Question of the day: gambling.

Sorry that this QOTD post is late. I’ve been sick the past couple of days and (obviously) haven’t been posting. My intention was to have posted over the weekend – I even have a few vlogs ready, but I never got around to it, being in my sickly state and all. 😉

So, without further procrastination, I present this week’s question of the day  post.

Why is gambling and playing the lottery “wrong,” but investing in the stock market isn’t?

If playing slot machines and other such casino games is wrong, then why is it okay for children to play arcade games? Isn’t the idea the same? You play the game in hopes of “hitting the jackpot” so you can earn money/vouchers to redeem.

What about raffles? What about buying a 50/50 raffle ticket at your work’s Christmas party, or buying a raffle ticket to support your nephew’s wrestling team fund raiser – are those wrong as well?

Thoughts? Reasons? Scripture? Leave a comment below with your opinions.

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Posted on January 11, 2011, in Question of the Day and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. I could give a verbose response as to why gambling is sin, but Phil Johnson did that for me. It’s long, but well worth the read. I use to think there was nothing wrong with gambling, but God used this article to change my stance on it.
    http://teampyro.blogspot.com/2009/11/is-gambling-ok-dont-bet-on-it.html

  2. Must say – you got my attention STRONGLY with that first question! Never heard anyone ask that before!

    Don’t recall the Bible talking about the right or wrong of gambling. But the first thing that came to my mind when I read your lead question was the several times I flew through Las Vegas on the way to or from Los Angeles. The people who got off in Vegas were all excited, bubbly, looking forward to it. Then the passengers who were LEAVING Vegas got on the plane. What did they look like? Gloomy. Downcast. Disgusted. Tired. All of them.

    Honestly, I’m not sure if gambling is sinful. Maybe, maybe not. But I do think it’s dumb. The stock market? Risky. Though your odds are probably better.

    Raffles, for the school, scouts, or another good cause? I think of those as donations to the organization, and don’t care whether I win or not. In fact, I don’t expect to.

    My own rules? If I’m stopping over in Nevada, I sometimes try my luck. But I set a firm – and small – limit ahead of time. Often just $1; never over $5. When we lived in California, if I found a dollar on the street I’d sometimes spend it on the state lottery – but never any of my own earnings. (I actually came out ahead. Over several years, I spent about $20 that way. I won $84, once.) I do think that if you’re going to dabble in gambling at all, it’s important to set firm limits ahead of time, and stick to them. Probably that’s good stock market advice too.

    God bless you, and hope you’re feeling better.

  3. I feel like gambling itself is not a sin. There are some biblical principles we can look at though to determine when it does cross the line. First, the Bible teaches us that we are to be good stewards of the money that God has given us. If you gamble so much that you can’t pay your bills, then it is obviously sinful. I see nothing wrong with spending a low, preset amount for fun. It is no different than spending money on a movie for entertainment value. The second thing we can look at is when gambling becomes an addiction. If a person cannot control themselves, that often leads to the addict resorting to other less honorable acts (i.e. stealing) to fund his habit. Other than those two instances, I don’t necessarily see anything wrong with spending a little budgeted money for entertainment.

  4. gambling is something christians ought not do, God gave you everything you have including your job and money. Therefore i feel its a bit irresponsible and maybe disrespectful to the One who gave you those things to go out and waste it in hopes of getting a reward.

    as far as arcade games…no gambling involved..you’re just paying for a service, a dumb one, but a service none-the-less.

    The stockmarket is investing and buying a piece of a company..the argument here though is investment vs. gambling; how far is too far? I think you can be spiritual and maintain a christian testimony and buy a raffle ticket to INVEST in your family member’s sports team or whatever it is..so i have no quarrel with these issues here

    but i do think its for you to decide on your own as far as what you are doing if its investing or gambling. You need to look at the means, if they justify the ends (and by that i mean stay within biblical standards) to tell if you’re gambling or not.

    but thats just me…

    • How is gambling for the fun of it and participating in another form of entertainment different? If someone spends a little money for gambling as a form of entertainment, why is that a problem, but an arcade is not.

  5. The Bible teaches us to be good and faithful stewads of what God has given us. We need to be responsible with our money regardless of how we use it. Entertainment of any kind when not done in moderation can become sinful. Which is exactly what gambleing is, you pay for the excitement and rush of the possibility of winning a much larger prize, just like you do when you ride a roller coaster at cedar point, you pay for the entertainment. The sin comes in when you gamble out of desperation for money and become wreckless with what God has given you by spending funds you cant afford to lose. Same with investing in the stock market, there is no sin in taking a calculable risk in a company you have researched and investigated, but when you cross over into investing without due dilegence with funds that can’t afford to be lost, you are being a poor stuard of what God has given you.

  6. Does anyone have any actual Scripture verses to back these thoughts up? Just wondering. Or at least any Scriptural verses that give principles that back up the thoughts.

    • Stewardship – I Corinthians 4:1-2
      Providing for your family – I Timothy 5:8
      Addiction – Ephesians 5:18 (as Christians we are to be filled with the spirit and not controlled by anything else)

  7. Heather, is it ok if I compliment this group on an unusually thoughtful and well written group of comments? I liked them. And I, too, would be curious whether anyone knows of a Bible verse specifically on gambling. I don’t think of one, but there may be one.

    The underlying principle in what I do (see above) is actually “love your neighbors.” When I did the Bible study on what that means (click on my name to see it), one thing I learned is that “loving our neighbors” DOES start with “loving our families.” And it is NOT loving them to gamble with money that should go to their needs. School fundraisers are one thing; being disciplined enough to only buy a very few lottery tickets now and then is also. But throwing away money your family needs, or could use to get something good, is quite another.

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