Gambling is seen by many to be part of the Australian fabric of life, but for many people, gambling is an addiction that wrecks the lives of individuals, families and whole communities.
In this week’s Synod, (the annual parliamentary-style meeting of the Sydney Anglican Diocese), we stood together to bring attention to this problem that affects so many in our community.
Indeed, $2 billion dollars a year is spent in the Illawarra alone on gambling!
We agreed to call on the government to put in some measures to try and reduce the impact of problem gambling, including a $1 maximum bet for pokies, a stop to putting a greater proportion of poker machines in lower-socioeconomic areas, and a call on gambling venues to come up with better ways to help problem gamblers.
We also agreed that Sydney Anglican affiliated organisations would get rid of any investments that make more than 10% or $50 million a year from gambling.
Let us pray for the people in our families and our region who have a problem with gambling, asking that they would find real hope in the real Jesus, not a false hope in the adrenaline bet that brings such pain and disappointment.