State Lotteries and College Gambling Bans

October 19, 2009

Harding University announced Friday that it will consider the new state lottery in Arkansas to be off limits to students, the Associated Press reported. The new lottery supports college scholarships, and Harding officials earlier said that the university's ban on gambling did not apply to the lottery. David Burks, president of the university, which is affiliated with the Church of Christ, said: "My intention [in the original policy] was to express in our policy the reality that it will be very difficult to enforce any prohibition against the lottery. In an attempt to avoid one appearance of hypocrisy, I made a decision that has itself come to be viewed as hypocritical." While several public universities in the state ban gambling on campus, their policies do not apply to student conduct off campus. Religious colleges in the state, however, typically have student codes of conduct that extend off campus. The AP said that Ouachita Baptist University considers the lottery to be included in its ban against gambling. John Brown University, a nondenominational Christian college, has a policy discouraging gambling by students, but officials told the AP that there would likely be little punishment for students who play the lottery.

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