People often question whether gambling is a sin. There are many different viewpoints to consider, but gambling in itself is not necessarily a sin so long as it doesn’t negatively affect oneself or others.
Is Gambling a Sin?
The belief that it is a sin stems from both the religious concerns about addiction, abuse and, most specifically, greed. Greed at the expense of another is something that the Bible specifically condemns in the books Luke, 1 Corinthians and Exodus, among others.
Greed and the Bible
It is reasonable to wonder if you are being righteous and just in God’s eye. However, institutionalized gambling is a business as any other, and gambling in such a way does not directly harm another. Gambling today also means we do not usually achieve profit at another’s expense. Modern gambling allows gamblers to claim their winnings from the house, whose money is their own. The losses of other players may make up some of that money, but the player who wins that money is winning the money belonging to the house rather than another player. It could be argued that the gambling institutions are immoral, but the players themselves do not partake in greed at the expense of another because casinos and racetracks are a corporation. That removes the concerns of both 1 Corinthians and Exodus.
Greed is discussed throughout the Bible. It derives from seeking earthly pleasures and wealth over more holy concerns and spiritual well being. However, since we are earthly beings, some indulgence is permissible as long as we know we belong to God. We must guard against over-indulgence and keep safe from addiction. We also have to be sure to not hurt others by engaging in direct gambling by taking advantage or putting others at a disadvantage by trying to cheat in a fair game of chance, etc. That is the root of the greed question at stake in the Bible. By acting virtuously in gambling, we are able to be moderate in our earthly desires and delights and therefore have enough sense to always turn away from overindulgence, greed or gambling addiction.
Keeping from overindulgence, addiction or wanting to harm others are the main goals when gambling. By maintaining humility and humbleness, and by refusing to play for any reason but fun, we are able to gamble virtuously. We must also try to keep from spending too much, as that money could go toward doing good deeds, or for necessities. Doing this allows us to keep free of sin and instead enjoy something for what it is, rather than what evil can make it become.
So long as we maintain integrity, we can stay free of partaking in sin and yet still manage to gamble or enjoy other earthly delights while staying true to God. The main objective is to have fun, and by doing this we can avoid sin and still enjoy gambling. Since gambling today is much different than it was in Biblical times, many things have changed and many issues are no longer as relevant.