Gambling can lead to ruining your life jh22

I remember Lou Hardin when he took over at the University of Central Arkansas and practically doubled the size of that university. He was the toast of the town and he could do no wrong. However, he started gambling and the result was that he lost everything. The Arkansas Times reported on September 17, 2011:

THE HARDINS: Mary Hardin wrote court about her husband Lu: “I also hope you’ll see the other side of what you’ve been told about Lu. He is remorseful, contrite, and completely humbled.

  • THE HARDINS: Mary Hardin wrote court about her husband Lu: “I also hope you’ll see the other side of what you’ve been told about Lu. He is remorseful, contrite, and completely humbled.” (Photo by Brian Chilson)

Chuck Banks, the attorney for Lu Hardin, filed his pleading yesterday in federal court asking for leniency in sentencing Sept. 26 for Hardin, the former University of Central Arkansas president who has pleaded guilty to wire fraud in a bonus scheme he worked out in part to cover gambling debts.

Here’s the complete filing. From it:

The following factors are presented for the Court’s consideration in granting a probationary or alternative sentence, not as an excuse for Hardin’s behavior, but so that the Court can see the true man. These factors include: (1) Hardin’s acceptance of responsibility, extreme remorse and post-offense rehabilitation; (2) Hardin’s lifetime of service to the public and charitable organizations; (3) Hardin’s almost immediate payment of full restitution; (4) Hardin’s cooperation and other punishments already suffered because of the offense; and (5) Hardin’s recovering gambling addition.

So the question for readers: Has Hardin been punished enough by the public embarrassment and job and professional losses he’s experienced?

The complete filing is worth reading. It contains a biography (left fielder on a championship American Legion baseball team); has excerpts from many of the letters written in his behalf (son Scott Hardin: ” … the most honest man I have ever met. He has always been quick to call penalties on himself on the golf course, teaching me it is the only way to play the game….”), and it addresses the gambling that helped land him in court.

As explained in several of the letters of support provided to the Court, Lu Hardin has lived a life that has been a positive influence on others. He has been in an unquestioned faithful marriage for more than thirty years and he does not drink, smoke, or curse.

Approximately twelve years ago while on vacation, Hardin and his wife first played legal slot machines. He has never participated in any illegal gambling and in fact did not participate in any other form of legal gambling such as wagering on cards, dice, horses, or sporting events. His sole endeavor was slot machines which are known to be one of the most addictive forms of gambling. Although he was very financially stable when he began playing slot machines, what began as small stakes entertainment elevated to playing high stakes slot machines resulting in significant losses.

Hardin’s prior financial responsibility had him debt free at age 39 including owning a home in Russellville, Arkansas that was completely paid for. However, Hardin progressed from solid financial responsibility to deep debt. Lu Hardin took great pains accompanied with significant personal anguish to keep his legal wagering and the accompanying losses from his church, his friends, his board, other professionals, and any associated with the public except his wife.

Last year Hardin recognized he truly had an issue and has been attending Gamblers Anonymous since that date. He has been working the program, has a sponsor, and has not gambled in any shape, form, or fashion. Hardin has been proactive in his rehabilitation from gambling addiction and is ready to move forward with his life never entering a casino again.


John Brummett revisited the issue after Lu Hardin was sentenced in  a very good article.

Here is an excellent article from

  • Michael Vlach, Author
  • Friday, October 15, 2004

An old joke asks: How can you tell when a gambler is lying? Answer: When his lips are moving. Unfortunately, this is often true for people who are addicted to gambling.

In his book Chance to Change, Michael Vlach explains that gambling and lying go hand in hand. “Problem gamblers usually do not have to think about lying and deception-it comes naturally,” he says. “To whom do problem gamblers lie? Everyone. This includes his or her spouse, parents, children, other relatives, friends, neighbors, employers, and coworkers. Gamblers also lie to themselves and to God.”

For a problem gambler, lying takes many forms. It may be saying you “broke even” at the casino, when really you lost $400. Or, it may mean telling your spouse you had to work late, when in reality you were at the racetrack. Or saying you lost a nice piece of jewelry that you really sold to the local pawnshop so you would have money to gamble.

Reflecting on her days as a problem gambler, Jane says, “I was beginning to lie to my own parents. Even to my own husband. I was beginning to believe my own lies; that’s the saddest thing.”

The same was true for Andy. “I lied to bill collectors about why I wasn’t getting my bills paid on time. ‘Oh, I’ve sent the check today,’ or, ‘I just got injured.’ I’d give them the sob story,” he states.

Lying can involve living a secret life, deception, manipulation, and even blaming others. Lying also involves rationalizations A gambler might think, everyone has his or her own form of recreation, mine just happens to be gambling. Or, I don’t have a gambling problem. You should see Joe; he loses a lot more money than I do.

No matter what the excuse is, there is one form of lying that is especially prevalent among problem gamblers. Vlach says, “Most problem gamblers are in denial. They have a cancer called gambling addiction that is killing them, and they refuse to see it. Those closest to the gambler clearly see it, but the gambler says, ‘I don’t have a gambling problem.'”

Embracing the Truth

God is “the God of truth” (Psalm 31:5). And He cannot lie (Hebrews 6:18). In fact, God hates lying. So how does a person who has lived a life of lying change his ways? He must not only commit to putting away all forms of lying, he must also actively embrace the truth.

If you have had trouble with gambling, remember, the truth will set you free. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). Take Andy’s advice: “Life is good when you don’t have to lie.”

8 Most Common Lies Gamblers Tell Themselves

Gambling addiction and lying go hand in hand. The following lists the 8 most common lies gamblers tell themselves.

1. “One more trip to gamble won’t hurt.”

2. “I need to go gamble to see my friends.”

3. “I’m a loser, so who cares if I gamble.”

4. “I deserve to gamble, because I have had a hard week.”

5. “Gambling is how I handle stress.”

6. “Nobody is perfect; everyone has problems; gambling just happens to be mine.”

7. “This is the last time I’m going to gamble.”

8. “Gambling isn’t my problem; other people are the real problem.”

Originally posted in CW Finances in Oct. 2004.

Adapted from Chance to Change: Help for Problem Gamblers by Michael Vlach. Used by permission of the author.

Church Initiative has created a 13-week video series for churches entitled Chance to Change: Christ-Centered Gambling Recovery. This resource empowers churches to reach problem gamblers in their communities. The videos feature instruction from forty Christian counselors, pastors, and financial experts. For more information, visit You can also view their other resources at

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