Gambling Could Turn North Carolina Into a Corrupt Pottersville

In one of the greatest movies ever made, Frank Capra’s 1946, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” there is a scene where George Bailey, played by Jimmy Stewart, is living an alternate life — a very negative one where things are much different because he wasn’t present to influence matters for good.

The scene has Stewart entering into what was supposed to be the beautiful and wholesome town of Bedford Falls. Instead, it’s Pottersville, a place where a very rich businessman, Henry Potter, played by Lionel Barrymore, for the love of money has brought about the corrupting influences of night clubs, bars, pool halls, burlesque, prostitution, and gambling.

See the scene from “It’s a Wonderful Life” here

Sadly, most of the things depicted in the Pottersville scene are looked upon quite favorably in many quarters today. Nevertheless, these ways are just as seedy and sinful as they were believed to be in the ’40s. We’ve just dressed them up more nicely and provided them with an air of respectability.

Few things threaten to turn the splendor of North Carolina into a sleazy Pottersville than more gambling. The luck business characteristically engenders devastating consequences and broken promises.

When Gov. Roy Cooper released his proposed budget for the state this week, he included with it a proposition for putting a bond worth $3.9 billion on the ballot in 2020 to invest in the state’s education needs.

“Hmmm???” I thought to myself. “Whatever happened to all that money the schools were supposed to get from the ‘Education Lottery?’”

The North Carolina Education Lottery’s original legal obligation was to provide more than one out of its three dollars to education-related projects. It didn’t take long for that commitment to be abandoned, and it is obviously a failed government policy.

Still, more and more people are gambling by purchasing lottery tickets. Carolina Keno is promoted during family-friendly baseball games, collegiate, and other sporting events. Moreover, last year certain lawmakers wanted to double the Education Lottery’s advertising budget.

Speaking of lawmakers, last week the General Assembly’s Senate Commerce and Insurance Committee passed legislation to allow gaming nights for nonprofits and tax-exempt organizations (SB 66 – Allow Game Nights). These gaming nights don’t allow cash prizes, slot machines, video gaming, and electronic sweepstakes machines. Nevertheless, these are Las Vegas-styled events.

The bill’s sponsor argues that game nights have been going on in the state illegally for quite a while and that nonprofits have come to depend upon them to support the best of causes. But an “end justifies the means” argument doesn’t really hold up intellectually or consequentially. Perpetrators of some of the most heinous crimes practice that way of thinking.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Rev. Mark H. Creech