Policy Briefs

Gambling 1994

November 1994

For almost ten years, since the institution of the Iowa Lottery in 1985, gambling has been taking a growing foothold in our state. In every year of this decade, legislators have faced powerful political interests asking for further expansion of gambling within Iowa’s borders.

The most recent session of the Iowa General Assembly relaxed gambling regulations and allowed the removal of betting limits on riverboat casinos and the placement of slot machines in the various pari-mutuel wagering tracks across the state. Pressure to continue the trend toward further relaxation and expansion of gambling shows no signs of abating.

The time has come to say enough. As a matter of public policy, the Iowa Catholic Conference opposes further attempts to increase the places where legalized gambling may take place as well as the kinds of gambling allowed.

In stating our opposition to the expansion of gambling in Iowa, we recognize that gambling can be a legitimate recreational activity in an atmosphere of moderation and control.

However, expanded gambling will serve to pollute the atmosphere of moderation and control. The quality of life that we Iowans prize may suffer from:

  • increased numbers of individuals becoming addicted to gambling;
  • the attraction of criminal elements into the state;
  • the reliance on a regressive form of revenue for the state which takes money from those who may be the least able to afford it;
  • the creation of an increased culture of greed and materialism within our society.

We ask the Catholics of our four dioceses, as well as all Iowans, to consider the negative impact that a growing gambling industry can have on our communities and to join us in building a more proper legacy for the children who will follow us.

November 1994