By M.H. Cavanaugh
Christian Action League
January 14, 2016
This week three people won the largest lottery jackpot in American history, a whopping $1.6 billon. They will split the prize three ways. Winning tickets were bought in Florida, Tennessee, and California.
Winners in 23 states also won $1 million by matching the five winning numbers, but not the Powerball. Winners in 7 states, one in North Carolina, won $2 million by matching the five winning numbers and selecting the Powerplay option.
The odds of winning the massive jackpot were 1 in 292.2 million. The New York Times explained the odds of getting the right numbers this way:
“If you printed out the name of every United States resident on individual pieces of paper, put them in a giant bowl and selected one at random, the odds of picking President Obama are not far from the odds of winning the Powerball.”
The Times went on to clarify that the “odds of being struck by lightning this year are one in 1.19 million, making it about 246 times as likely as winning the Powerball” purse.
“With such incredibly overwhelming odds against success, it’s a wonder that anyone ever plays,” said Dr. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League. “You have to abandon all reason. It’s obviously a celebration of irrationality.”
Rex Rogers in his book, Seducing America, concludes the rise in gambling opportunities in America is reflective of a people “who have lost faith in the idea that individuals can influence their destiny by their own efforts.” He adds, “We no longer believe that a person is rewarded with what he or she deserves or has earned…We’re more a fatalistic and superstitious people.”
Thus, the frenzy, the media craze, each time a lottery prize is on the high end.
“All of this, in my estimation,” said Dr. Creech, “is the culmination, in part, of the teaching in our schools that we live in a universe that came about by chance and is controlled by random forces.”
“We say we believe in God, but we live as though he doesn’t exist. Subconsciously we’ve decided life is but a crap shoot. Luck rules, not God. It’s the new idolatry. Its temples are the casinos, the sweepstakes parlors, and such venues. Its sacrifices, whether for education or some other stated cause, are the lottery tickets. People by the millions bow down and pay homage every day. It’s the religion of covetousness and materialism. But nations can no more serve God and mammon than the individual. Gambling is separating us from our Christian moorings,” said Dr. Creech.
Wednesday, conservative columnist Michelle Malkin noted the biggest winner in the Powerball game is the government. Referring to the lottery as a “government-sponsored gambling racket in 44 states, plus Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands,” Malkin contended:
“If public lottery pimps were private corporate entities, they’d be charged with predatory behavior. To entice their at-risk target audience of elderly citizens and low-wage workers, state officials saturate the airwaves around the first of each month. Why? As a candid advertising plan for the Ohio Super Lotto directed many years ago:
“’Schedule heavier media weight during those times of the month where consumer disposable income peaks…Government benefits, payroll and Social Security payments are released on the first Tuesday of each calendar month.’”
Malkin adds that lotteries promote “the illusion of economic development – becoming deeply involved in finding new ways of manipulating people’s desire for a more secure future. They are enticing people into taking part in what should properly be called the ‘pathology of hope.’”
Rep. Paul Stam (R-Raleigh), on Tuesday, used the nation’s lottery madness to highlight North Carolina’s deceptive lottery advertising. In a Press Release Stam argued:
“The NC ‘Education’ Lottery uses deceptive advertising by deliberately causing gamblers to believe they have a much greater chance of winning a substantial sum of money than they actually do. The NC ‘Education’ Lottery advertises the odds of winning, but does not transparently match the odds to the particular size. The Lottery will list the value of the jackpot or highest few prizes, but advertise the odds of winning any prize, including the lowest–value prize.”
Stam further maintained that during the Powerball bonanza recently, North Carolina’s lottery described the odds of winning any prize from one ticket at about 1 in 25. “But the website does not tell what the prize would be,” he said. “Most likely it would be $4. Most gamblers are aware that the odds of winning the ultimate jackpot are much lower (about 1 in 292 million), but most gamblers are not aware that their odds to win the $100 prize is only about 1 in 14, 494!”
Malkin says that truthful Powerball advertising should say, “The odds are never in your favor.”
“I hate gambling with all of my heart,” said Dr. Creech. “It troubles me that so many Christians gamble and buy lottery tickets. A government that takes advantage of its citizenry and making losers out of them to maintain itself is nothing less than immoral. Christians need to be leading people away from this – not participating in it.”