Gambling is found everywhere in society; poker, horse and dog races, at the grocery store, slot machines, and even in the home. Gambling is a game of chance that takes without giving value in return. Gambling puts money or other things of value into a pool and then redistributes it on the basis of a roll of the dice, a spin of the wheel, or a drawing of a number. Nothing of value is produced in the process.'1
The Mormon Church has always opposed gambling in every form, including government-sponsored lotteries.
Mormon prophets and leaders have counseled the members over time, to avoid gambling of any type. Doing so, leads one away from righteousness and into the hands of Satan. The Mormon belief is that it is an addictive behavior and leads only to destructive habits and practices. It undermines the value of work and motivates one to think that they can get something for nothing. In time, the gambler will deny themselves, as well as their family the basic needs of life. They will oft times steal from others to finance their addiction, which in turn leads to stealing, robbery, etc.
Government-sponsored lotteries have intensified the gambling issue. The National Foundation on the Study and Treatment of Pathological Gambling says that, 'lotteries may serve to introduce gambling to those who otherwise would shun it. People who have never bet before, seeing a state-run lottery with the [imprint] of government upon it, might buy a ticket; buying the first lottery ticket might be compared to a future drug addict taking his first puff on a cigarette. It's a starting point.'2
And in 1985, then Governor of Florida Bob Graham, stated that, 'what the lottery says about success is the wrong message…' Catholic priest, Monsignor Joseph Dunne expressed his opinion in that, 'why should [children] get an education when with a little bit of luck they can win a bundle of money for life? That's what lotteries are doing to our youth.'3
Mormons do believe that they shouldn't participate or encourage others to gamble. When local and federal government legislations are considering passing laws dealing with gambling, Church leadership has encouraged members to put a voice in opposing such issues. Current Mormon Prophet Gordon B. Hinckley has urged the members of theMormon Church to do the following: "We urge members of the Church to join with others with similar concerns in opposing the legalization and government sponsorship of lotteries."4