Church Opposes Government-Sponsored Gambling
November 1986

“Church Opposes Government-Sponsored Gambling,” Ensign, Nov. 1986, 104–5

Church Opposes Government-Sponsored Gambling

The First Presidency has issued a statement opposing gambling, including the legalization and government sponsorship of lotteries. The Church has also recently produced radio and television documentaries showing the damaging effects of gambling on people’s lives.

The statement, which was signed by President Ezra Taft Benson, President Gordon B. Hinckley, First Counselor, and President Thomas S. Monson, Second Counselor, said:

“There can be no question about the moral ramifications of gambling. As it has in the past, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints stands opposed to gambling, including government-sponsored lotteries.

“Public lotteries are advocated as a means of relieving the burden of taxation. It has been clearly demonstrated, however, that all too often lotteries only add to the problems of the financially disadvantaged by taking money from them and giving nothing of value in return. The poor and the elderly become victims of the inducements that are held out to purchase lottery tickets on the remote chance of winning a substantial prize.

“It is sad to see governments now promoting what they once enacted laws to forbid.

“We urge members of the Church to join with others with similar concerns in opposing the legalization and government sponsorship of lotteries,” the statement concluded. The statement was contained in a letter sent to general, regional and local leaders of the Church.

The Church’s television and radio documentaries feature interviews with a compulsive gambler who is attempting to piece her life back together. Others interviewed include Arnold Wexler, a reformed gambler who is now vice-president of the National Council on Compulsive Gambling; Dr. Ricque Brister, a psychiatrist who treats compulsive gamblers; Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Council of the Twelve; and several other authorities on the ills of gambling.

“We have produced these programs because of the Church’s concern about both the moral and economic ramifications of gambling,” said Richard P. Lindsay, managing director of Public Communications and Special Affairs.

“We are offering these half-hour documentaries to radio and television stations and cable systems throughout the country as free public affairs programs,” he said.