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Is Gambling Wrong

Does the Bible say anything about whether gambling (playing cards) is wrong for a Christian? If not, what is your opinion? How about chess?

Moderator - Gambling is wrong - "wagering money or something of material value on an event with an uncertain outcome". Poker would typically fall into that category as one can't control the outcome of the cards. Chess is considered a game of skill which the competitors have control of their moves.

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While people who by such tickets claim to do so out of altruistic reasons, "knowing that the money is going to a good cause", it's likely that far fewerer would just donate money with no chance of reward (because if they did, such raffles would not be necessary).

This is doubly curious when done by churches, where the members are (supposedly) Christians and should understand charitable giving without alterior motives.
---StrongAxe on 7/22/08

If gambling is so wrong then what about a raffle for charity? thats gambling also thats got nothing to do with skill. I believe gambling is only wrong when you let it control your life or you put it before god. a person can put anything before god.
---Brian on 7/21/08

per the lottery, does not the Bible say that"the earth is full and everything therein belong to the Lord?". that's not the state's money. it is Gods. i play when it gets over one hundred million and i always get the annuity option because no one needs that kind of money up front. that is what i consider greed.
---alex on 7/19/08

gambling is wrong.
My father waisted his money instead of planning for his future at old age and now he is struggling and still working- not by choice- at the age of 71. hard work too.
It is a sick disease / addiction.
Smoking is an addiction that simply stinks. It is another bad habit.
---Paul on 7/15/08

Paul: I know many smokers who don't get cancer-my wife don't smoke and she got cancer.
This is a false statement- smoking will cause cancer. In fact she don't drink or smoke or do drugs or gamble.
her cancer is caused by HER2 receptor protien and high estrogen levels. nothing else. It is hereditary."

I know a few people who don't smoke get cancer. Their family history is without cancer. They moved from a small town in the midwest/northwest into Los Angeles. Survey after survey show that people living in large metropolitan areas are more susceptible to cancer than people living in the boondocks.
---Steveng on 7/14/08

Smoking does not cause cancer? Oh yeah. I suppose playing Russian roulette with a loaded pistol can not kill someone either?
---obewan on 7/14/08

Paul...I am sorry about your wife having cancer. But, I would certainly not tell someone they could start smoking because you don't think it causes cancer. I've seen too many relatives and friends who were heavy smokers die terrible, painful deaths to believe that smoking does not cause cancer.
---SusieB on 7/11/08

Smoking is the same as gambling. A smoker gambles that they will not get cancer. I used to work with a woman who said that if she ever got cancer she would quit smoking. Not to bright, was she?
---SusieB on 7/7/08

I know many smokers who don't get cancer-
my wife don't smoke and she got cancer.
This is a false statement- smoking will cause cancer. In fact she don't drink or smoke or do drugs or gamble.
her cancer is caused by HER2 receptor protien and high estrogen levels. nothing else. It is hereditary.

Only God can take it away!
---Paul on 7/11/08

Gambling is idolatry, because it is greed for gain and love of money behind it. Added to that, if you are married you are taking money that does not belong only to you, and risking the loss of all of it. If you go to a gambling centre, where does all the money go to. Certainly it does not go to God. Give up gambling and 'separate yourself' from unbelievers and these kinds of 'pastimes' which are of no benefit to the body or spirit.
---frances008 on 7/9/08

Poker isn't chess, but it is still a game of skill, and to play well, you need to study and gain knowledge. Luck is part of the game and to win at poker, at some point(s), you need to get lucky. Skill, however, will get you to the point where you can get lucky. Poker should be played for the enjoyment of competition and if it stops being fun, it maybe time to quit. And above all, play only for what you can afford. Betting the ranch is a sin and not very bright. Some advocates of poker say it's a sport. They may have a point when it comes to multi-day tournaments w/ it's long hours.
---jack_corbett on 7/10/08

StrongAxe ... "and one may attain a profit or a loss"

If you don't have a claim on your policy, you have just paid for the assurance that if you had suffered a loss you would have been protected against the loss.

If you do need to make a claim, you will have your loss reimbursed. You will not make a profit.

Insurance is just a way of spreading the losses among a group of people, so that they share the losses and prevent one suffereing unduly.

read about Lloyds Coffee shop. where it all started.
---alan_of_UK on 7/9/08

Phil I've just seen your post, so hope Mod will allow this second post.

I did say it was misused by many, and sadly thta is dishonest providers as welll as fraudulent claimants
---alan_of_UK on 7/9/08

Insurance is not betting as there is no chance that any of us are NOT going to die. (Of course, excepting the rapture.)
---SusieB on 7/8/08


I'm not saying insurance is "wrong" (anymore than investing in the stock market is wrong), I'm only saying that, inasmuch as one is putting money into something whose outcome is uncertain, and one may attain a profit or a loss, one is gambling.

