As ministers and leaders in Arkansas, one of our primary responsibilities is to lead God’s people and protect them from any and all forms of harm and danger. That is why we are each signing this letter in opposition to the proposed ballot measure Issue 4.
Issue 4 would amend our state’s constitution to legalize casino gambling in Arkansas. This is not a political issue or an economic issue. This is a social and moral issue. Passing Issue 4 quite literally would wreck families and ruin lives in Arkansas.
Casino gambling is tied to crime, bankruptcy, homelessness, domestic violence, divorce, and suicide. Countless children have gone hungry and been neglected, living in poverty, because of a parent’s gambling addiction.
It is our sincere conviction that legalizing casino gambling in Arkansas will harm the families and communities we are called to serve. As Christians, we are instructed to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. Issue 4 would hurt our neighbors and their loved ones. For this reason, we oppose Issue 4 and we hope that other Arkansans will as well.
Altogether, 118 ministers and church leaders signed the letter, including former Baptist pastor and Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee; Pastor Ronnie Floyd; and Pastor Greg Sykes, President of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention.
A bogus report recently commissioned by a pro-gambling group claims casinos would be good for Arkansas’ economy.
The truth is gambling tears families apart and costs taxpayers dearly.
Watch this video to learn more.
Today UALR’s Arkansas Economic Development Institute released a report claiming casino gambling would create thousands of jobs in Arkansas and provide billions of dollars in GDP growth over the next 10 years.
The report was commissioned by Driving Arkansas Forward, the pro-gambling group responsible for Issue 4, a proposed state constitutional amendment allowing four casinos in Arkansas.
It should not come as any surprise that a study commissioned by a pro-gambling organization would claim gambling is good for the economy. Here’s the truth:
- Study after study has found casino gambling is linked to crime, homelessness, bankruptcy, domestic violence, divorce, and suicide.
- Experts estimate that each pathological gambler costs society thousands of dollars per year in social services and lost productivity.
- Poverty levels are well above average in counties in Oklahoma and Mississippi that have casinos.
- Even if casino gambling did create jobs, that simply would not justify the harm gambling does to families and communities.
Casino gambling hasn’t bolstered Mississippi’s economy or turned Oklahoma into a business leader. It won’t improve Arkansas’ economy either.
Photo By Ralf Roletschek [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons.