By Rev. Mark Creech
Christian Action League
June 1, 2023
The North Carolina Senate passed HB 347 – Sports Wagering/Horse Racing Wagering Bill today. The measure had already passed the House. It will now go back to the House for a concurrence vote.
After the bill’s passage in the Senate, Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League, released the following statement:
The passage of this legislation will produce a major shift in the state’s culture. Of course, some will argue it won’t create a major shift. Instead, it reflects a major shift because people are already doing it.
In the debate on this bill, the primary argument offered in its favor was, “Although sports gambling is currently illegal in the state, people are already placing bets. We may as well make it legal, regulate, and tax it?”
While it may be true, many are already engaging in sports gambling; it doesn’t make it justifiable or ethical to legalize it. In fact, legalizing the activity sends a wrong message to society that something very harmful, even immoral, is acceptable to engage in for personal benefit.
Similar erroneous arguments could be made for legalizing something like drugs or prostitution. People are already doing it, and there are billions of tax dollars to be garnered from these illegal enterprises. But legalizing drugs would lead to more addiction, health problems, and social disintegration. Legalizing prostitution would lead to increased sex trafficking, exploitation, a negative impact on public health, objectification and violence against women, and negative impacts on children and families.
Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., a former Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, is often credited with saying, “The law is the witness and external deposit of our moral life. Its history is the history of the moral development of the race. The practice of it, despite popular jests, tends to make good citizens and good men.” This quote is often paraphrased as “The law is a great teacher.”
This law is a bad teacher – teaching us personally the morally bankrupt values of addiction, encouraging unnecessary risk-taking, how to be greedy and covetous, and how to supplant faith in God with a new set of values – those of luck and chance.
Moreover, it should be noted the harms that come with something like gambling always outweigh the benefits of taxation and regulation.
The effective way to address illegal activity is to enforce existing laws, implement preventive measures, and provide education and assistance for struggling people.
However, this bill, and the argument for it, will only extend the reach of misery.