Thursday, August 10, 2017

Plug Here, Unplug There

Some people hope Scott Blumstein's win of the World Series of Poker Main Event will lead to more legal online gambling on poker in the U.S. But in other places, the exact opposite is occurring.

Australia's Senate voted this week for what some news sources call a "ban" on playing "online poker legally." But one article quoted an email from PokerStars in April, that explains what's really going on:

It’s with great sadness that we have to say that if this bill is passed it means we will have to halt real money poker play for you and all other Australian players,” the email read.

We think this is about "real money" poker play - as in online cash games. That's because there are plenty of sites in the U.S. where you can play poker, and even win prizes. But they're free to enter.

Australian officials made it clear their concern is about stopping "problem gambling" - as in addictive behavior. Our dictionary defines "addict" as "to have or give (oneself) habitually or compulsively." Based on that, religious anti-gambling groups can sound like they're encouraging a swap of one "addiction" for another:
Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long. - Psalm 119:97

All day?!?! Does that mean a believer in God should lock himself in a room and only read the Bible (especially the first five books) from sunrise to sunset? Well....
Rejoice always; pray without ceasing.... - I Thessalonians 5:16-17 (NASB)

So are we supposed to only speak to God all day as well?!

Those seem like very extreme views to us. And the Bible tries to balance out that thinking....
For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: "If a man will not work, he shall not eat." - II Thessalonians 3:10

Time by ourselves with God is good. He established a Sabbath day for that (among other reasons). But people who cloister themselves non-stop and don't do anything else might be surprised when "manna from heaven" stops.

People can become addicted to all sorts of things, from poker games to religious cults. We think the key is to have a balanced approach in life - and add God to that balance, if He is missing. That's where we think many people go astray:
"For in him we live and move and have our being." As some of your own poets have said, "We are his offspring." - Acts 17:28

Without God, you wouldn't have life - much less a brain to make decisions at a poker table. Plug Him in to your life agenda, even if it means tossing a few things away.

No comments: