I Prayed have prayed
Lord God, You say the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. Please reveal it wherever it is and stir Your body to biblical thinking about money and gambling. Free those who are addicted.
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The Super Bowl is in the rear view mirror, but the results of the competition may linger for some. And I’m not referring to fans of the victorious Rams or the runner-up Bengals. I mean millions of Americans who made a wager on the game.

According to the American Gaming Association (AGA), the national trade group for casinos and their partners, the number of U.S. adults who planned to place a bet on the big game jumped 35 percent from last year to 31.5 million— a record. The AGA also expected those individuals to gamble $7.61 billion on the event, a 78 percent jump from the dollar numbers risked last year.

Those numbers are eye-popping, but they are also part of a larger trend. The AGA released numbers a couple days after the Super Bowl that showed 2021 was actually the best year on record for the casino industry. The industry made $53 billion last year, a major increase from 2020 and a 21 percent boost from the previous high in 2019.

Most of that take for the casinos came from slots and table games. But sports betting saw exponential growth. Americans bet $57 billion on competitions last year — a jump of 165 percent from 2020. The resulting $4.3 billion in revenue boosted the industry’s bottom line by 177 percent year-over-year in that category.

It’s no wonder we’re seeing so many gambling ads during sports events on TV.

Sadly, the thrill of the bet is not the end of the story for many. In an Atlantic article last fall exploring gambling, columnist Stephen Marche suggested there are benefits and costs to be considered.

“The chief benefit is that there’s a lot of money to be made, for governments and businesses both,” he said. “The primary cost is that many unlucky and vulnerable people are destroyed.”

Even in the simplest look at gambling, it is clear the practice requires there to be winners and losers. For the losers, there is an immediate financial cost — a cost that can be devastating if not hedged against. But even the winners are not home free and living on easy street. After all, why do the casinos make so much money? Because people keep betting, and as the old adage says, “The house always wins.”

Beneath that basic dollars and cents look at gambling, there are other issues. One big one is addiction. The Mayo Clinic says, “Gambling can stimulate the brain’s reward system much like drugs or alcohol can, leading to addiction. If you have a problem with compulsive gambling, you may continually chase bets that lead to losses, hide your behavior, deplete savings, accumulate debt, or even resort to theft or fraud to support your addiction.”

Data suggests that millions of Americans struggle with gambling addiction. And there is a steep cost for them and their families, as well as society at large.

But so far Americans don’t seem troubled by gambling. Gallup 2021 numbers show that nearly 7 in 10 American adults think gambling is morally acceptable. And even in churches, opinions are mixed. For example, according to a Lifeway Research release in 2016, fewer than half of evangelicals regularly attending church services thought sports betting was morally wrong.

This is striking when you consider the cultural battles against the ills of gambling in years not too far past. I suspect churches will need to come to terms with this exploding trend in our society one way or another as the money gets bigger and the problems grow deeper.

Specifically regarding the Super Bowl betting, one longtime advocate against the dangers of gambling recently told Christianity Today, “I think there’s going to be a lot of devastation to individuals and families the following weeks…What do you do when you’ve lost all that money? Paying it back, that could take a lifetime.”

Those people are going to need help and hope.

Are you concerned by the increased gambling and acceptance of it? How are you praying?

Aaron Mercer is a Contributing Writer with two decades of experience in Washington, D.C.s public policy arena.

(Photo Credit: Getty Images)

“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” (I Timothy 6:10)

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Janet White
February 21, 2022

It’s not just the sports gambling and the casino gambling, my daughter is addicted to the slot machines in convenient stores. She’s lost thousands of dollars along with her friends, it’s a real problem in my house. I have prayed God would cause them to be removed, for the sake of families!

Darlene Estlow
February 19, 2022

Father, in your mercy, free people from their addictions. Move in your people to acknowledge the harm gambling does, that it is not harmless. I pray against that spirit that is destroying families and communities. Give us eyes to see, ears to hear, and minds that understand what you reveal to us.

