exchange firm merely express the conscientious misgivings of the best class of men there — misgivings which are more 42 BETTING AND GAMBLING or less shared by all but the hardened gamblers of the establishment : — The evils of speculation, in common with many more fellows here, I much deplore ; but at the same time, when three-fourths of the business is of that nature, what is the alternative to most Stock Exchange men 1 Either starvation or gaining a livelihood by means which one's conscience tells you to be wrong ; and human nature is not proof against the temptation.
That is the naked truth, not to mince matters ; and God knows it is an awful fact, to those who give any thought to these things. I am perfectly certain that the majority of Stock Exchange men loathe the business, and would be glad to get out of it. The subject is never absent from my mind. I have felt in a great strait over it for years. God grant that I may get out of it somehow ; but how, He only knows. It seems queer to write like this to a stranger, but you have struck such a chord of sympathy that it is a relief to unbosom one's mind.
The above remarks also apply to the produce and metal exchanges. The misery caused in Lanca- shire and elsewhere by American gamblers cornering the cotton market is calling the attention of mer- chants to this branch of the subject, and with a little goodwill on the part of the Governments con- cerned there should be no insuperable difficulty in framing regulations which will greatly hamper, if not destroy, the possibility in future of such proceedings.
Individual and family ruin from it in all classes is frequent ; and there are thousands of cases stopping short of this, but entailing, besides material loss and suffering, the lowering of the moral and mental nature, thus affecting the intellectual and religious fibre of the people.
But the evil to the nation does not stop here. Until lately, at all events, the highest Courts of Law, as well as the lower ones, did not escape the indirect taint, and even now politicians and office-holders, who would be ostracised in Japan, continue to allow themselves, and very often their households, to be deeply involved in gambling transactions in their homes, their clubs, and with low practitioners of the race -course ring, their children in numberless cases copying the evil habit.
The public services are corrupted, particularly the Police and the Post Office, the latter institution rendering many unnecessary services to the gambling system, in the profits of which it largely shares, and not making the special efforts which we see in the United States and else- where to hamper professional gambling.
The nation 44 BETTING AND GAMBLING f as a whole is, it may be hoped, too healthy in a moral sense to allow a further continuance of this social plague without a great effort to grapple with it; but the bitter experience of the nineteenth century demonstrates how futile it would be to rely solely, or even to any great extent, upon the unaided attempts of educational persuasion to root it out. These, indeed, must not be relaxed, they must be increased and multiplied, and should be supplemented by more extensive and systematic endeavours, aiming at improved conditions of life for the poor, and further amelioration of health, and opportunities for recreation ; but betting and gambling should also be made, as they can be made, by amended and better applied legal regulations, far less profitable, and more difficult, dangerous, and disgraceful, whether for the rich or the needy.
There need be no real interference with the liberty of the subject ; for that liberty, regarded in a true light, should not confer any licence to trade upon the ignorance, weakness, or folly of others, which is the characteristic of all gamesters, and not least of those belonging to the professional betting system. Wilson Nothing is easier than to heap abuse upon the Stock Exchange and to place to its debit every crime of which the gambler can be guilty.
And all the abuse would have a sediment of truth beneath it, for infinite are the evils that have grown up and spread their roots far and wide through all strata of modern society since the day when dealing in stocks and shares first became a passion or a habit. True as this is, and numberless as may be the demoralising consequences of indulgence in the habit of stock and share " bulling " and " bearing," it would be none the less false and unjust to lay upon Stock Exchanges and their members all, or even half, the blame for the moral undermining of society that may ensue from subjection to the hazards of the play.
In many of its functions the Stock Exchange has always done admirable service to civilised mankind, and the great majority of the members of all such institutions are men as upright, as humane and high-principled as could be found among any body of merchants in the world. From the point of view, however, of the highest ideal of national morality, it is unquestionable that the trade of the stockbroker is of tainted origin.
In this country the business began in an organised sense when William III. We must, however, in most things take the world as we find it, and in spite of my hatred of all debts, and of my belief that debt never paid off in the long run ruins the debtor, whether individual or state, it has to be admitted that igood of many kinds Jcame out of evil in this instance.
Imagine what might have happened if the banker's utilitarian fiction, which treated the symbols or book entries of moneys spent in wars as so much realised wealth, capable of being utilised to call still more wealth into existence, had never been allowed to have free play.
The nation would have perished beneath the dead weight of its obligations. Called upon to find the interests of the debts imposed upon it, out of resources suffering continual depletion, unstimulated by any new capital beyond what the minority might or might not have been able to furnish at the moment out of its savings, it would have sunk lower and lower in poverty, until its condition might have become one of hopeless anarchy.
The banker and the stock-jobber between them saved England from that fate — unconsciously, perhaps, but they none the less saved it. Their operations often exhibited a kind of inverted, topsy-turvy communism. Gravely treating the promises to pay emitted by governments of all degrees of irre- sponsibility as the inviolable obligations of the people at large, they used these promises and symbols of wealth already dissipated as the bases on which to rest further credits granted to joint- stock enterprises — to South Sea bubbles no doubt, but also to East India companies, Hudson Bay com- panies, mining companies, canal companies, adven- tures of all kinds, some of which outlived the manias amid which they came into existence, and survive in one form or another to this hour.
Throughout modern history, the part played by debt in engender- 48 BETTING AND GAMBLING ing credit, in calling capital into existence as it were out of nothing, and providing the means to carry out great undertakings by whose completion alone could the credit-born capital become living and real, has been such as to transform the world, girdle and seam it with railways, bind it together by electric cables, and cover its oceans with ships almost as sure and safe in their comings and goings as a suburban railway train.
In ways almost infinite, credit was created to represent assets not yet in being ; and, by putting in pawn of previously exist- ing debts, and through the intermediary of banks, it drew out hoards from the keeping of the thrifty. Dead capital — capital spent — came to life again as it were, anoTwas a potent agent for the advancement of mankind in civilisation. By this means modern nations not only stimulated their manufacturing industries, awoke and encouraged inventiveness, spread their productions over the whole world, but developed cities at home and made life bearable for aggregates of population whose healthy existence would have been impossible under the conditions prevalent, say, at the close of the Napoleonic wars and for long after.
Many other forces doubtless were at work so far as England alone is concerned — wealth drawn from India, the tireless energy of the race, the backward- ness of other nations — but it was in no small measure the impetus supplied by those portions of our otherwise intolerable National Debt, utilised as a means of creating credit through our banks, that the resources and energies of the nation, and such STOCK EXCHANGE GAMBLING 49 forces as it drew from the yearly accretions of its savings, the ever-increasing fruition of its accom- plished enterprises, were given full scope.
In this development the Stock Exchange played a leading part. Without it as intermediary, little pro gress could have been made. Human nature rather than the share market must therefore be blamed for the manias and delirious gambling by which every step in the triumph of man over the forces of nature, of time and space, has been accompanied. The younger generation does not remember the days of the railway mania, when men went demented over wild and hopeless -looking projects, and rushed worthless shares to fantastic premiums in the height of the disease ; but amid that insanity the warp and woof of our present network of roads came into being.
There were enormous losses inflicted upon the multitude by the collapse, the always inevitable collapse ; but good work was none the less done, progress made. Again, I may say, had the masses of mankind been capable of obeying high ideals, all this could have been avoided.
It is possible to conceive a state governed by a spirit of mutual help and wholesome brotherliness in citizenship, wherein all would have been united according to their means to build these new iron highways for the good of the whole community, not for private gain ; but it is vanity to think thoughts like these, men being what they are. The one effective force that could be relied on to attract the necessary capital to any enterprise is cupidity in one degree or another, the desire for individual profit.
I will only cite some characteristics as ground for suggestions towards the abatement of admitted evils. Their eradication, I fear, is beyond hope until the spirit of mankind changes and its ideals. Certain characteristics stand out prominently to distinguish Stock Exchange gambling of the present day from that prevalent before the first Limited Liability Act, that of , came into force.
Previous to that date gambling in stocks had been confined to a limited class of the wealthy, whether aristocratic or professional — to the narrow, plutocratic classes and their immediate flunkies and hangers-on ; but after the Limited Liability Act of gave definite form to this kind of joint-stock enterprise and enlarged the field of operations, speculation gradually became the fashion with classes of people hitherto unfamiliar with it-, and the fascinations of the play attracted wider and ever-widening circles of society.
Nowadays, shares of 5 s. Even when such share rises to five, ten, or twenty times its nominal value, it still seems easy, tempts the multitude more perhaps than when it may be at a discount, and there are such facilities for indulgence in the passion to make money with- out effort, with " no risk at all," as the bucket-shop puffer is ever iterating.
