The pages in the tab "Current Issues" are designed to provide information and links to articles that speak to current moral issues facing our society. Please reference the original article (if available) when using quotes from these resources.
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The Make-Believe World of Digital Horse Racing Sends a Wrong Message - TFP
July 28, 2021 / John Horvat II / tfp.org
People today live in make-believe worlds. They are conditioned to believe they can be or do whatever they want.
Usually, such fantasies are limited by the real world. However, modern technologies now facilitate the illusions of making believe by creating illusions. The business world is not far behind by providing products that humor people into believing their fantasies can be real. People can then effortlessly indulge in them if they pay the right amount of money.
The latest craze in fantasy-enabling is the Non-Fungible Token (NFT) mania shaking the virtual world. People can claim to own original digital images (often readily available online) by registering their purchases on blockchain platforms. Buyers have nothing to show for their purchase save the original code of historical video moments, gifs and other digital creations. These digital assets often sell for tens of thousands of dollars.
Digital Horse Racing
A new development in this field is the interactive NFT, which consists of virtual assets that seem to have a life of their own. A mania has emerged in the form of digital horse racing.
Click here to read the full article at tfp.org.
We are grateful the University of Alabama Athletics Department placed restrictions on student athlete sponsorships. Student athletes may not accept sponsorships from the following: a tobacco company or brand, including alternative nicotine products; any alcoholic beverage company or brand; any seller or distributor of a controlled substance, including but not limited to, marijuana; any adult entertainment business; and any casino or entities that sponsor or promote gambling activities. We also hope these restrictions will stand. Please click on the link to read the full article.
Alabama NIL Tracker: Three More Players Join the Action
The one-stop shop for the latest name, image and likeness news surrounding Crimson Tide student athletes.
TYLER MARTIN AND JOEY BLACKWELLJUL 2, 2021
A new era of college athletics arrived at midnight on July 1.
For the first time ever, all NCAA athletes can begin to make money off of their name, image and likeness.
Click here to read the full article.
OPINION: Right now is the time to stand up against gambling
Kentucky Today, January 30, 2021
By ANDREW T. WALKER
"Why would the legislature take time out of their short session during a pandemic to see such legislation pass? So that the state can continue to generate the tax revenue from Kentuckians’ gambling losses. That’s right, some legislators think Kentucky wins when Kentuckians lose.” Andrew T. Walker
According to Kentucky Today, the Republican-led state Senate is set to introduce a new bill next week that would expand gambling in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
The expected legislation would attempt to resolve the ongoing debate over the Historical Horse Racing slot machines that the Kentucky Supreme Court ruled against. Because the Supreme Court ruled against their illegal implementation, the legislature is hoping to pass enabling legislation that would allow these machines to get up and running again.
Why would the legislature take time out of their short session during a pandemic to see such legislation pass? So that the state can continue to generate the tax revenue from Kentuckians’ gambling losses. That’s right, some legislators think Kentucky wins when Kentuckians lose. The Kentucky legislature is so preoccupied with Kentuckians’ losing their money to a predatory industry that it is prioritizing it over and against a myriad of other issues facing Kentucky.
The first rule of public policy is to do no harm. By that standard, what the legislature is embarking upon upends the first principle of government’s purpose according to Scripture: “to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good” (1 Pet. 2:14). To pass a gambling bill is to get this biblical formula exactly backwards: It is to praise a vice by allowing it to prosper with government approval and to punish the good by incentivizing financial mismanagement. Talk about a mix-up of priorities.
To get a sense of why gambling is wrong and counterproductive, let’s take a look at the idea of Kentucky being a “Commonwealth.” Commonwealth is derived from the idea of the “Commonweal” which is an archaic term referring to the idea of the “general welfare,” or what we might call “the common good.” The common good is the idea that we all have a stake in promoting the types of conditions that cause everyone to thrive in society. To focus on the common good means to maximize the ability for people to flourish. The common good is only “common” insofar as it serves everyone equally. Gambling does exactly the opposite. It serves the interest of a few to the detriment of the many by catering to powerful financial interests.
Some may make the libertarian argument that increased tax revenue serves the interest of all. But to focus on the interests of the state through increased tax revenue is at odds with looking out for the interests of those who would be most likely to gamble—those on the lower socioeconomic ladder. We as Christians and Kentuckians cannot love our neighbor and seek the financial interests of the state while simultaneously fleecing our neighbor.
What are some other reasons to oppose gambling? There are reasons too numerous to count, but let’s name just a few.
- Gambling hurts families by impoverishing them.
- Gambling hurts families by creating behavior that leads to their destruction.
- Gambling caters to personalities with addiction struggles.
- Gambling creates government corruption.
- Gambling preys on human weakness.
- Gambling teaches an ungodly system of wealth accumulation.
- Gambling disincentives work.
- Gambling invites social pathologies into the culture through the rise of other questionable industries that pop up around gambling (e.g., payday lending, sexually-oriented businesses).
There is more at stake in this debate than just personal entertainment preferences. Gambling is one of the few forms of “entertainment” that results in the proliferation of human misery. A “hands off” libertarian approach to gambling may relieve someone of their own personal dislike of gambling, but it only feeds the wrongheaded assumption that individual behavior has no bearing on the rest of society. Where someone suffers from gambling, others have to be present to pick up the broken pieces. We all have a stake in caring for one another by resisting an industry that seeks no higher interest than its own profit margins.
Kentucky Baptists should stand united against this legislation and should contact their legislator to voice their opposition. You can call the legislative message line at 1-800-372-7181. Operators will help you identify your legislator and take your message. You can also email your legislator directly to let them know you are opposed to expanded gambling sinking its teeth into Kentucky.
Kentucky Baptists, right now is the time to have our message heard. If we’re looking for a way to love our neighbor and be salt and light in our culture, doing so is only a phone call or email away.
Andrew T. Walker is Associate Professor of Christian Ethics at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and the Public Affairs Advisor to the Kentucky Baptist Convention.
Illinois Lottery Exacerbates Inequities in Chicago
Communities on the South and West Side buy disproportionately more lottery tickets but do not see returns to their schools
PUBLISHED ON FEBRUARY 21, 2017
BY THEO GRANT-FUNCK
Every year, the Illinois State Lottery contributes hundreds of millions of dollars to help fund public education in Illinois, but areas with high lottery sales often also have school districts that remain severely underfunded.
“We’ve lost too many schools and then we see [existing schools] fighting for more money from Springfield,” said Scotty McBryde, an eighteen-year Chatham resident and daily lottery player. “But the pots of the lottery are getting huge, so where is the money going?”
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