Linda Dorn
February 19, 2022

Several years ago I never gave a second thought to gambling. I knew it had preyed on the poor.. I was on my way to my vacation when a notice appeared in our local newspaper. I clipped it to take and read later. My heart became so wrapped around the travesty about upcoming vote to bring gsmbling into our college community. I knew GOD was telling me to do something about it. But what? I went home, typed up a petition for 8 local churches to have their parishioners to sign in protest. I felt totally unqualified to do much more than that. To my great surprise, GOD had people who could professionally and legally prepare a petition. They contacted me offering to help me! With just a brief period of time to get these petitions circulated, with these people, thousands of signatures shut down the gambling from our community. But that was not the end of the story! Ten years later, the push came again to bring gambling into our community. These same professionals again asked again to bring petitions to stop it. Stop it they did again. It so amazed me that even when I had no real intention to fight this battle, it was one, unskilled GOD showed me His heart was against this. Just to be willing and obedient and available brought GOD’S rescue to our community from gambling’s destructive forces. My lesson…Just because I don’t see the dangers, our Heavenly Father sees and cares that we love our neighbor as ourself. If it hurts them, I need to care!

Karen Secrest
February 19, 2022

I have been praying for several years about the back stairs events connected to All sporting events. The pimps and pushers move in and set up. Those in the sex/slavery trade are known for their current merchandise and the betting begins in offices across the country. The big Boys are in their clubs with big bucks on the table and the beat goes on.
I’m reminded of the verse that says a child was sold for t a pair of sandals or a glass of wine.
A recent blog indicated one nation just caved and made gambling legal. Now we have one huge lottery that says people can be ignored as long as the money rolls in. Children disappear but the money…

Zachery Simmons
February 19, 2022

Just like any addiction, if these people knew who they are in Jesus Christ and what their purpose on earth is, they would have no desire to gamble (or any other addictive activity). WE as the body of Christ, have got to start preaching IDENTITY IN CHRIST to this lost and dying world! That will stop addiction, as the desire to sin will start to cease as they grow to love Jesus. Lord, help us stand up Holy boldness and start helping people see their worth, that they were and are worth Your Precious Blood. Let us stop “fighting a defeated foe,” and help us turn our eyes towards You, Jesus. You Word says, “Submit yourselves to God, and the enemy will flee.” Thank You, Father, for teaching us to be a people so encompassed by Your Love, that our focus isn’t on how to fight the enemy, but on how to love You to the point where we surrender EVERY area of our lives and the result is generations that are not willing to compromise with the world. We may be in it, but we are not of it! In the mighty Name of Jesus Christ, AMEN!
I love you, Jesus, and I want this nation (and the world) to see You.

Brian lynch
February 19, 2022

Being that I am a recovering alcoholic, I personally do not gamble. I think that it is a shame that people gamble in the first place, but they do anyway. It is unfortunate that gambling has increased in America. It is a symptom of the days that we are living in. In these End Times, Satan’s influence over people’s thinking and behavior is running rampant. I heard many years ago, that if Jesus Christ is not your reference point in life, that you are in deep trouble. This is confirmation of that statement. I also heard it said that as we approach the end of the age, that the behavior of believers and unbelievers would develop into an ever-widening chasm. Again. more confirmation. Unfortunately, gambling isn’t going anywhere. All that we can do, as Christians, is make sure that we are setting a good example by our choices. I pray, Lord, please set free all those who are caught up in the addiction to gambling. Amen.

Joseph Sullens
February 19, 2022

The State of Louisiana recently approved of allow sports betting.
The casinos were the biggest supporters of this initiative.
The increase in gambling is not surprising given the state of our economy.
The poor and elderly end up being the biggest losers as they are most vulnerable.
People like me who are on fixed income are very vulnerable to becoming addicted to gambling.
Casinos rake in more than what they pay out.
God wants us to be good stewards of the resources that He give us to use. Gambling is never a good investment.
Gambling in the USA used to be illegal until it was legalized in the State of Nevada.
These people are evil in that they don’t care who they hurt or how many lives they destroy.
I choose to follow the Lord.
Have compassion on those who are addicted and desire to break their addiction.
Keep standing against gambling and keep praying against it!
I come against the institution of gambling and all it lies and deceit! I declare and decree that your power is broken in the mighty Name of Yeshua HaMeshiach! In His Name we tear down all the strongholds of the enemy and every weapon that he has fashioned against us for our destruction we declare to be null and void! We pray for the release of those who are addicted and we break the chains of their addiction! To God be the glory and the victory! Amen!

Salem Zahn
February 19, 2022

Lord Jesus we pray for the captives to be set free from the snare of gambling addiction. With that freedom the snares will no longer be snares all because of the power of Your Holy name that takes away the chains. Bless you Jesus/Yeshua that the bonds of all forms of gambling are broken and that you are the restorer of the years that the locust have eaten!
Baruk ata Adonai Yeshua HaMessiah and Hallelujah to Your most Holy name!


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