I have had some interesting conversations with people, including pastors, about the effects of gambling on our society. I have had people try to defend going to casinos as a fun activity? I have had people tell me they wanted to try to win big so they could leave their children some money when they die. I have had people tell me how much benefit there is to the state from gambling revenue that our taxes don’t go up? And I have even had a few honest people tell me they were as addicted to gambling as another person may be to drugs or alcohol.

I know manay people who go to church buy lottery tickets but probably never go to a casino. They wait until the jackpot is very large to butt in. After all, who wants to bother winning only 50 to 75 million dollars, right?!? And to be honest, we have probably all thought of what we would do if we had that kind of money dropped in our laps. I sure have. In my daydream, I always inherit the money so I don’t have to gamble to get it. And I always do much good in my daydreams of wealth. God is the big winner!

But when I come to terms with gambling, I find a social ill that at best is a one in a million chance to have a better life. And at worst, is state-sanctioned destruction of the lives of it’s citizens. So I take the position that no gambling is the best choice.

My two big arguments against gambling are:

1) It creates ana ideal in the minds of people that there is a something for nothing way to live. I use the text in Proverbs 28:8 that says, “He that by usury and unjust gain increaseth his substance, he shall gather it in for him who will pity the poor.”

Gambling is unjust gain. The winner is always at the expense of the loser, always. You can justify it by saying if people can’t afford to lose, they shouldn’t play. Using that logic, it should not be illegal to drive drunk. Drinking is legal, bars are legal, but if you go to one and participate, you get in trouble? Do you see that we regulate a legal problem? Do we do anything to protect people from gambling? No!

2) This is two fold. I see the outcome of the winners is often terrible, and the losers are often people leasat able to lose money. I cannot say this as an absolute, but I know many of the people wo gamble are poor people. They know the only chance they will ever have to have money is to win the lottery. So they take what little substance they do have, and lose it too. Proverbs 22:16 says in part, “He who oppresses the poor to increase his wealth...will come to poverty.” Gambling oppresses the poor. The other reality is that many of the winners of the biggest jackpots have seen terrible things happen in their lives, not all, but many. So I ask is it worth the cost for the few who win and things continue to go well verses all the losers who pay the bills? I think I know the right answer. I think I have a good idea what God thinks too. What do you think?

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