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QUESTION: Does the Bible say anything about gambling?


ANSWER: The Bible does not mention gambling.  It does speak of “casting lots” in eight places but in six of those passages we see it being used to make a decision.   Never was casting a lot a gamble in the strictest sense of the word.  Even when soldiers cast lots for Jesus’ garment it was not gambling because none of them stood to lose anything.  No one had “put up” or bet anything.  They simply were making a decision as to who would keep the garment.


On three occasions the Word of God tells the Christian that he is to live by faith.  If there is one thing gambling is not, it is not living by faith; it is not trusting God, thus it is sin.  In addition consider the following statements from God’s Word:  “Thou shalt not covet…” (Exodus 20:17); “…he that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent.” (Proverbs 28:20); “But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts…” (1 Timothy 6:9); “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” (1 Timothy 6:10).


Gambling involves four elements.  First it is an unnecessary and foolish risk that you don’t have to take.  The risk is so high and the chance to win so slim that it has been given its own name: “gambling.”


Second, is has a selfish goal.  The primary objective is not to improve society but to win big bucks.  If your ‘excuse’ is that it helps support state education then why not give your money straight to the state education association?  It’s because you want to win big bucks.  Better yet, why not use it to spread the Gospel and lay up treasure in Heaven that won’t be lost (Matt 19:21)?


Third, there is no productive result or social improvement, in fact, just the opposite.  Every report I read seems to indicate that for every dollar raised from such sources, multiple more dollars are spent by law enforcement and the court and penal systems.  And what about the ancillary issues of poverty and drunkenness that tend to follow the casino and gambling crowd?


Finally, it is an attempt for personal gain at someone else’s expense.  The business isn’t pushed on communities by investors because they plan to lose money.  The odds are carefully stacked so that there will be more losers than winners.  The money a winner takes home comes largely from people with limited incomes who should be buying shoes and food for their families instead.


To put it simply, gambling corrupts.  The “get something for nothing” craze has undermined entire societies in the past and we are foolish to think we will be an exception.  So much more could be said.  But the bottom line is this, why aren’t you satisfied with God?