EVEN though Good Friday remains one of the few blanks in the British racing calendar, the nation's biggest bookmaking chains are set to open the doors to the majority of their betting shops tomorrow for the first time in a controversial move which looks set to have major repercussions among staff and also will be met with consternation by the Church of England and other faith groups.
Most shops will be open for business as usual tomorrow after changes in the law mean that for the first time since betting shops were legalised over 40 years ago, cash betting can now take place on Good Friday. Previously, under the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Act 1963, it was illegal for licensed betting offices to open, or for betting at racecourses to take place on both Good Friday and Christmas Day. However, when the Gambling Act 2005 came into effect in September last year, prohibitions relating to Good Friday were abolished.
From Australia, 2009:
SYDNEY - Tabcorp says its punters want to bet on Good Friday, but its outlets will only operate if staff are willing to work.
The decision to open TABs on Good Friday for the first time ever has drawn widespread condemnation from politicians, anti-gambling groups and religious organisations.
Rob Nason, managing director of Tabcorp, told Macquarie Radio they were "last to the market" because gambling was already occurring on Good Friday in pubs, clubs and the casino.
From Ireland, 2010:
A Limerick judge ruled that the city's 110 pubs can open April 2, because the city is hosting a major Irish rugby match attracting tens of thousands of visitors.Such a judgment would have been unthinkable in the Ireland of old, where the Catholic Church enjoyed unquestioned authority from the public and deference from the government.Commentators were quick to suggest that the judgment represented a watershed in the shifting relations between church and state in this country."This could be the beginning of the end of Good Friday, because now legislation will have to be changed," said a jubilant David Hickey, one of the Limerick pub owners who successfully sued the state for the right to do business like any other Friday. "The option should be given to let publicans open if they want to and close if they want to. Today was a huge decision in that direction."
From the United States, 2013:
With the move, the [Baltimore] Ravens will now become the first defending champion to open on the road since Tampa Bay opened at Philadelphia in 2003. The NFL opener has been held on Thursday night in each season since 2004, except for last season when it was held on Wednesday to avoid conflict with President Obama's speech at the Democratic National Convention.
The NFL had previously ruled out moving the game to Wednesday night this season because it conflicts with Rosh Hashanah.
Nine Catholic schools played NCAA Tournament basketball games on Good Friday in 2008. Four Sweet Sixteen games were played this year with not even a ripple of controversy, despite the NCAA Tourney now having reached such a level that it is competing with the Super Bowl as the biggest gambling event in sports.
78 percent of Americans are Christian, less than 2 percent are Jewish.
Four countries that seem to be making a deliberate effort to distract their Christian citizens from solemn observations of the most somber day on the Christian calendar. Meanwhile, the NFL will not even consider playing a game on a religious holiday celebrated by a statistically insignificant portion of American citizens.
One cannot fail to observe how big-time sports is being used to destroy one particular faith and the Western cultures that traditionally embraced it.