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Statement in Support of Senate Bill 50: Commission on Gambling Addiction

By Julie Varner, Associate Director for Social Concerns

Senate Finance Committee (01/27/09)

The Conference offers this testimony in support of Senate Bill 50.

SB 50 would establish a Commission on Gambling in the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, which would be responsible for studying the effects and costs of gambling addiction, proposing solutions to it and working to improve programs for its prevention and treatment.

The Catholic Church holds that gambling is not intrinsically evil or immoral, but it becomes morally problematic when it interferes with an individual’s other duties or responsibilities. Observing that “the passion for gambling risks becoming an enslavement,” the Catechism of the Catholic Church highlights the need for moderation to avoid addictions and unhealthy behaviors.

With the impending introduction of major slot-machine gambling facilities to the State, Maryland must be prepared for the gambling addiction related challenges that lie ahead. Establishing a Commission on Gambling via the passage of SB 50 is a timely, wise, and forward-thinking way to make these preparations. Thank you for your consideration.