The market gives every facility, is ready to lend its means to the player, to smooth the field for him at the start. He need not pay for the shares he buys. The dealer and broker will " carry " them for him fortnight after fortnight, as each market " settlement " comes round, lending the money at handsome rates of interest, and charging an infinitesimal commission, or, per- haps, no commission at all, for performing this neces- sary operation.
Each fortnight, as the Stock Ex- change account comes round, he pockets his " differ- ence," the sum left over as product of the advance in price after all charges have been met, and thinks himself on the high road to affluence. Initial success inflames the appetite, fresh purchases are made, probably before the earlier speculations are closed, and while the profits already reaped by the earlier gambles are being spent as fast as received.
By and by reaction comes, losses accrue, expressed in " differences " to be paid instead of received, and the end is usually misery for years, for a lifetime, or sudden and irretrievable ruin. Slowly, and amid infinite suffering, this harvest of the South African, the Kaffir market insanity is now being reaped, as that of more than one Australasian and American rage of speculative abandon has been again and again during the present generation.
Is the disease thus indicated incurable — a dis- ease whose course is invariable, whose end is profit, wealth perhaps, to one in a quarter of a million among the players, and to all the others various gradations of loss, from a few pounds disbursed in exchange for wisdom-fraught experience to complete ruin and social degradation? Yes, I believe it to be incurable, especially in a society constructed with such all-pervading artificiality as ours. One's first impulse is to cast unmitigated censure upon the gambler ; but that also would be unjust.
Constituted, moreover, as the social economy of modern England is, the great bulk of our fellow-citizens have no assured foothold in the land of their birth. They toil with- out hope, and see only privation or absolute want at the end of the day's work — be it long, be it short. Essentially we are a nation of nomads, uprooted from the soil, and with no assured hold on the means of existence, speaking of the mass, beyond what the weekly wage or yearly salary fur- nishes.
What more natural, one may say inevitable, than that this divorcement should generate in a vigorous race a hunger after security, a craving for some refuge, some shield against the uncertainties of existence, a way of escape, perhaps, from the irksomeness of individual surroundings, the tyranny of a hard taskmaster, the caprices of employers, whose power over all beneath them is too often almost that of life and death.
Others, again, are moved merely by vanity, by false standards of social wellbeing, by jealous emulation of those who may seem richer than they are, for is not the possession of money our one standard of " wealth " and wellbeing? A habit is established, and may become a craze, a passion, a lust that in time will devour all that is best in the heart and intellect.
Such seems to me a fair summary of the psycho- logy of gambling, and I do not see how its ravages are to be stayed, the disease eliminated from society, without radical changes in its structure implying loss of privilege and an abatement of class selfish- ness by the few who now stand apart, the nation's drones and hive-harriers, or without the cultivation of higher ideals than those implied in mere purse- proud social emulation.
And of one thing I am sure ; the London Stock Exchange can do little or nothing to check the ravages of this social canker, nothing effectual can be done in any Stock Exchange of them all. To expect bodies of men, associated together for purposes of gain, in the conduct of their daily business to lay down self-denying rules for their conduct, is not merely unwise but futile. The more the organised groups of stock-jobbers and brokers doing business at particular centres called Stock Exchanges hemmed themselves in by restric- tions established with a view to limit the facilities for play, for buying and selling, the more such busi- ness would be thrown into the hands of irrespon- sible outsiders, most, if not all, of whom are mere vultures and cormorants, devourers of the substance of all who fall into their hands.
Often when the London Stock Exchange, by far the most powerful and best organ- ised institution of the kind in the world, has attempted to bar the way to the mere speculator in certain directions it has been defeated. It refused many years ago to sanction dealings before allot- ment, that is to say, purchases and sales of a security before it was really in the hands of the market or the public. The dealings went on all the same, until the liberty had to be restored. Unto this hour many members of the "House," as the Stock Exchange is affectionately called by its members, set their faces against gambling in " options " — against, that is, the system of play by which a speculator puts down so much money, parts with it for good, in exchange for the right to " call " for the delivery, or to give delivery, of a certain specified amount of a particular security — to " put," the slang is — on a certain future day at a price fixed when the transaction is entered into.
