The expansion of casino gambling is going on the ballot here in New York this year. Governor Cuomo sees this as a new source of revenue for the state and a way to bolster some political ends. The Bishops of New York recently issued a statement signed by us all in which we point out that, while gambling of itself is morally neutral, there are some of the negative aspects of casino gambling that should cause us all to stop and reflect before deciding to vote yes or no on the ballot question. The proposal on the ballot is an advertisement to vote in favor of the bill as if there would be no negative consequences. May I invite one and all to read the text of the New York bishops’ letter which can be found on here.
In addition may I also state as clearly as I can that I am convinced that the negative aspects far outweigh the possible positive gains. Casino gambling is an inducement to misuse of money, strikes the poor hardest and can be a vehicle that seduces people into reckless actions that can lead to family upheaval and socially unhealthy habits. In my first parish I knew a woman with a husband and three children and a mortgage on their small house. Her husband, an inveterate but clandestine gambler, forged her name on a second mortgage, took off with the money and left her with her three young children and two mortgages. She was an incredibly strong and resilient woman and overcame these and many other trials in her life. But she is not alone and many others are left in similar circumstances who may not have the same resilience. The bishops correctly invite you to reflect and make your own decision. I have no doubt about mine.