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Phone: 216-696-6525

Toll Free: 1-800-869-6525

Address: 1404 East 9th Street, Cleveland, OH 44114

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Diocese of Cleveland - Statement on Gambling

News of the Diocese

May 7, 2012

The Diocese of Cleveland has and continues to be concerned about individuals and families who reside within as well as those who visit within the eight county territory encompassing the Diocese of Cleveland in northeast Ohio.  Pastoral concern for families and individuals remains at the center of our response to the gospel mandate to serve Christ and see the face of the Lord in all we meet.

In anticipation of the expansion of new gaming opportunities in downtown Cleveland as well as in the entire State of Ohio, we desire to call attention to a social aspect of gambling and the dangers of enslavement which the passion for gambling may bring on.  The diocese acknowledges the reality of the role gambling in our parishes as a means of fund raising and social interpersonal activities supported and sponsored by parish organizations.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states the following:  "Games of chance (card games, etc.) or wagers are not in themselves contrary to justice.  They become morally unacceptable when they deprive someone of what is necessary to provide for his needs and those of others.  The passion for gambling risks becoming an enslavement.  Unfair wagers and cheating at games constitute grave matter, unless the damage inflicted is so slight that the one who suffers it cannot reasonably consider it significant."  (#2413 Cathechism of the Catholic Church)

We understand the projected positive opportunities of employment and economic development that may arise in related businesses associated with the new casino.  However, at the same time we are concerned with statistics that show when new gambling opportunities come into a community, there tends to be an increase of prostitution, human trafficking, white-collar crime, violence, scam artists, selling of drugs, credit card fraud and other criminal activity all of which are detrimental to the well being of individuals, families and the larger community.

We realize that, for some who may be most vulnerable, there can be a temptation to see the casino as a means to alleviate financial problems and provide a largely illusionary way to "get rich quick".

Both as a church and as part of the northeast Ohio community, we realize our responsibility to provide good educational opportunities which will help people who wish to enjoy the coming of the casino to do so in a balanced, informed way.  Further our hope is to provide pastoral care to those who may become addicted or enslaved to gambling.  Also, and where possible, we seek to provide pastoral care for those affected by a problem gambler and to make resources available for families who have become deprived of needed funds and other resources due to the enslavement of a family member to the lure of gambling.

As a church with many parishes that continue to sponsor bingo games during the year and other games of chance during parish festivals, we are mindful of our own responsibility to minimize the risk for those who participate in these activities and may become addicted or enslaved by their participation in these games.  We are committed to continue to strengthen awareness and understanding of parishioners, especially the volunteers who assist at any parish-sponsored games associated with problem gambling, recognizing harmful behaviors associated with problem gambling and the common signs that a person may be at risk of becoming addicted or already addicted and the resources available in the community to address these issues.

We continue to rely on the help of the Lord to remain faithful to our pastoral duty to build up the family of God through, prayer, ministerial outreach, cooperation with private and public social service agencies, and other people of good will.  Through our efforts we hope to provide the resources needed to prevent and to break the chains of addiction and help those enslaved by addictions, particularly to gambling, to live in the freedom of God.

 

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Anyone seeking assistance for a gambling addiction may contact:  the National Gambling Assistance Hot Line at 1-800 522-4700 or Recovery Resources at 216-431-4131.

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