Why It is a Sin to Gamble

Casinos have spread like a plague across the country, and it is largely the fault of Christians for not standing up against it. Worse yet, they are directly responsible for it because there were many elections about the lottery or casinos, and those bills could not have passed without “yes” votes from many Christians.

As strange as it may seem, there are actually many Christians who do not believe it is a sin to gamble, after all, there is no place in the Bible that says “thou shalt not play poker,” or even “thou shalt not gamble.” A May 2006 Pew Research Center survey said,

. . . 65 percent of adults disagreed with the statement that “it is morally wrong to gamble.” Seventy-five percent of Roman Catholics disagreed with the statement, as did 43 percent of white evangelical Protestants…. Gambling has become so commonplace, so much a part of American life, that Americans have forgotten the older arguments against betting.

It would probably surprise most people today to learn that the old Christian ethic disapproved of gambling not so much because a gambler might lose money and harm his family, although that was part of it; the larger concern was that he might win money and harm other families. (Plundering for fun: The moral problem with gambling has as much to do with winning as with losing, by Timothy Lamer. World Magazine, February 24, 2007, Vol. 22, No. 7)

The19th-century theologians Charles Hodge and R. L. Dabney both argued that gambling is a sin. Gambling violates the Eighth Commandment to love your neighbor as yourself because the eighth commandment requires “the lawful procuring and furthering the wealth and outward estate of ourselves and others,” said Dabney (Ibid). Gambling either harms your own finances or that of someone else. Dabney argued that giving up our money voluntarily is still a sin because a gambler’s motive in gambling is “namely: the hope of plundering his rival” (The Practical Philosophy, Quoted in Ibid).

Gambling is like robbery because when you win money from a casino you are really taking it from some other person who lost money moments before. It is not only a sin to gamble, it is even a sin to pretend-gamble; I will explain.

Some years ago I became interested in playing poker after watching The World Poker Tour on the Travel Channel. I then started playing poker with fake-money online; I even had thoughts of becoming a professional poker player. After all, poker tournament-players use worthless chips after paying an entrance fee, but God scolded me and did not want me to play any type of poker. So I asked God why I could not even play with fake money, which is not really gambling; then I had a dream.

In this dream there were three guys inside a small rundown eatery, a real “greasy spoon,” but it had lots of people buying food through the drive-up window. One of the guys said he would like to eat some human flesh but there was none available, so he said “I will just pretend that this food here is human flesh” and proceeded to pretend to eat. When finished he said, “yum, that was good tasting human flesh,” even though it really was nothing but air. I then picked up a plate and pretended to eat, and then I said, “this pretend human flesh sure is good.”

I either partly awoke at that point or continued to dream; I asked God what the meaning was, and it came to me that whenever a person wins money in gambling at a casino it is taking money from someone else who had already lost money at the casino. Because winning money by gambling is taking money from people, it is sort of like eating human flesh. Therefore, playing poker and other gambling games with fake money, is like pretending to eat human flesh, because you are pretending to take money from people. And God does NOT approve of it.

Gambling has spread not only in America but in England, Australia, and many other countries. In 1996 80% of Australians said they had gambled in the previous 12 months, and 1.3 million Australians believed that gambling “had caused troubles for their families or friends” (John Mark Ministries, Australia, http://jmm.aaa.net.au).

Gambling has a long history; it existed in ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome, and for just as long it has caused social problems:

The ancient Greeks considered it detrimental to the order of the State; the ancient Egyptians thought it made men effeminate. Some of the ‘greats’ have been hooked: Dostoevsky’s incentive for writing was often to get money for gambling. (Ibid)

If this information is not enough for you, do a Google search, there are many websites that detail the Biblical evidence against gambling. No good comes of it, only harm. Bingo is a form of gambling and churches should repent for doing it. Native Americans need to repent of their greed and close their casinos because gambling is the source of much harm to society and individuals. Native Americans are bringing a curse upon themselves and will receive God’s judgment for spreading gambling across America.