But this kind of pure betting business grows every year all the same, and is now of a magnitude an Act of Parliament could hardly do much to lessen. Against the force of human passions no Stock Exchange can hope to war with success, and I do not believe that any such body should be asked to impose self: denying ordinances upon itself, the only effect of which would be to drive the business away from it into channels more fertile still in ruin.
But if there is no root and branch remedy, there must be some palliatives. It should be possible to do this, and with goodwill something might be done even by the Stock Exchange. Take as example the habit now prevalent of introducing new securities of all kinds on the market without the preliminary of a prospectus.
This habit has received a great stimulus from the latest attempts at company law reform, in virtue of which the liability of directors for state- ments in prospectus has been sensibly increased. To escape that risk, new companies are now launched without preliminary statements of any sort.
Certain members of the Stock Exchange, acting in concert with the schemers outside by whom they are em- ployed, begin to buy and sell shares in an under- taking whose very name may be until that moment unknown everywhere, and about which neither market nor public has any information whatever. By arrangements with the financial press, whose charges for such services are most remunerative, quotations representing these unreal sales and pur- chases are daily and weekly paraded before the public, often accompanied by vague general state- ments regarding the wonderful wealth this particular share represents.
Attracted in this way, the ignor- ant presently begin to itch to take a hand in the game, and gradually, if times are favourable and what the contemptuous broker calls the "fool public " is " on the feed," quite a lively market arises, whose end is the stripping of the outsiders by those who laid the snare. All that the public may have left is worthless shares. Dozens, one may say scores, of African and other swindles of this sort have been perpetrated during recent times of excitement, and now and then the Stock Exchange itself has been cheated.
Surely it ought to require no great amount of self-denial on the part of this body to stop peremptorily all impostures conceived and carried out after this fashion. It need only refuse to grant a settlement of bargains in any share thus foisted upon the public until the whole of the facts relating to it are laid before its committee, and quotations in the official list ought never to be granted to any company until the whole facts regarding it have been properly laid before the public.
In other words, I think nothing but good could arise even to the market were the Stock Exchange to enact a rule forbidding the introduction of any security on its floor by the members until full information had been published by those responsible for its inception, whether by prospectus or by properly authenticated and signed declara- tions.
Another reform within the power of the Stock Exchange that might do much good would be the prevention of dealings in shares that represent goodwill, and therefore, as a rule, merely the plunder of promoters. Often, as it is, vendors' shares are not "good delivery" until after a certain time has elapsed.
The plunderings of the Cecil Ehodeses, Whitaker Wrights, Hooleys, and the like would in this way be circumscribed, although by no means stopped. Unhappily, as I hold, the mischief cannot be entirely stopped until the spirit of the nation changes. Once the habit of " bulling " and " bearing " — of buying more than one can pay for or of selling what one does not possess — lays hold of a man, the disease is too often incurable.
When the victim suffers loss — gets caught by the market, as he would put it — he doubtless suffers more or less acute mental agony according to his character, the traditions of honour- able conduct he may possess, or the extent of his risk. Then his mood becomes that of the old rhyme : " When the devil was sick, the devil a monk would be. But let the danger pass, the threatened loss become a profit, and all is for- gotten when next temptation comes. The player resumes the game, and, on a " tip " from some interested source, sells a "bear," in the hope of robbing the unknown counter player through a fall in the price that will enable him to buy back at a profit and pocket the difference drawn out of such counter player's resources.
Morally, I may say, there is not an atom of difference in the character of these two operations, unless it be found in the fact that the " bear," the speculative seller, is on the average a man of wider intelligence than the " bull. The publication of such bad news becomes the signal for those who have sold what they do not possess to rush into the market and repurchase. This operation often causes prices to advance on bad news, and always steadies the market against dis- turbing influences, to the great benefit of the real holder, who is thus enabled to sell at a smaller loss than would otherwise be possible.
Bad news on an over-bought account — on a market, that is, where the great majority of the players are holding securities for the rise on borrowed money — always brings disaster. From this point of view, the " bear " is much more useful to the genuine investor than his opponent ; but morally there is nothing to choose, so far as the individual operator is concerned, between the two methods of speculating.
It is in their power to cut their losses always when such begin to accrue, and many amongst them close the day with their books " even. They are mere traders, whose judgment of the market tendencies guides them in taking the one course or the other for the day only. It is altogether different, however, for the outsider, the man amongst the public, whether he resides in the City, or at Land's End, or in Connemara. Such cannot operate with rapidity, and usually act upon tips and prepossessions, which in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred prove fatal to their peace of mind and injurious to their pocket.
