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Is Gambling a Sin?

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Is gambling a sin? Let’s see what the Bible has to say about this question. See also “Is meditation a sin?

“For the love of money is the root of all evil. While coveting after money, some have strayed from the faith and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (1 Timothy 6:10).

House Edge in Gambling

In gambling, what percentage does the house get? That percentage is known as the house edge. The percentage can range from less than one percent to double-digits, depending on the game. The house always wins; they wouldn’t be in business very long if they didn’t. That means, you lose!

Loser Numbers

This manifests itself on a roulette wheel. On a roulette wheel, there are thirty-six possible winning numbers. On a European wheel, one loser number (0) is added to ensure the house gets a share of the winnings. The house percent on that wheel is 1/37, or almost three percent. 

On an American roulette wheel, an additional loser number is added (00), so the house gets a 2/38 share, which is a little over five percent! So, the house gets an even larger share of the winnings. On some wheels, they even add another loser number (000).”But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare and into many foolish and harmful lusts, which drown men in ruin and destruction” (1 Timothy 6:9). 

Charity? Playing the Lottery

In the US, playing the lottery is popular. And some of the payouts go into the hundreds of millions of dollars! So, greed is a factor. Oh, it’s often dressed up to make you feel better about gambling. The profits may go to pay for government services or some social program. But if charity is the motive, it’d be better to contribute to a charity of your choice instead of someone else’s.

Defeating the House

A few genius people can develop superior gambling skills and cut into the house edge or even somehow beat it. One way to do this is to count the cards to put the odds in their favor. The casinos have cameras around to oversee everyone, and they identify these prodigies. Then they ask them to leave and not come back. So, the rare person who can beat the house, or at least lessen their cut, isn’t allowed to play.

Who Gambles?

So, are the rich contributing a larger share of their income to the lotteries, or are the less well-off? It’s not the rich. It affects the people who can least afford it. God is concerned for the poor. How do you think God feels about those who promote making the poor even poorer?

“Thus says the Lord of Hosts: Execute true justice, show mercy and compassion, every man to his brother. Do not oppress the widow, orphan, sojourner, or poor. And let none of you contemplate evil deeds in your hearts against his brother” (Zechariah 7:9-10).

Gambling Addiction

People often get addicted to gambling. They’re slaves! After they’ve felt the rush of their occasional wins, they become compulsive, and it ruins their lives – along with harming innocent victims who are often their friends and families. Programs like Gamblers Anonymous work to help people with gambling addictions, just like Alcoholics Anonymous tries to support people with substance abuse.

“They themselves are slaves of corruption, for by that which a man is overcome, to this he is enslaved” (2 Peter 2:19). 

Can I Start You Out with an Appetizer?

When chefs prepare a meal, they have an entrée but carefully consider which side dishes to include. With gambling, the sides aren’t optional; they are necessary accompaniments:
The love of money.
Poor stewardship.
Poor life choices.
Potential addiction.
Robbing the poor and less fortunate.

So, is Gambling a Sin?

While the Bible may not directly address gambling as a sin. It does address what necessarily attaches to it.

“Let your lives be without love of money, and be content with the things you have. For He (God) has said:
“I will never leave you, nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).

Find a new life in Jesus Christ. Please watch the Great News Video on this page.

We invite you to watch the “Great News” video on this page and find out more about God’s love for you and how you can receive forgiveness and eternal life – today!

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The Prayer of Salvation

Jesus, I don't know You, and I don't know what Your plan is for me. But thank you for coming to die in my place. I'm sorry for anything I've ever done wrong in my life. I don't understand how You could ever forgive me, but if You really would, I would like to accept your free gift of grace and complete forgiveness. Please come into my life and take control, and help me trust You. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.

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