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Jimmy Carter, the 86-year-old leader of The Blind Boys of Alabama, made one point clear from the start of a recent concert set in the middle of a Connecticut casino: If you are not here for music praising God, best leave now.
For the next 90 minutes, the renowned Gospel group sang, danced and testified that “My God is real, for I can feel him in my soul” as if it were a Sunday morning in a black church in Birmingham.
But jumping into the lion’s den at Mohegan Sun casino, or in this case a venue called the Wolf Den, is just one way for religious folks to make a difference in response to an ever-expanding gambling industry.
Two new studies show religion can help deter gambling even as local governments searching for new forms of tax revenue give legitimacy to an industry that appears to exert its greatest harm on society’s most vulnerable.
In one national study, people who attended religious services most often had the fewest problem gambling symptoms such as borrowing money to gamble or betting more than you can afford to lose.
A separate study measuring the different effects of faith on casino and lottery gambling and betting online found that being part of religious life generally reduces the likelihood of gambling.
“For those concerned that mass gambling has been a Faustian bargain,” the researchers stated, “our overall conclusion that gambling varies depending on different indicators of ‘faith’ suggests new pathways for ameliorating ordinary and perhaps even heavy gambling.”
To read the full article on the Huffington Post, click here.