The sin of gambling is numerous and is self evident by how many lives it destroys. The lotto is the biggest form of gambling in America and it literally destroys all who touch it. When people buy lotto tickets in lieu of paying their bills, buying groceries, or using their money to take care of basic needs, it is a sin. It’s a sin because one is seeking to be rich without working for their gain. We have a candidate this year in 2016, Donald Trump, which not only promotes gambling, he owns several casinos across the country. Suddenly America has their candidate of greed and excess and now he wants to seize power over it. Who is to say, perhaps God will allow this very greedy and adulterous man to do just that in order to punish this country for its excess. Time will tell. Proverbs 28:20 states, “A faithful man will abound with blessings, but he who hastens to be rich will not go unpunished.”
Gambling has been around since about 2000 B.C. In the United States Gamblers Anonymous is growing rapidly and in the state of Minnesota, it has grown from one chapter to 53 in a few years. This should cause Bible teachers to teach the truth on this subject as well as related subjects of the flesh. This would help cut down on the number of young people having difficulty in this area. The sad part is that some of God’s children will be lost because of gambling.
A 2005 study showed that 85% of adults in the United States gambled at least once in their lives, and 80% of them had gambled in the past year. Online gambling has grown quite a lot since that time. In 2007, according to a Topline Findings report, 23 million Americans played poker regularly, and 15 million of them played online for real money. Of those, 7 million of them played online poker for real money at least once per month. The numbers have fallen since US government crackdowns in the past few years.Americans in the 43 states where lotteries are legal spent $70 billion on lotto games in 2014. That’s more than $230 for every man, woman, and child in those states—or $300 for each adult. That’s more than Americans in all 50 states spent on sports tickets, books, video games, movie tickets, and recorded music sales. What’s really sad is that the lotto appeals to the poorest among us in hopes for a quick fix for all their financial woes.
Interestingly, gambling cannot be smelled on the breath and yet the wives of compulsive gamblers are said to be four times as apt to commit suicide. Ruined homes, divorces, widows, orphans, lost jobs, and an end-less list of related problems come with gambling. Will this not have an adverse effect on weak Christians, including preachers who are undecided on the subject.
Did you know, that playing the lottery is the most common form of gambling in the U.S.A.? No doubt that is why some Christians are caught up in it. It is just down the street. Are we appealing to our strengths or weaknesses in playing the lottery? 99.99% will be losers? For you to win, millions will have to lose. When a church or nation looks to man’s weakness to raise money, not caring that it will destroy his character, that is pure evil. The love of money is the root of all evil and gambling is the love of money!
Castings lots. Is this a form of gambling revealed in the Bible? The difference between gambling and casting lots is that this was a form of decision making. The results were in the hand of God. “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord” (Prov. 16:33). See also Acts 1:21-24.
Gambling leads to other sins. When they are on a losing streak and money is short they will often borrow from the household money or from their employer or steal ( Eph. 4:28). After an extended period of borrowing from friends, unable to repay them, the gambler will find the only friends he has are those of the game. When a gospel preacher or teacher gives bad advice or no advice on gambling and drinking, they can very well be assisting in a failed business, failed marriage, or a suicide. Though there are varied excuses for gambling (boredom, husband or wife drinks, runs around, or is gone a lot), a Christian will not turn to the works of Satan but will seek God’s help (Psa. 46:1).
Are gamblers sick? As in the problem social drinker, the idea that the gambler was immoral or sinful has passed, they are just sick. Gambling is referred to as a disease and is also called a “disorder of impulse control.” Since chemical treatment with Alcoholics Anonymous is already established, they have been prompted to include compulsive gamblers. It is thought that gamblers are “punishing themselves” rather than suffering from greed or covetousness. “So are the ways of everyone who is greedy for gain” (Prov. 1:19). “He who is greedy for gain troubles his own house” (Prov. 15:17). Gambling is sinful, whether it is the one armed bandits or the lottery.
Parents need to be so careful before their children and their friends. They are known to imitate their parents. Professional gambling houses consider gamblers as mice. They say that when they put fifty new slot machines in, there are simply fifty more mouse traps to catch the mice with. Is that what we want our children to be (Eph. 6:4)? When Christians (?) get up car load of friends (other Christians) to go to Reno, Las Vegas or Atlantic City to gamble, can it be anything but a work of the flesh? 1 Thessalonians 5:22 says, “Abstain from every form of evil.” Also, 1 Timothy 6:10 states, “For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” He warns us to stay away, for sorrows will come.
The Lord will bless us in this life. “And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth” (Deut. 8:18). “Both riches and honor come from You … ” (1 Chron. 29:12). We are warned in 1 Timothy 6:17 “. . . not to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy.”
There are proper ways to obtain money or wealth. Work (Eph. 4:28 f; 2 Thess. 3:12) Exchange: money or goods (Lydia, Acts 16:14 ff; Luke 22:36; Acts 4:32-37) Gifts (Eph. 4:28 f; Matt. 2:11) Investment returns and interest (Matt. 25:7)
Gambling income does not fall into these classifications. ‘ It is an unscriptural way of obtaining wealth. Gambling is covetousness which is idolatry. God’s plan calls for work (Eph. 4:28), exchange (Acts 4:34), giving of gifts (Matt. 2:11).
If we are seeking wealth, Solomon says, “The blessing of the Lord makes one rich, and He adds not sorrow with it” (Prov. 10:22). Remember 2 Thessalonians 3:10: “If we don’t work, we don’t eat.” Proverbs 12:11, “He who tills his land will be satisfied with bread, but he who follow frivolity is devoid of understanding.”
Remember gambling (the lottery included) is addictive just like all sin! If sin wasn’t irresistible, few would be doing it. Resist it (Jam 4:7), abstain from it (1 Thess. 5:22), and flee from it (1 Cor. 10:14)!