PHILADELPHIA—The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has a budget shortfall, and some officials are considering sacrificing the best long-term interests of the citizens on the altar of short-term convenience by turning to online gambling to generate revenue. And this is the best solution for Pennsylvania?
In response to a report on gambling revenue, Pennsylvania legislators are considering authorizing online gambling in the state. To make gambling more appealing, the report also suggests allowing gamblers to get credit card cash advances on the casino floor, eliminating the $2,500 ceiling on check cashing and ending the ban on cashing third-party checks.
Pennsylvania Pastors Network (PPN, www.papastors.net) says legalizing online gambling and changing casino policies to generate revenue is a risky move that will hurt already-struggling Pennsylvanians.
“Budget shortfalls are properly addressed by reducing spending or increasing taxes, neither of which is popular,” said Pennsylvania Pastors Network President Sam Rohrer, also President of the American Pastors Network (APN, www.AmericanPastorsNetwork.net). “It is sad that in a culture desperate for moral leadership, our Governor and legislative leaders would seriously consider expanded gambling to ‘fix’ the current financial need. By its very nature, gambling preys on the vulnerable, the elderly and those who are desperate enough to risk losing what they can’t afford. We at the Pennsylvania Pastors Network call on our Governor and legislative leaders to resist the temptation to cowardly pursue the unethical path of expanded gambling that benefits only special interests and transient, short-term political gains.
“Pennsylvania’s rich heritage did not come through rolling the dice in hopes of a better future, and the solution to our state’s fiscal woes won’t come through luck, either. We urge our lawmakers to stop this online gambling initiative before it starts. Fix our budgetary problems for the long-term. Don’t contribute to the problems of thousands of citizens while also creating new problems. Expanded gambling is bad for Pennsylvanians and bad for Pennsylvania.”
According to Philly.com, Senate President Joseph B. Scarnati (R., Jefferson) sponsored a resolution in December directing the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee to look at casino gambling in the state in light of significant budget deficits.
Scarnati said Pennsylvania is facing increased competition from casinos in neighboring states, but headlines show that gambling hasn’t solved money problems elsewhere either. For example, New Jersey introduced Internet gambling in November, but revenues have been far below predicted levels. Likewise, Atlantic City has also seen a 40 percent decline in gambling revenues, albeit because of other economic issues.
The report, prepared by Econsult Solutions Inc., of Philadelphia, said that Internet gambling in Pennsylvania could bring up to $68 million in tax revenue in year one and as much as $110 million per year after that.
The Pennsylvania Pastors Network is a group of biblically faithful clergy and church liaisons whose objective is to build a permanent infrastructure of like-minded clergy who affirm the authority of Scripture, take seriously Jesus’ command to be the “salt and light” to the culture, encourage informed Christian thinking about contemporary social issues, examine public policy issues without politicizing their pulpits and engage their congregations in taking part in our political process on a non-partisan basis.
The American Pastors Network is the largest, national network of pastors who believe in the authority of scripture, who boldly preach the whole counsel of God with a disciplined application of a biblical worldview to public policy and who are building a permanent infrastructure of biblically faithful pastors and lay leaders and mobilizing congregations to participate in the political process. For more information on APN, visit www.AmericanPastorsNetwork.net.
Pennsylvania Pastors Network is a state chapter affiliate of the American Pastors Network. The American Pastors Network is a Ministry Program Affiliate of Capstone Legacy Foundation (a 501(c)(3) non-profit Christian Public Community Foundation registered nationwide).
The American Pastors Network is a Ministry Program Affiliate of Capstone Legacy Foundation (a 501(c)(3) non-profit Christian Public Community Foundation registered nationwide).