Is it, then, impossible to induce the multitude amongst the people to abandon this method of hunt- ing after wealth without labour, for that is our only hope? A change in the spirit of the people, a higher sense of self-respect, a deeper regard for the community of interests which would lead a man to treat his neighbour as a man to be helped, not injured, would do more to put an end to this modern habit than any number of rules and regulations.
It has been suggested that gambling could be almost entirely put an end to were sellers of shares to be compelled to hand in the name of the possessor, or the numbers of bonds where bonds are sold. Undoubtedly this would stop every kind of free- handed gambling, except by way of options ; but could any such regulation be established that would apply to the irresponsible dealings of the outside gambler through bucket-shops?
I think not. Take the example of Bank shares. It is almost forgotten nowadays that, as a consequence of the banking panic of , an Act, known as Leeman's Act, from the name of the man by whom it was introduced and carried through Parliament, effectu- ally stopped speculative dealing in Bank shares. These are now consequently exclusively an invest- ment security.
They cannot be sold without giving the numbers of the shares and the name of the holder out of whose possession the shares are to come. There is consequently never any " bear " ac- count, that is to say, any account open in unspecified shares sold for the fall, in Bank shares, and un- questionably this immunity from attack has been most valuable in checking Bank scares when credit has become strained. But what would happen supposing a crisis arose through the failure of one or two important Banks?
Would it be possible for frightened shareholders to escape their liability and sell out before the crisis became acute? No, it would not. The shares would simply be unsaleable on any terms ; there would be no market for them at all, and each individual holder would be compelled to face his loss without chance of escape. From a moral point of view this may be all right — I am not objecting — but undoubtedly the acuteness of the disaster would be concentrated to a cruel and most ruinous extent upon the then existing groups of Bank shareholders.
This at once stopped speculative selling, but I doubt whether the consequence was not to weaken the market and to render the credit of Eussia suspect amongst the multitude who, speculatively or otherwise, held this particular national debt. At any rate, the rule was very soon abandoned, and dealings resumed on the old footing.
In Germany a number of restrictions and vexatious taxes have been placed upon Bourse transactions, especially those of a speculative kind, without increasing the health of the market or really diminishing the amount of gambling done. The business is transferred to other markets, very largely to London — that is all. Again, it may be said that the English Govern- ment put an end to one form of gambling, still prevalent on the Continent, with complete success.
Lotteries were put down by Act of Parliament, and the trade of the lottery -ticket jobber summarily stopped. That is true enough, but there is no analogy between a step of this kind and stopping gambling in actually existing securities. If lottery loans themselves had not been discontinued, it would have been impossible for any Government to stop the pernicious dealing in lottery tickets. An example of legislative powerlessness has been furnished by recent efforts at joint- stock company law amendment.
The Act of , which was going to do so much to purify the atmosphere and limit the ravages of the unscrupulous promoter and his " front page " guinea-pigs, has really increased the mischief, as I have already pointed out. Gam- bling might be diminished were the State to increase the taxes upon speculative transactions, although I am doubtful ; but any such increase would rather tend to emphasise the absurdity of the Gaming Acts.
Through these Acts it is possible now for any speculator to repudiate his obligations, and cases frequently arise in the Law Courts where losses are in this way repudiated. Possibly the law might be able to put down outside speculative agencies, which do an incalcul- able amount of mischief, and yet even there diffi- culties stand in the way.
Are newspapers to be forbidden to insert the advertisements of these "bucket-shops"? Will the Post Office refuse to transmit their circulars? How far is it legitimate or safe, let alone wise, for the State to interfere in order to protect the fool from the consequences of his own folly? The remedy must come, I repeat, from the people themselves : from better instruction, from healthier views of what constitutes true success and respect- ability.
There is an emulation in extravagance which has spread widely through all classes of society during the past two generations, and has now culminated in a vicious recklessness that does more to whet the appetite for gambling of all kinds than anything else. We do not need to go so far : society in the West End of London is quite sufficient for illustration. The habits there have grown in extravagance within my time to a degree almost impossible to realise ; and most people embraced in this word " society," as well as thousands who are pressing to get within the magic circle, live beyond their means, struggle to eke out their inadequate incomes — inadequate through the standard set up by gambling on the Stock Exchange, often by ruining themselves.
