Union University faculty approve anti-gambling resolution
Bryan Dawson, chair of the math and computer science department, proposes that the lottery is a tax on the mathematically ignorant.
JACKSON, Tenn. – Oct. 17, 2002 – The faculty of Union University recently approved a resolution against gambling by an overwhelming margin and voiced their disapproval of the lottery bill which is up for a vote by Tennesseans in early November.
"I think this resolution by our faculty sends a message that is an important one,” said Bryan Dawson, chair of the math and computer science department, who helped draft the resolution, along with Don Richards, associate professor of mathematics. “It says that well-educated individuals who are able to think carefully about the implications and its various facets that the lottery has – that we’ve thought very carefully through this issue and as both individuals and a group of educators, we feel like this is the wrong thing to do.”
Union President David S. Dockery also voiced his support for the resolution.
“I appreciate the initiative of our faculty taking this thoughtful and responsible action,” said Dockery.
The resolution follows.
A Resolution Opposing the Lottery
Be it resolved that the faculty of Union University stand opposed to the state lottery and urge all who are able to vote against it in the upcoming election.
Among the many reasons for this opposition are:
- Morality and Ethics. The lottery is based upon the hope of obtaining great wealth without earning it, which is contrary to a biblical worldview. The lottery is a tax on the poor, even if they do not become addicted. The lottery exploits the false hope that it is a way out of poverty, and state sponsorship of such a system amounts to oppression of the poor.
- Psychology and Social Work. Implementation of a state lottery will make it that much more likely that those individuals who have a predisposition to compulsive gambling will begin gambling and become addicted. This increases the social services burden on the state as such individuals suffer family and financial problems.
- Mathematics. Those who play the lottery in an attempt to improve their financial condition are working against themselves, since the theory of expected value shows that the more money bet on the lottery, the more you expect to lose. Most lottery players do not have a good concept of what one chance in several million really means.
- Finance. If you invest $100 per week in Powerball tickets from your 18th birthday until your 65th birthday, you still have less than a 1 in 300 chance of winning the Powerball during that time span. If, instead, you invest that same amount at 5% interest, you will have nearly $1,000,000 by age 65. In comparison, the lottery is a very poor investment.
- Politics. The lottery is, by its nature, a source of revenue for the state, not a source of expenditure. The legislature currently has the authority to spend any source of revenue in any area, including education. Analysis of lotteries from other states shows that spending on education as a percentage of revenue does not significantly increase after passage of a lottery. Coupling the lottery with education spending is misleading at best and deceptive politics at worst.
Furthermore, the method of administration of the lottery has not been decided, and will not be decided by vote of the people. Tennessee has a poor record of administering gambling activities, as witnessed by the bingo fiasco in the 1980s, when several were sent to prison for corruption.