Hopefully the former - few will go for a losing deal - insurance companies stay away from bad risks, and people avoid insurance if the premiums are too high.

In the case of the life insurance policy. If (say) two widows both receive life insurance policies respectively of $100 thousand and $1 million, one is clearly getting a better "deal" than the other. If the second one's deal is fair, this might imply that the first one's is not (and vice versa).
---StrongAxe on 7/8/08

Alan_of_UK, in the US there are a number of Insurance companies offering modified life on amounts under $15,000, others offer high magnitude Accident policies by mail, Internet and magazine advertisements particularly targeting geriatric population using various types of scare tactics in the marketing literature. The restrictions contained in the fine print has been deliberately so restrictive making the ability to ever having successful claim against the underwriter unlikely. State insurance commissions try to regulate them but the policies are so designed to meet legal requirement of most states but restrictive enough in language to make the policy hard to collect on. They constitute a legal scam deliberately targeting the elderly.
---Phil_the_Elder on 7/8/08

StrongAxe ... I have a bee in the bonnet about this, just as you have.

Insurance is a protection against financial risk. There is no gain. The insurance company does make a return on the risks it covers, to pays its expenses, and to provide some return to the shareholders who finance the operation.

Do you know what the typical profit margin of an insurance company is?

Life policies are a bit different ... but I am surprised that you would consider that a wife who collects a million dollars on the untimely death of her husband can be considered to be becoming rich.
---alan_of_UK on 7/8/08

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Gambling is wrong. God said in His word we have to either love Him or love money. We can't have two gods. You either love one and hate the other. Exodus 34:14 For thou shalt love no other god: for the Lord, who name is Jealous, is a Jealous God. But just playing cards for fun is okay. As long as no money is involved. I play cards just for fun all the time. Chess is not a gamble game. It's a skill game. God didn't say to stop having fun. He said no gambling for sin.
---antoa7855 on 7/8/08


Even though insurance may not 'technically' gambling, it behaves like it in many ways.

1. In essence, you are betting the insurance company that something bad will happen to you, and they are betting that it won't (or at least, it will happen seldom enough that they will win more such bets than they lose.)

2. The insurance company makes such bets all the time and they DEFINITELY are in it to make a profit, and most do quite well at it.

3. Actuaries compute the 'odds' in such a way that the company (i.e. the house) always comes out slightly ahead.

4. While 'winnings' from insurance seldom make one rich, how about million-dollar life insurance polices?
---StrongAxe on 7/8/08

Alan of UK....Smoking is the same as gambling. A smoker gambles that they will not get cancer. I used to work with a woman who said that if she ever got cancer she would quit smoking. Not to bright, was she?
---SusieB on 7/7/08

And we know the following are not acquired by castiong Lots:

8Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.

9(Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?

10He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)

This is how it's done in the NT
11And he ( Christ) gave some, apostles, and some, prophets, and some, evangelists, and some, pastors and teachers,

12For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

Our Spiritual Gifting is not by votes!!!!
---kathr4453 on 7/7/08

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Casino gambling is bad news.
Have you seen the people in there? they look so much like dead zombies. Drink in one hand cigarette in the other. YUK. not a holy place at all. The men are pretty slimy too.
The Lottery hasn't helped much of anyone that I have noticed. False promise. "the money will go to fix our schools? Where? I just see cut backs and lay offs and Bibles and Jesus Shhh! don't mention their names in school!
Gambling is addictive and a waste of time. We should be volunteering our time to help the poor feed them shelter the homeless get meds to those in need etc..
---Paul on 7/6/08

Rebecca ... For someone who condemns alcohol so vehemently, you have a remarkably relaxed attitude to those other addictions of smoking and gambling, each of which is init's own way worse than drinking:

Smoking because it is more destructive of the body than moderate alcohol, and alo pollutes the air for those who are close by you

Gambling because for most it is money spent with no return.
---alan_of_UK on 7/6/08

Yes gambling is wrong. Why because it leads to things that aren't favored with God. It is focused on love of money, wealth and greed. The bible warns us about the love of money and greed and get rich quick schemes. Like in these passages Proverbs 13:11 Dishonest money dwindles away, but he who gathers money little by little makes it grow.
Proverbs 23:4 Do not wear yourself out to get rich have the wisdom to show restraint.
Ecc. 5:10 Whoever loves money never has money enough whoever loves wealth in never satisfied with his income.
1 Tim. 6:10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.
Heb.13:5 Keep your loves free from the love of money and be content with what you have,
---Crystal on 7/5/08

