Most Protestant pastors oppose sports gambling and its legalization, a position placing them at odds with much of society and even with their own congregations.
“The large majority of pastors oppose sports betting,” Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research, said in comments published with results of a new survey on the subject. “And pastors are willing to put their ministry where their mouth is by being ready to help those hurt by gambling and to discourage people from participating.”
Of the 1,000 pastors surveyed, 59 percent said it is “morally wrong to bet on sports,” while 32 percent disagreed with that statement.
Plenty of people other than ministers also disagree. According to LifeWay Research, almost two-thirds of Americans disagree that sports gambling is wrong. Only 31 percent of Americans are in line with pastors’ opposition to it.
“Twice as many Americans than pastors see no moral dilemma with sports betting,” McConnell said. “There is even a gap within the church as less than half of weekly churchgoers say sports gambling is morally wrong.”
The disparity continues with younger pastors who have less of a problem with sports betting than their older peers, the survey found.
LifeWay Research found that 52 percent of 18- to 44-year-olds say it is morally wrong to bet on sports, while 61 percent of those 45 and older agree.
Mainline pastors are more accepting of the practice, at 35 percent, compared to 28 percent among evangelicals.
Significant majorities of Baptist (71 percent), Pentecostal (69 percent) and Methodist (63 percent) pastors oppose betting on sports.
The LifeWay Research study follows a 2018 decision by the Supreme Court to strike down a 1992 law prohibiting state-authorized sports gambling outside of Nevada.
Network documents Gardner-Webb hoops
Gardner-Webb University and its men’s basketball team will be featured in a sports television special at 3 p.m. April 7 — the weekend of the NCAA Final Four — on CBS.
The university announced the broadcast this week, explaining that a network film crew had captured “the excitement, energy and mayhem of Gardner-Webb’s first NCAA Tournament appearance in school history.”
On March 22, the team lost 71-56 in the first round of the ongoing tournament to the Virginia Cavaliers.
The crew captured the March Madness atmosphere on campus from the perspective of students Jada Robbs and Will Marvel.
Their stories, the university said, will be included in CBS’s documentary series “Four Sides of the Story,” in an episode titled “March Madness Begins.”
The segment delves into the NCAA Tournament’s first week through four viewpoints – including student engagement at Gardner-Webb.
“I wanted to speak on the opportunities the University has given me and how it has impacted my life over the last four years,” Marvel said in the university news release.