Gambling—just entertainment?

Individuals I know who enjoy gambling refer to it as gaming, a form of entertainment. As long as they "set their limit" and don't exceed that, they say, what's wrong with some harmless entertainment? There's the hope for monetary gain, of course, but most people accept that they may lose some or a lot of money in the process.

These friends and relatives are hard-working, kind, honest individuals, holding jobs, raising families, and contributing in meaningful ways to society. The negative aspects of gambling are not things that these individuals link to their participation in it. For them, gambling is linked to entertainment or the setting for a vacation. This activity is also seen as a source of fiscal relief for ailing government coffers. Lotteries in the state where I reside are promoted as supporting the cause of education. These would all appear to be good motives. So what is there to lose by gambling?

Actually, there is a loss, but it is far deeper than the dollars one might lose (or gain!) in a game of chance. To understand the nature of this loss, it's important to take a thoughtful look at what underlies the concept of gambling.

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"Go, and sin no more"*
September 1, 1997

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