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Jersey sanctions harm to families

[Jesus continued the parallel …] “But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other.     Luke 18: 13, 14


Three days ago in the States of Jersey, the Island’s single-camera parliament, Regulations were approved that will harm, hurt, damage, and emotionally destroy many people in years to come.


Some will callously say, “That won’t affect us because the harmed people won’t be in Jersey.”


That does not stop my inner crying about the pain of it all. I hate causing pain – even if I never meet the victims. (We often hear calls for criminals to be brought face to face with their victims. I would support such a call for our States Members to meet them all – in due course.)


What is all this about? The Gambling (Remote Gambling) (Jersey) Regulations, approved last Tuesday, enables any person with internet access anywhere in the world to gamble in private unseen.


The British Gambling Prevalence Survey 2010, released last Wednesday by the National Centre for Social Research, illustrates the terrible harm that Jersey is unleashing from its tiny jurisdiction.


·         73% of the British population (over 16) engage in gambling (2007 – 68%).

·         More than half (56%) of the British population participate in gambling other than the National Lottery (2007 – 48%)

·         14% of the British population used the internet for gambling

·         Those who gamble do so almost twice a week

·         An estimated 450,000 people (0.8% of adults) in Britain are definite problem gamblers and a further 2,000,000 in Britain are classified as “at risk”.

·         High-time high-spend gamblers were more likely to live in areas of greatest deprivation, to live in low income households and to be unemployed. This group preferred casino games, including online.


Jersey will now “go-for-it” in this area. The UK population is tiny compared with the total number of internet users worldwide. And Jersey is saying, “this is a prime example of beneficial economic diversification.”


Diversification? Jersey has expended much effort and money – through Jersey Finance Limited and in other ways – in order to assure the world that its finance industry is not harmful to poorer countries in particular.


The fact that the Gambling (Remote Gambling) (Jersey) Regulations will shortly come into force will not assist these claims for the finance industry on which Jersey is now totally reliant for all its public services and infrastructure.


But what am I personally to do? How can I escape guilt for the harm that is to be done to so many around the world? More: how can I be free of guilt whilst “enjoying” the proceeds of such a perverse industry based in the home island that I love?


See bold above. Yes, I’m a “tax-collector”. Taxes, including States gambling revenues, are collected on my behalf. I must have recourse to the only source of forgiveness for me: Jesus Christ, Son of Man, Son of God.


In the above parallel of Jesus a Pharisee gets first mention. The Pharisees were a politico-religious party. In AD 30 many were members of the Sanhedrin, the Jerusalem ruling Council.


This is what Jesus said. “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week. I give tithes of all I possess.’ ....”


No, we’re not extortioners........ It’s just that Richard Syvret thinks he is.


He does. And he’s dreadfully sorry before all – and before the LORD of all.

‘Am I my brother’s keeper? (Cain, the first murderer, in response to the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, Genesis 4: 9)
 ‘With the same heart that men die, with that heart they will rise again.’ (J C Ryle, Author and Preacher, 1816-1900)
Richard Syvret

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