Does the Bible Condemn Gambling?

Does the Bible Condemn Gambling?
February 27, 2022
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Gambling is one of those things that seem to be more and more prevalent in our society than ever before. At least, as far as casino gambling. Gambling is something that is popular. It was banned in this country for a long time, for many years, in the early 20th century it was banned. It became legal again in the state of Nevada in 1931. 

Later horse tracks and dog tracks and other forms of legalized gambling were legalized in various places. In 1977 the first legal casinos outside of the state of Nevada were built in Atlantic City, New Jersey. There have been thousands of casinos in just about every state.

Not only casinos and race tracks but nearly every state has a state lottery which is essentially state instituted gambling. Recently we see the rise of online gambling, and sports gambling. 

We see it everywhere around us.

Sometimes, people will ask, where does the Bible condemn gambling? 

That word, gambling, is not found in the Bible. You will not find that word, but like many sins, you will not find "Thou shalt not smoke marijuana." It is nonetheless, like other sins, it is condemned in principle.

We'll look at eight principles that condemn the vice of gambling.

8 Principles of Found in the Bible that Condemn Gambling

1- Gambling is a Violation of Faithful Stewardship

The Bible teaches that that which we own belongs to the Lord. Gambling empires are built upon people losing and not winning.

Some people become highly addicted to gambling. To risk losing our Father's money on games of chance is very poor stewardship.

  • 1 Corinthians 4:1-2

He's talking about stewardship of the gospel. But, whatever type of stewardship we find ourselves in we have to be faithful.

  • Luke 12:42

Again, a steward needs to make the best use of what has been given him.

  • 1 Peter 4:10

All that God has given us financially, is given to us for our use and belongs to God. We are to use it for His purposes.

2- Gambling Ignores the Law of Love

Gambling is a zero-sum game. There is always a winner and a loser. Gambling is stealing by deception.

The law of love says we are to treat others as we want to be treated. To gamble to try to take the money of another is not to show love.

State lotteries prey upon the poor. Data research shows that most lottery tickets are bought in poor neighborhoods, by people of minorities. Powerball isn't always the problem. It's the little scratchers that make the most money from people, hoping to win one or two hundred dollars. The lottery prays upon the poor.

Thus, it breaks the law of love.

  • Matthew 22:39
  • Romans 13:10
  • 1 Corinthians 10:24

We aren't to seek another's wealth but we are to seek another's benefit. 

3- Gambling is Dishonest

Gambling places your prosperity in the hands of Lady Luck, rather than a fair exchange of value for value.

  • 2 Thessalonians 3:10
  • Ephesians 4:28

Gambling is an attempt for dishonest gain.

4- Gambling Enslaves Through Addiction

It is highly addictive. According to the National Gambling Impact Study, about 15 to 20 million adults and adolescents have either problems or pathological gambling addictions. Which is about 5 to 7 percent of the US population. If you take 15 million people, place them in an average-sized NFL football stadium, that holds 70,000 people, you could fill 214 stadiums to capacity with people who have problems with gambling. 

According to a Washington Post article, the National Gambling Impact Study Commission found that having a casino within 50 miles doubles one's likelihood to become a problem gambler. It enslaves through addiction.

There are principles in the New Testament that require Christians to exhibit self-control and not addiction. 

  • 1 Corinthians 6:12

Anything that brings us under its power and influences us away from God is something we should avoid like the plague.

  • Galatians 5:23

When one becomes addicted to gambling they lose their self-control.

It is enslavement through addiction.

5- Gambling Sets an Evil Example

How many parents who truly love their children want them to experience the negative consequences of gambling addiction. Your influence on others either makes this world a better place or leads your friends, neighbors, and family further away from Christ. 

Which of the following Biblical principles does gambling violate?

  • Romans 12:17

Gambling is dishonest. We're to provide things honest in the sight of men.

  • 1 Timothy 4:12

A disciple follows Christ's example.

  • 1 Timothy 5:14

Wordly people even recognize gambling to be a vice. They may do it anyway. But when they see a Christian gambling it gives them an occasion to be evil spoken of.

  • 2 Peter 2:2

The example of a Christian gambling brings a negative light to the truth.

6- Gambling is Often a Gateway to Crime

Gambling is often associated with other crimes, stealing, prostitution.

The study, "Casinos, Crime, and Community Costs, " published in 2006, in the Review of Economics and Statistics, by Economist Earl Grinols and David Mustard They examined crime rates in every county in the nation covering a period of 20 years from 1977 to 1996. It found that opening a casino led to local crime increased by an average of 8%. The study went on to show that it began to increase after 5-7 years of being built.

Those chasing the elusive pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, end up in a life of theft to fund their gambling debts.

  • Romans 13:9

One who is addicted to drugs, alcohol, or gambling will resort to almost anything to get their next fix. There is a connection between the crime rate and casino gambling. Gambling is a gateway to crime. 

7- Gambling Destroys Families

According to the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, AAMFT, more than a family's financial health is at stake when gambling problems enter the picture. The discovery of the extent of losses is often sudden and devastating. This takes a toll on the emotional and physical health of both the gambler and the spouse. In desperation, some problem gamblers turn to crimes such as forgery, fraud, theft, and embezzlement. Adolescent children of those who with gambling problems are at increased risk of depressive feelings, conduct problems, and gambling problems. Depression, anxiety, and substance abuse are often associated with serious gambling issues.

Ultimately, gambling will mean you will always lose, because the house always wins. Gambling destroys homes. Gambling takes food, clothing, and medical care away from families.

  • 1 Timothy 5:8

In gambling, you are losing money or taking it from someone else. Thus, you are either depriving your family, of something that they need.

8- Gambling Leads to Problems with Mental Health

Gambling is the enemy of mental peace. It brings fear and anxiety. It creates an obsession with money that consumes the gambler.

  • 1 Timothy 6:6-10

Those that desire wealth, above all else, fall into temptation and a snare that the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. Think of all the evil that stems from greed. The gambler brings a lot of sorrow upon themselves. The suicide rate among gamblers is very high.

We need to stay away from this activity. 

Does the Bible condemn gambling? Yes, while you won't find the words associated with gambling in the Bible. But, in principle, you will see that the Bible does, in fact, condemn gambling. Like any sin, gambling will destroy our souls. 

The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life.

The moment you sin, you fall under the guilt and wages of sin, that being death. The good news is that Jesus died for you so that you can have the opportunity to go be with Him in Heaven. If you believe this, you believe in God and the sacrifice of Jesus, you can repent of your sins, confess your belief, and be baptized for the remission of your sin. 

If you are a Christian who hasn't been faithful you can repent and turn back to Him. The second law of pardon is that you repent, confess your sins and turn back to God.

If we can help you to overcome gambling or other sins that you may find yourself in, please contact us

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