Gambling is not an activity that is discussed in the Bible, and therefore, many people are left with a confusing interpretation of what the Bible actually says. The Bible doesn’t explicitly state that gambling is wrong, or that it is unspiritual. But there is certainly a good reason why society speaks of gambling in hushed tones, sweeps conversations about it under the carpet, while state governments offer free sports betting and other gambling at many Canadian casinos through various provinces. This leaves the interpretation of the Bible as it was written, which is contradictory to most people’s beliefs and moral bearings on the matter.
The problem is that there is no clear-cut Biblical teaching on the matter. While the Bible does describe some of the dangers and reasons for gambling, it does not single-out gambling as being a form of sin. It refers to it as being “treachery” and “the wages of sin.” This seems to make gambling acceptable while at the same time describing it as something that can be helpful to both God and men.
Because the Bible doesn’t single-out gambling, one can look to it to find the reason why some men seem to become gamblers rather easily while others don’t. One such example is the so-called “lottery virus.” A gambler may be a habitual player at a particular lottery game. When he visits a land-based lottery terminal, his chances of winning the jackpot are much higher than if he had simply stayed at home and played a regular game of lottery. This man then thinks that winning the lottery is worth the risk of leaving town, so he gambles his way to success.
This is gambling according to the Bible. In the same way, betting on sports, bingo, or any other games of chance is also gambling according to the Bible. The difference is that the gambler doesn’t leave town to seek out the jackpot. He doesn’t even stay at home to play. He goes out into the world where there are winners and losers, along with potential winners and losers through the course of his gambling experience.
While some may see the Bible as implying that people who play lotteries are actually gambling, this isn’t the case. Gambling is simply a type of activity that one engages in to win money. It could be that the individual has a greater winning chance than others, so he gambles. It could also be that the individual sees the game as not worth the risks, so he never bets. However he or she plays the game, gambling is a sin in the eyes of the bible.
There are many examples in the Bible where we can look to where the “rich quick” schemes originate from. The story of 1 Timothy, for instance, includes the story of a man who believed that God was going to bless him financially. Instead, he gathered up all of the money that he could find in his pocket and went ahead a gambling spree. This included hooking a friend who had some money that he intended to gamble with.
The bible does warn us not to get rich quick though. For if we do, we run the risk of having unwise gambling habits. As we all know, it is hard to make a profit on the stock market when you are gambling more than you should. We’ve seen people who have made a fortune from stock markets and then become reckless when it came to gambling. They ended up gambling more, getting themselves into financial trouble, even worse than before.
There is gambling in the bible, but it is not sin in the sense that you must get a tattoo or perform adult-night at a strip club. It is gambling a sin when you bet, win, lose, and then bet again. So, rather than using these examples to condemn gambling, I would suggest that you use them to encourage you to get into good betting habits and then you’ll be gambling in the open for what is right. After all, you won’t be sinning until you’re losing, isn’t that just like the bible says – “For whosoever shall stake against our manhood and our God, we will surely not give them (our money) to be cast into the fire?”