Is Gambling Just A Game?

George Erwin

The gambling interests want an increase in gambling. They now want what they call table games. It is said, "Why not keep your market growing?" "He believes table games will tap a younger group of customers." "The key is to offer customers something different." Quotations are from a local newspaper.

Is gambling such a worthwhile industry that we should desire more and more people's participating in it? Some say, "We can't avoid gambling. Life itself is a gamble." They say, "Farmers take risks. If the weather is not right they may lose their seed and labor." However, farming is an essential risk, or the world will starve. Those who invest in business take a chance. This also is a necessary risk if there are to be jobs and industrial development. The gambling that we wish to discourage is nonessential risks and the hope of gain at the expense of others.

Gambling is defined, "To play games of chance for money or some other stake, to take a risk in order to gain some advantage, to bet, wager, an act ... involving risk of loss."

Many say, "The Bible does not condemn gambling." There are Bible principles which show gambling is a risk to the soul. The soul is too precious to take a chance of being lost. See Matthew 16:24-26.

The following are ten reasons why gambling is a great risk to Christians.

1. To earn a living we must be gainfully employed. "Let him that stole steal no more; but rather let him labor ..." Eph. 4:28. "If any would not work, neither should he eat." 2 Thess. 3:l0.

2. "It is required in stewards that a man be found faithful." 1 Cor. 4:2. More is spent on gambling than on religion or education. This is not good stewardship of the material prosperity with which God has blessed us.

3. Gambling is motivated by covetousness. Covetousness is defined as, "Eager to have what belongs to another, hence, greedy of gain." W .E. Vine. The covetous shall not "inherit the kingdom of God" 2 Cor. 6:9, 10.

4. Many lose so much by gambling that they cannot provide for their families. Those who do not provide for their own families are "worse than infidels." 1 Tim. 5:8.

5. The gambler desires to get an advantage over others. This conflicts with, "Love works no ill to his neighbor." Rom. 13:10.

6. Jesus said a bad tree produces bad fruit. Matt. 7:17. The fruit of gambling is bad. Thomas E. Dewey wrote, "The entire history of legalized gambling ... shows that it has brought but poverty, crime, and corruption, demoralization of moral and ethical standards, and ultimately a lower living standard and misery for all the people." "Gambling breeds dishonesty and deceit. Gamblers, like drug addicts, frequently resort to crime to finance their wicked habit." Spiritual Sword, July 1978.

7. Gambling is addictive. Many years ago, the Presbyterian Journal reported there were 10 million compulsive gamblers. Because of gambling, Pete Rose risked and lost the dearest thing on earth to him. Paul made a resolution all should make. "I will not be brought under the power of any." 1 Cor. 6:12.

8. Gambling destroys contentment and causes much anxiety. "Godliness with contentment is great gain." We are not to become "anxious" concerning the things of this earth. Phil. 4:6.

9. It is a work of darkness. J. Edgar Hoover said, "The gambling problem must be viewed as a phase of the entire crime picture ... It corrupts youth and blights the lives of adults. It becomes the springboard for other crimes." Paul wrote, "Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them." Eph. 5:11.

10. The committed Christian will not gamble. "You cannot serve God and mammon." Matt. 6:24. We have already shown that gambling is prompted by covetousness. Covetousness is idolatry." Col. 3:5. We must not support the evil of gambling in any form - whether it be the state lottery, betting on the horses and sports, bingo, or taking chances at a carnival. Though it be to raise funds for religion, school, or charity, there is no justification for gambling. Gamblers Anonymous insists that their members not even gamble for a coke or a cup of coffee.

An educator once said, "Gambling is a sin that should be avoided scrupulously by all of God's people." Gambling is too great a risk. It hurts one's influence; it destroys families; it causes crime; and, very likely, will cause the loss of one's soul. 3 Heather Ct., Scott Depot, WV 25560-8813.


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