What is wrong for this person may not be wrong for the other person. God does not show the things that are wrong to everyone at the same time. I cannot tell someone it is wrong for them to do something and me turn around and do the same things. Each person has to work out their own soul salvation. Meaning I can tell someone what their doing is wrong all I want, but if it is truly wrong in God's eyes he will show them what is right and what is wrong. If they do not take heed to what God says after knowing the truth, that is when it becomes a sin. Playing the lottery is no different than buying a raffle ticket to auction off a homemade quilt, etc. The proceeds go to a great benefit.
---Rebecca_D on 7/4/08

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Phil ... Insurance is NOT a gamble, since you cannot make a profit out of it and be better off then yuo were before and benefit out of other people losing.
---alan_of_UK on 7/4/08

Alan_of_UK, the point I was trying to make is that all gambling is not bad. Insurance is a form of good gambling it is a sound and prudent hedge bet against some undesirable occurrence, whether it is Life insurance, Health insurance or Casualty insurance.

All of life is a gamble, we do knot know definitive outcomes of events but we can evaluate use actuarial statistics and Bastian statically modeling to minimize various forms of risk. But with out people being willing to take risks civilization would not advance.
---Phil_the_Elder on 7/4/08

Phil ... As an insurance professional, I would say that insurance is not a gamble, and in fact was excluded from the Gambling Act.

The resonis that you gamble for the hope of making a gain.

That is not the case with insurance, for the purpose there is to put you in the place you were. Your car is smashed ... it is repaired ... no gain.

Your husband dies, and the life assurance pays the income he can no longer give to you.

A very honourable business, although like most, misused by many.
---alan_of_UK on 7/3/08

we can all make comments ,but we all know what gambling is,and whats involved.las vegas ,atlantic city,state lotteries,these are all setup for one thing to make ,or take money from wagering,aka betting,to try and make money on the money spent.yes investing is a gamble,and so is life in general.but unlime gambling the intent is not to walk aaway with your money like vegas does.
---tom2 on 7/3/08

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****This is a clear case of "something of value" (being numbered among the Apostles) being determined by an event with an unclear outcome (casting lots).*****

StrongAxe, this was a casting of votes. Is voting gambling?

Many use the casting of lots in the Bible as proff that gambling is ok.

It is not. We live by FAITH not by LUCK, and Luck is not of Faith, or Faith would not be Faith it would be luck. AND we don't put our faith in LUCK. Our faith is in Jesus Christ. His name is not LUCKY!!!!

---kathr4453 on 7/3/08

StrongAxe ... I don't think that is something to be equated with monetary wealth.

To be numbered among the disciples & apostles was not only an honour but a great responsibility.

Beyond that it gave no value, certainly not spiritual value unless you think that his level of salvation was increased by being elected.

I can't think it was anything like gambling ... and in fact whilst the term used is casting lots, it is clear that what is meant is that they voted. It was not a matter of chance, but a secret (maybe) ballot
---alan_of_UK on 7/3/08

Strong axe:: Casting lots was not Gambling which is for Money It was a process of Voteing. IMHO
---Emcee on 7/3/08

>>so investing would be gambling by your we should get rid of all the investment annuities,the 501a,and the like cause they are a gamble as to the outcome.<<

Tom: For sure that rings true with me. We can say that skill is involved in the analysis, but the bottom line is that the market psychology can never ever be predicted. Disproportionate things happen all the time like a 10 or 15% drop in stock price over the divididend announcement being only a few pennies off. I am well convinced now that the odds for any investment are virtually 50-50 at best. It will either go up or it will go down. LOL.
---obewan on 7/3/08

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This can be taken to ridiculous extremes, investing ones funds is a gamble, you are hoping for a return on your investment as the wise servant who invested his masters money, but some times investments lose money that is the reason for a diversified portfolio strategy. Christ combined the servant who buried his master money safely in the ground.

Even purchasing insurance is gambling as you are betting on the probability of an event that could be detrimental to you and seeking remuneration if it should occur.

Life is a gamble we can simply sit and vegetate or we can dare to take actions that some would consider un prudent to advance our causes as the apostle Paul did on his missionary journeys.
---Phil_the_Elder on 7/3/08


Sadly, school benefits may be overstated. What often happens is that if a lottery produces an income of (say) 1 million that is earmarked for schools, the legislature will say "that is 1 million less that we need to give them from the general fund" - so schools get exactly the same, while the general fund gets an additional million to spend on other things.

The upshot is that the lottery benefits the schools only on paper, while in reality, the extra money is spent elsewhere.
---StrongAxe on 7/3/08

Inasmuch as gambling is generally not a good idea, it sometimes used in the Bible in a good way:

In Acts 1:23-26, the Apostles cast lots to see who would replace Judas after his death.

