Categories: Apologetics & Theology

God's Attitude Toward Gambling

Nena Arias | June 10, 2013

When people gamble they place their faith on the gods of “good luck” and “bad luck” instead of the true and living God.  This is offensive to God and it will bring negative consequences.   Isaiah 65:11 “But you who have forsaken the Eternal, you who ignore his sacred hill, spreading tables to Good Luck, pouring libations to Fate, I make sword your fate.”   The fact that the State makes it legal to gamble does not make it right in the eyes of God. 

Careful reading of Scripture makes it clear gambling is an evil to be avoided. 

1.  Gambling is wrong because it is a disregard of responsible stewardship

  • All things belong to God, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it” Psalm 24:1.  Since all things belong to God, people are placed in the position of stewards who must give a proper accounting for everything given to them in trust. 
  • People who dedicate themselves to God will also recognize that all they possess must be handled as a stewardship because it is not theirs but God’s.  Matthew 25:14-30. God gives talents and resources that must be honestly accounted for.  Even the world will not tolerate those who gamble with resources put in their trust.  For the Christian, to gamble is a total prostitution of God-given assets, which should be used to glorify God and advance His kingdom. 

2.  Gambling is wrong because it involves a chance of gain at the expense and suffering of others.

  • The nature of gambling is such that a person has a chance at gain only because others have suffered loss and usually those who can least afford it.  Christians ought to love their neighbors as themselves.  The principle of love will prevent Christians from gambling because of the damage it does to others.  “Thou shalt not covet they neighbor’s goods…” Exodus 20:17.  

 3.  Gambling is wrong because it is inconsistent with the work ethic of Scripture

  • In Scripture the importance of work is emphasized.  “…if a man will not work, he shall not eat” 2 Thessalonians 3:10.  
  • Scripture also warns against the something for nothing, get-rich-quick approach. “One eager to get rich will not go unpunished”  Proverbs 28:20.  “He that hastens to be rich has an evil (envious) eye, and does not consider that poverty shall come upon him”  Proverbs 28:22.  “Dishonest money dwindles away, but he who gathers money little by little makes it grow.” Proverbs 13:11. 
  • In the Garden of Eden, the work assignment was given and never rescinded.  Any effort to circumvent the work ethic of Scripture can result only in failure.  Gambling, whether to secure wealth in a hurry or to place bread on the table is inconsistent with what the Bible teaches about work.  

4.  Gambling is wrong because it tends to be habit forming

  • Gambling, like other evils, has a tendency to become an addiction.  Compulsive gamblers, like drug addicts or alcoholics, will risk not only money, but everything meaningful in life.  They lose control.  The Christian will refuse to be brought under the power even of lawful things.  “All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything.” I Corinthians 6:12.  The person indwelled by the Holy Spirit will be characterized by temperance, or self-control. “… gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:23. 
  • Six symptoms develop in gamblers. 1) The activity becomes chronically repetitive; 2) It becomes a mania, which precludes all other interests, including the home; 3) A pathologic optimism replaces the ability to learn from previous losing experiences; 4) The ability to stop in a winning situation no longer exists; 5) In spite of initial decision to gamble only so much the addict invariable risks too much; 6) The activity seems to produce an enjoyable tension consisting of both pain and pleasure.  Gambling becomes an out-of-control compulsion.  Rather than being servants of God, they are servants of a desire they cannot handle.  “Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey?”  Romans 6:16.  The degrading possibility of addiction makes gambling evil.  

5.  Christian Responsibility in relation to Gambling 

  • When the clear truths of God’s Word are considered, Christians cannot adopt a neutral stance toward gambling.  There are responsibilities, which they cannot ignore. The Bible instructs believers, “whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” 1 Corinthians 10:31. It certainly includes gambling.  God is not glorified when people put their trust in chance rather than in the Lord.  The Bible teaches that we should “avoid every kind of evil” 1 Thessalonians 5:22.  No kind of practice that violates God’s principles can be considered anything but evil.  God’s word concerning stewardship is considerations for others and the dignity of honest labor.  We must do everything within our power to discourage the legalization of gambling, whether to raise money for charity, church or state. 

Adapted from: http://ag.org/top/Beliefs/Position_Papers/pp_downloads/pp_4186_gambling.pdf