The Bible does not directly discuss gambling, however, it does mention several issues that surround gambling and make it up. However, given the state of modern gambling, the issues mentioned are not as much a factor as they once were. Gambling then was not institutionalized as it is now, but rather was between several people on a personal level. That measure of greed is not present in modern gambling and so we can only look at what was said in the Bible as a reference for modern gambling, not as a codified set of laws. There are discussions of greed, taking advantage of others, and considering luck as a force that takes the place of some of our reverence for God. Luck would be considered its own force rather than a generalized sense of good or bad outcomes, and so back then people were drawn to replace God’s grace with wanting the favor of Luck as a power in and of itself.
Luke 12:15 warns us to “Guard against every sort of greed”. 1 Corinthians 10:24 encourages us to “keep seeking, not to his own advantage, but that of another person” while Exodus 20:17 extols that we “not desire […] anything that belongs to your fellow man”. These passages warn us against the behaviors that would make gambling dangerous and sinful, and so if we are careful to avoid acting in these ways, we can avoid the negative, sinful aspects of gambling while still being able to partake in gambling.
For example, if we are careful to not gamble for easy winnings but rather for fun, or as a pastime to enjoy with friends, we can avoid Luke’s warnings. Being in it for the winnings are a staple of greedy behavior, and by avoiding the desires we can avoid the problematic issues around gambling, which is even easier now considering gambling back in the times of the Bible were personal and individual people stood to gain or lose personally, rather than as it is now where casinos are the ones that stand to gain or lose above people, as a corporation. This mentality we can maintain with gambling as it is today also helps us with regard to both 1 Corinthians’ and Exodus’ warnings. We no longer stand to gain directly from one another but rather from an institution, and while those companies may be morally bad and against the Bible’s teachings, partaking in the business they conduct does not make us complicit since we are individual acting agents. Rather than conspiring to take one another’s money, we play for fun and for the ability to enjoy our time in earthly things while not letting greed overtake us.
We are therefore able to both gamble and enjoy it while staying true to God’s teachings and being safe from sin as long as we maintain the right mentality. If we do this, we are circumventing the old ways as they no longer apply, but still are able to enjoy something earthly while still being a part of holiness.