Betting against ourselves

Smart phone betting and football players on pitch

I wonder what a Christian from another country might observe if they were to visit Britain? I’ve frequently written about what I noticed in America when living there as a British Christian, but perhaps it is time to turn the tables and reflect on my home country.

Looking with new eyes on the UK

Though I’m not American, I can tell you what struck me on my return from living there: the prevalence of gambling in the UK. From countless betting shops on our high streets to the proliferation of gambling adverts on TV, it’s everywhere. Consider the premier league, out of the 20 football teams that play in it, eight are sponsored by betting brands. When watching a match on TV, it’s impossible to avoid the endless gambling adverts that encourage bets as the game is played.

A worsening problem

Gambling addiction is a massive problem for the UK, and the situation is worsening since the number of people playing online to pass the time has exploded during lockdown. The government believes 0.5% of the UK’s adult population, 300,000 people, are problem gamblers, defined as causing harm to themselves and those around them. There are approximately 55,000 children that also fall into this category. These numbers shock and sadden me.

Others are noticing

Christian leaders have also noticed the problem and are speaking out. On Premier Radio, Bishop Alan Smith Bishop of St Albans conversed about the issue and highlights the number of people committing suicide due to gambling addiction.

Let us pray

God calls us, as Christians, to pray for the welfare of our nation and its people. Consequently, we ought to be praying that betting and gambling would play a far smaller role in people’s lives. The government is currently conducting a review of gambling legislation, and you can have your say before 31st March 2021 by clicking here.

An end to gambling

Let’s hope and pray that gambling addiction harms no more lives, and it is no longer a defining characteristic of British culture.

DislocatedChristians exists to create and support a community of like-minded people. Our prayer is that you’ll find some echoes of your dilemmas with church and culture in these pieces, and it will encourage you to know others have the same struggles. Please like, comment on or share our articles if you’ve found them helpful. We’d be immensely grateful if you could follow us, click towards the bottom of the page.

Just as we are each a work in progress, so too is DislocatedChristians. Sometimes we’ll get things wrong, and we hope that you’ll forgive us and continue to stick around when that happens.

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