Why cannot people exercise some moral re- straint, or at least a trifle of common-sense? No system of gambling in existence treats the public with absolute fair play. The sharper is everywhere, but far less frequently in evidence on the Stock Exchange than anywhere else. According to the character of that security, he will pay from 25s. This charge is really a very small payment for the work done — would be quite inadequate payment at its highest, did the market transact investment business alone.
That money, however, is so much out of pocket at the start to be set against expected profit. Then there is what is called the jobber's "turn. He buys at one price and sells at another, the difference being his immediate limit of profit. Assume such difference to be merely half -a- crown per cent, and the stock bought will cost the outside buyer 50s. The security purchased will therefore have to rise 5 s. If the profit, however, does not come along within a fortnight or thereby, arrangements have to be made to carry the transaction forward to a new account, as it is called.
This involves interest on the money, which cannot, on an average, be less than 5 per cent per annum, or roughly another 50 s. Let a speculative purchase be carried on in this way for a few months, and it will become evident to every- body that a very considerable rise must occur before the purchaser is able to sell at a profit after meeting all charges.
If people would reflect in this way, and make calculations before they plunged into a gambling transaction of the sort, they would surely often hold their hands. With sales for the fall — sales of what a man does not possess — it is often very much worse, especially if a man has sold a share or stock on which dividends accrue from time to time.
He may be saved the cost of interest on money lent to him, but has to pay the dividend upon the stock he sold each time that one is declared ; and should selling for the fall have been large enough to exceed the supply of shares available for lending purposes, he may be called upon to pay a fine for failing to deliver what he sold, and each fortnight the carry- over charges have to be deducted from the price at which he sold, together with dividends when they come, and fines for non-delivery when the " bear " is more or less " cornered.
We shall require a world-enveloping credit cata- clysm to lift mankind out of its present vicious ruts on to a higher, a more altruistic moral plat- form. Betting has so long been associated with men that it is probable there are still many people who have never considered the evil in its relation to women. The attention of those, however, who have given some thought to the problem of betting and gam- bling has been increasingly turned to this phase of the question, and it is now certain that among women the practice is spreading with alarming rapidity.
As in the case of men, the habit is not confined to any one class of society but has affected all, so that at the one end of the social scale costly jewellery is sold to cover bridge debts and at the other blankets are pawned to put money on a horse.
If we turn to the evidence given before the Lords Commission we find numerous side references to the practice. One of these slips ie. And it appears that she had 8s. In what position in life would she be? She is only a working man's wife. She puts in this slip with 8s. Again, Mr. Horace Smith, a well-known London magistrate, in his evidence refers to the practice of bookmakers taking bets from women and children, and also to the effect betting has on the honesty of women, giving instances to prove his assertions.
Asked if he thought that women as well as men bet more than they used to, he replied that he had no doubt they did, and that he had even had women bookmakers before him. Spruce, a Leeds com- mission agent, also admitted the fact of the woman bookmaker. This last statement may come as a surprise to many readers, but we are able to give circum- stantial proof of its truth in the following circular : — Gentlemen in quest of reliable racing intelligence are invited to communicate with Miss.
Only those who are prepared to pay well need apply, as Miss is not one of those who give away Tips. During the latter part of Flat Racing Season Miss decided to commence business as a racing adviser, and she at once met with conspicuous success, her selections including — Grey Tick, Cesarewitch ; Burses, 2nd Cambridgeshire ; Switch Cap, Manchester November Handicap. Miss invites all sportsmen in quest of genuine racing intelligence to join her list of regular wire subscribers.
Satisfaction guaranteed to all regular subscribers. Her terms are, she believes, higher than those of the ordinary Turf correspondent, but clients will be fully satisfied that her wires are worth every penny charged. Those sportsmen who require wires every day are requested to apply else- where, as Miss cannot promise to send out more than two or three selections every week. The source of her intelligence cannot be divulged, but it may be mentioned that no other racing adviser is in the same position as Miss to obtain such genuine informa- tion.
This lady charges 10 s. Luke Sharp, the Official Keceiver for Bir- mingham, Worcester, and West Bromwich, replying to the Bishop of Hereford, drew attention to per- haps the most deplorable phase of betting among women. This consists in the collection of bets by agents calling on women for other weekly pay- ments.
Here is what Mr. Sharp said : — I had a conversation with one of my friends who is very much interested in these matters with regard to some cases in Worcestershire, and I wanted to get the particulars, as I did not like to make a statement unless I could prove it, and I will now read you his letter if your Lordship desire it. He says : " I do not mention this in any way to incriminate the man who I under- stand is carrying on a system of gambling, much as I condemn such and consider it should be stopped.
I consider something should be done to put a stop to such. Along with this evidence we must also take that of Mr. Kobert Knight, General Secretary of the Boilermakers' Society, and a magistrate of New- castle, who says : — Betting generally is largely on the increase ; especi- ally is this noticeable amongst young men and women.
Between the hours of Unrestrained by Act of Parliament, the bookmakers go from door to door in the streets occupied by the working classes for the pur- pose of inducing women to bet. When the work- men are at their work these bookmakers go round and visit the parts where they live, get hold of the wives of the workmen when the husband is at work, and get them to bet.
Very often it does not end in betting with spare money : a woman very often takes the things of the house and pawns them to get the money to bet with. There is still another reference to this practice in Mr. Knight's evidence, which we give in full : — Q. With regard to the house-to-house betting, would you include that in the prohibition i. I would. I think it has become a terrible evil — one of the worst I know of. Do these bookmakers solicit the women or who- ever opens the door to them?
Yes ; they go from house to house, and they get the women, in the absence of their husbands, to bet, and I have known in some cases where the money has been so short that the mother has gone and taken some things out of the house and pawned them in order to get money to bet with. Have you known of bad cases of women betting with their husbands' money, for example 1 A. Do you know many cases of that kind?
Very many. In some cases the husband is not himself given to betting, but on account of the visit of the bookmaker to the house during the husband's absence at work the wife has given way to betting; and then by-and-bye the husband has got to know that this has taken place, and I need not tell you the result : it is extremely sad. It will be agreed that this form of betting is particularly mean and despicable, even if it be true to some extent that women when they gamble are specially addicted to it.
Indeed Mr. Tannett- Walker, who is connected with a large engineering works near Leeds, gave it as his opinion, in his evidence before the Commission, that they were "worse gamblers than men," and he went on to say: — I think it is more serious, because, generally speak- ing, the working man only bets with his pocket-money, as he calls it in the working districts, and I think the woman very often risks the money the husband gives her for household purposes ; I think she is much more reckless and excitable under loss than a man, and therefore much more likely to go to the full extreme of all the money she has in her pocket.
The Yicar of Jarrow-on-Tyne writes : — My impression is that it is on the increase, but it is not easy to tell. For the most part, it takes the form of lotteries or sweepstakes, women putting in their six- pences, etc. Now and then a woman may be seen openly betting in the streets, but usually it is done quietly. I have been told that women act as agents for the bookmakers. Now and then a woman will come to her Communion whom I suspect of betting, but, as a rule, I think they feel it on their conscience more than people of the upper classes do.
The police court missionary at Newcastle-on- Tyne says : — I have had considerable experience of evangelistic work in slum parishes in Newcastle, and it is my opinion, from careful observation, that there is a very great amount of betting and gambling among women. I have known women sell the shoes and stockings from off their children's feet to get coppers to put on their favourite horse.
From a pit village the vicar's wife writes : — The women are so terribly tempted by the men who come round to their doors. It's true I have seven children, but I make no trouble of working for their support. Today there are many proposals to legalize gambling. Some urge this as a way to obtain new tax revenues, citing the examples of Spain, Norway, Sweden, France, Australia, and twenty other governments whose national lotteries provide significant revenues to state treasuries.
Others propose to legalize gambling because they contend that this would weaken organized crime by drying up one of its principal sources of financial support. It is also urged that legalized gambling would reduce the amount of graft and illegal payoffs to public officials.
Still others want to legalize gambling because they feel that it is impossible to enforce laws against it. According to this line of argument, the only effect of laws against gambling is to raise the price of gambling and therefore increase the profits of those of the criminal element who conduct the illegal enterprise. Closely examined, none of these arguments for legalized gambling is persuasive.
When the late Thomas E. Dewey was governor of New York, he answered these arguments, declaring:. The late J. In urging the state of Alaska not to legalize gambling as an economic panacea, Senator Alexander Wiley of Wisconsin gave these additional financial reasons: The idea that gambling would increase revenues is an illusion. In addition to all of these reasons, gambling should not be legalized because it is immoral. The law is, of course, too imperfect an instrument to condemn all immoral conduct.
Although to hate is immoral, the law cannot efficiently condemn that sin. But gambling is different. Its evils can fairly be measured in the lives of those who are affected by it. Few would urge that the law promote gambling; yet to legalize gambling would have just that result. The law has an important standard-setting function. A law legalizing gambling would, in the eyes of many, be understood as a formal declaration that this kind of conduct is moral, proper, and expected.
Persons now deterred from participating in gambling because they believe it to be illegal and immoral would be encouraged to participate. Gambling is especially pernicious when it is administered by government or when government relies on it for a substantial source of tax revenues.
Those who doubt the force of this argument should consider the history of efforts to impose more stringent government controls on that deadly product—tobacco. These efforts are commonly and forcefully resisted on the grounds that the vitally needed health measures would reduce essential tax revenues, disrupt the economics of certain states, and cause much unemployment.
Let us not allow gambling to obtain the same hold on our government and lawful businesses. Government should work to refine the moral sensitivities of its citizens, not pander to their weaknesses. There are at least five reasons why our Church leaders have urged us to avoid gambling and to fight this evil practice in our communities.
First, gambling weakens the ethics of work, industry, thrift, and service—the foundation of national prosperity—by holding out the seductive lure of something for nothing. By the same token, gambling encourages idleness, with all of its resulting bad effects for society.
President Joseph F. Smith, sixth president of the Church, gave this emphasis to the importance of the ethic of work in the gospel of Jesus Christ:. Therefore, we preach the gospel of economy, the gospel of sobriety. We preach that the idler shall not eat the bread of the laborer, and that the idler is not entitled to an inheritance in Zion. A Methodist minister, Lycurgus M.
Starkey, Jr. Paul School of Theology in Kansas City, Missouri, concluded an attack on gambling with words that every Latter-day Saint should recognize as familiar doctrine:. The Christian will himself refrain from gambling and from publicly endorsing it in any form, realizing that gambling is detrimental to the purpose of life as revealed in Jesus Christ.
A third evil of gambling is its tendency to corrupt the participant. All too often the sordid story is traceable to a desperate attempt to pay gambling debts or to finance further gambling activities. The temptations of the gambler are such that persons in responsible positions in government and private industry will not hire or retain as employees those who are known to gamble.
In recounting the undesirable side effects of gambling, mention must also be made of the fact that gambling is often accompanied by indulgence in alcohol and other vices. A fourth disadvantage, one cited by persons not concerned with the moral effects of gambling, is the extraordinary waste of time involved in it. Those who while away their hours gambling frequently do so to the neglect of family and work. Time wasted in gambling becomes more significant when we reflect that many persons who indulge in gambling become addicted to it.
The late Elder Richard L. Evans of the Council of the Twelve — made this statement:. Usually it begins modestly; and then, like many other hazardous habits, it often grows beyond control. At best it wastes time and produces nothing.
At worst it becomes a ruinous obsession and fosters false living by encouraging the futile belief that we can continually get something for nothing. The fifth and final condemnation of gambling follows from other disadvantages already discussed. Whenever we as Latter-day Saints engage in any kind of conduct that is inconsistent with the companionship of the Spirit of the Lord, we pay an enormous price.
Left without the sustaining influence of that Spirit, we are vulnerable to temptation, prone to criticize, and subject to being tossed to and fro and buffeted by the forces of the world and the works of the evil one. There can be no question that gambling dulls the spiritual sensitivities of those who participate in it. Elder John A. Widtsoe of the Council of the Twelve — gave vivid expression to this thought:. A gambling den, however beautifully housed, is the ugliest place on earth.
The tense participants live in a silence broken only, over the tables, by the swish of the wings of darkness. There is an ever-present brooding spirit of horror of an unknown evil. What I have said about gambling should be understood to include playing cards for money, betting on horses and athletic contests including office pools on the world series , casino gambling in all its forms, lotteries, raffles, bingo for money, and dice. I further suggest that the same spirit of gambling, the same reckless wagering on the chance turn of events, characterizes some forms of investments.
The same evils that attend a throw of the dice for money can attend the person who casually puts his money on a highly speculative stock or commodity investment. I know of no better test in this area than that suggested by President Joseph F.
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