Methodists ease lottery ban

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The Independent Online
THE METHODIST Church decided yesterday to soften its ban on gambling by allowing tombolas and small lotteries on church premises, writes Andrew Brown.

A spokesman called the Methodist Conference's decision 'a quite dramatic change'. Methodists have traditionally opposed gambling of all sorts as the work of the devil. They still oppose football pools and the proposed national lottery, as well as larger- scale gambling on horses.

John Kennedy, a secretary in the Methodist Division of Social Responsibility, who presented the report urging liberalisation to the conference, said yesterday: 'Our chief concern is that Methodists should not go in for a game where one person's gain is another's loss. This will not soften our position on the national lottery. In fact, it will strengthen our stance if we're seen to be sensible and distinguish between different forms of gambling.'