This is a clear case of "something of value" (being numbered among the Apostles) being determined by an event with an unclear outcome (casting lots).
---StrongAxe on 7/3/08

I am guilty of playing lotto, mostly because it is only around $2 a month, and mostly because it keeps school taxes down. There are churches that have raffles and cash award bingo games too. I worry about what would happen if I won lotto though. I am sure there would be many Christians who would judge me harshly even though I would give millions away to the church. If love of money being evil is the only biblical application, then what about CEO's who collect tens of millions in salary + bonuses?
---obewan on 7/3/08

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Gambling as a habit is wrong. It is also wrong to base decisions on the flick of a coin. Our lifestyles should be based on God guiding us. We should not give the devil a foothold.
---frances008 on 7/2/08

mod,so investing would be gambling by your we should get rid of all the investment annuities,the 501a,and the like cause they are a gamble as to the outcome.
---tom2 on 7/2/08

Thank you for everyone's input. I have been impressed that it is indeed not good for a Christian to gamble. I was not aware of any Bible texts though.

I heard from a friend in church that he thinks chess is an evil game too...something about white and black and yin and yang and eastern religions. But I wasn't too convinced, and am still not.

Thanks again. :-)
---Todd1 on 7/2/08

Is Gambling in the world?
Take your time and think about this! Remember take your sweet time!

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

The Love of the Father is not in him.
Wow, that blows, well maybe you have the son?

All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father, neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.

Wow thats too bad! But we have things!
God help us all, the whole world.
---Frank on 7/2/08

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Many of my church friends believe that going to a charitable casino, or gambling building/area/room, is an acceptable way to have some good, clean, fun and help others too. Some have told me that the casino food is the "best of the best" and the "price is right" too.

Still, I don't think that gambling is the right thing to do.
---Augie on 7/2/08

I must confess that I am guilty of gambling. Why? How? Simple. I gave money to several televangelists that I will not name. Satan will use every trap possible to snag you.

The outcomes were NOT what I expected. Instead of my monetary donations being used to build up GOD's kingdom, I'm know that GOD's name was badly tarnished. I've promised GOD that I will NEVER gamble on those guys again. On the brighter side, I learned what a loving, and forgiving, GOD we have. Even when I was guilty of the stupid sin of gambling and needed to repent.
---Augie on 7/2/08

I think it's wonderful what your son has accomplished at such a young age, Moderator.

The apple really does not fall too far from the tree, it's said.

There's a huge difference between counting cards at Vegas and a child winning chess tournaments. Similar differences between a Criss Angel magic show and the true gifts that come from God.
---Donna on 7/2/08

For every gambler who wins, there are many who lose their stake.

It is inherently selfish, and panders to people's basic greed. It has impoverished and ruined millions.

Sinful, and wrong for anyone.
---alan_of_UK on 7/2/08

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Yes, The Bible speaks against "gambling" of any sort. 1Timothy 6:10, "The love of money is the root of all evil." The love of money causes people to pursue "easy" gain by trying to beat the odds with gambling, only to find that the only real winner in gambling is the one who controls the table,or the house. It is also bad stewardship, because God provides funds for us to provide for our needs and the needs of others, not to try and win more!
---tommy3007 on 7/2/08

Gambling is a man-made, worldly system. God will not bless gambling. God's answer to gambling is: "Give, and it SHALL be given unto you, good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over." Amen!
---donna8365 on 7/2/08

Because you are putting the Lord to a test. You are tempting God, and that is a sin. Everything you and I have belongs to God. You are forcing God to show Himself. [there is no such thing as luck] Pervasive gambling teaches people that fame, success, and fortune are available without work or struggle. Also you have association with gambling in.... greed, lust, sloth, and a live-for-the-moment mentality. For a true Christian, do not do this EVIL. Why do you want to be like this world?
---catherine on 7/2/08

This is a debatable issue,considered as a game of chance,or entertainment,depending on your reasonable limit based on Other priorities.The other side of the coin, it is addictive,dangerous as it will eventually affect your character,weaken or strengthen your resolve.Associated with the saying "a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush"I am not aware of any Biblical saying, unless like some who desire to Gamble with their soul Then definitely NO NO NO Nothing is worth that Gamble.
---Emcee on 7/2/08

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Obviously the moderator has not played much poker . Winning poker demands as much if not more skill than the game of chess. I once was a highrolling gambler, I quit gambling, because I feel it was taking advantage of another person for what ever reason, cards, temperament, or skill. Let me say again, what I've said before on the blog, and I've heard very good testimonies at poker tables. And salvation is discussed at poker tables, much more than than the average person would think.
---Mima on 7/2/08

"wagering money or something of material value on an event with an uncertain outcome".

Sounds a lot like marriage.
---ralph7477 on 7/2/08

Gambling is not being a good steward of God's money. Chess is a game of skill and strategy, and does not involve a wager, usually, so there is nothing wrong with it.
---Trish9863 on 7/2/08

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