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Is Gambling a Sin - New Answers to an Old Question

Religious gambling enthusiasts sometimes question whether gambling is a sin. With some people destroying their lives and families because of an unhealthy relationship with gambling, while the Bible does not explicitly prohibit gambling, this is a complex and controversial subject. In this article, we will logically examine the nature of gambling and make reasonable conclusions based on quotations from the Bible.
29.04.2022
Is Gambling a Sin - New Answers to an Old Question

Table of Contents:
Laziness and idleness
Greed
Self-Destruction
Money
Conclusion

Laziness and idleness

Among the real harms done to people by gambling can be the abandonment of labour for the opportunity to gain money without putting any effort into it. Let us address Proverbs 10:4 first: “A slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich”.

Next, gambling can be seen as a time-wasting activity or as a display of laziness, which causes idleness, one of the cardinal sins. Ecclesiastes 10:18 answers that as follows: “Through sloth, the roof sinks in and through indolence the house leaks”. 

Greed

Gambling addiction causes the greatest harm because both losing and winning stimulate a person to continue gambling. If a player wins, they are almost always faced with greed. If a player is unlucky, they have a desire to win back.

Let us take a look at Proverbs 21:5 to try to find an answer to that: “Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty”.

In addition, the gamble is often so fascinating that people may forget their responsibilities: to God, to family, to friends, and so on. This is well described in 1 Timothy 6:9: “Those who want to be rich, however, fall into temptation and become ensnared by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction”. 

Self-Destruction

In the pursuit of winning, a person easily forgets about their boundaries, obligations, and moral values; the game encourages different sins, the main of which are cursing, swearing, and deception. The player, under the influence of negative emotions, may also cheat and betray, violate a contract, and deceive their family members.

As Timothy 6:10 states: “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, which some people eager for money have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows”.

This situation is also perfectly summarised in Mark 8:36: “For what does it benefit someone to gain the whole world and yet lose his life?”

Money

Gambling abuse, as well as an unwise attitude to it, may cause significant problems with one’s money. You should always remember that gambling is just a form of recreation, where you can either win money or lose it. You should treat this fact with understanding so that you can lose on a bad day your planned budget dedicated especially for that matter, and not have negative emotions.

Trying to win back right after a loss is always a bad idea, for most likely, you are no longer thinking rationally under the influence of emotions, and this is a good time to stop the game in order not to do anything bad.

A lot of gamblers borrow money when they want to get even, which makes their situation even worse, and the result is like in Proverbs 22:7: “The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender”.

The Bible is very clear about the love for money, for example, Ecclesiastes 5:10 says: “He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity”.

Since the Bible has no clear guidelines on how to deal with gambling, all we can do is think logically and consistently. Casinos, sports bets, lotteries, poker clubs, and other similar establishments, while advertising their services, emphasise the positive emotions that they promise their clients. But it is clear to everyone that the reason for these emotions is the possibility of easy earnings, which is clearly mentioned in Proverbs 13:11: “Wealth from mendacious actions leading to quick money disappears as swiftly; wealth from hard work grows over time”.

Only a very small percentage of clients come to casinos just for the gambling process. Many always hope to get away with easy money. And that is why a visit to a casino, which is also a way of entertainment, is fundamentally different from a visit to a theatre, an outdoor walk, or other useful activities.

See this quote from Hebrews 13:5: “Don’t love money and be content with what you have. For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you”.

Some people believe that playing the lottery is not gambling, but in fact, it is the same option to get money going the easy way, and whether you prefer purchasing lottery tickets or you’d rather bet on roulette numbers, your goal is the same: a quick profit without labour, and we have written about this before. Even if you are giving away such a large sum to charity, you need to understand that god and money are not really correlated, and you are just taking money away from other people. 

Conclusion

Of course, not all sins are clearly defined in the Scripture, but the Bible is not a book of laws, and a reasonable person, in most cases, could come to the only right decision based on simple conclusions. The only reference in the Bible to any kind of gambling is found in the brief mention of casting lots, but that cannot be associated with modern gambling, so let's skip that in order to avoid making it complicated.

If you consider yourself a committed Christian, you should be able to choose the right path yourself. Matthew 6:24: “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and be enslaved to money”. From this quote, we can make a simple conclusion that we should not put money above all else in life, so even though gambling itself is not a sin, you must treat it with caution and not let greed blind you.

In general, we recommend all gamblers keep themselves in control while visiting a casino or another gambling facility. Don't let greed overshadow all your goodness, and treat gambling only as a form of fun, but not as a source of income.