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The Word on the Week

Lottery Bonanza

It was the only way the Government could “do” the Lotto – flog it! The windfall profits exceeded the anticipated price by one third producing a total of €405,000,000! The deal with the conglomerate Premier Lotteries Ireland permits ongoing State involvement via the Post Office which continues as one of the partners.

So the country has its cake and eats it – or at least part of it in the years to the expiry of the licence.

Resulting from the relaxing of the Gambling Laws, on-line betting will become more popular and with the involvement of the UK operator “Camelot” who gets 15% of its income from this quarter, we should anticipate a similar increase here. In fact it may be more as we are reputed to spend more that most of our European neighbours on the Lotto and should rise to this challenge.

Of course it is all for a good cause. Lottery funds have flowed into many parishes to assist in creating sports grounds etc and half the sale income will go towards the construction of the National Children’s Hospital.

In the 26 years of its existence it has become embedded in the national psyche. It forms the wistful thinking of the young and the dreams of the unemployed. It has been described by sceptics as stealing by mutual consent. Economists call it a tax on the poor as it is most popular with those who can least afford it.

It is quite remarkable how betting on a random sequence of numbers can produce such wealth. It would have been the envy of our forefathers in their backbreaking toil, to obtain income without work!

Of course it is all an illusion! The only real winners are the promoters who cannot lose. The few who get something back have to be balanced against the multitudes that have got nothing.

What about the gambling in the Bible?

The soldiers at the foot of the cross played dice for Jesus’ clothes (St Matthew Chapter 27 verse 35). This was predicted 1000 years earlier and it happened (Psalm 22 verse 18). But what about the roll of the dice – does not the Bible acknowledge pure chance there? Wrong – the Bible says that we may throw the dice but its every decision is from God (Proverbs Chapter 16 verse 33).

The Bible charts a new way of looking at things in relation to God. But first the blindfold has to be removed in order to see that it is God’s world, “the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Corinthians Chapter 4 verse 4).

The faith to see comes from God and leads the one who receives it to Christ. As the poet has said;

“Upon a life I did not live, upon a death I did not die;

Another’s life, another’s death, I stake my whole eternity.”

And that’s the only stake you should ever make!