Some Christians turn a blind eye to gambling, treating it as if it is not all that bad. Yet it is evil, it has extremely addictive components, and it teaches that self is more important than others.
To gamble, even if a predetermined allotment of money is established which cannot be exceeded, is a waste of God’s provision and generosity. Money spent on gambling has what mathematically is typically a zero chance of earning a return. Even when the odds are slightly better, the game is still based in chance, and it is foolish, self-centered, and greed-oriented. To gamble is to throw money away in hopes of becoming rich, thinking nothing of how that money thrown away could have been used for the Lord, for one’s family, or for those in need. The money spent on gambling could do unimaginable good throughout the world to meet physical needs, and more importantly, if given to Christ, to meet spiritual needs. Yet, sadly, it ends up benefiting the casino and those who run the destructive enterprise. Thus, to participate in the gambling “industry” is to enable the industry to continue by contributing to the “pot” so that more can gamble and get led into bankruptcy, despair, and loss.
Romans 13:14 says, “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.” To gamble is to open the door to all kinds of evil controlling influences which quench the Spirit’s influence. This is because covetousness and a desire to be wealthy at any cost is what drives the heart and mind in gambling rather than Christ and His Word. 1 Timothy 6:10 says, “For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” Even Christians could get led astray into all kinds of destructive, compulsive behavior if they let their hearts get led away into loving money. Greed only leads to grief because we are to find our joy in Christ, trusting that what He has given us is good (Romans 8:28). Matthew 6:24 says that we cannot serve both God and money.
Gambling, when we put money on the line in hope of getting a return without working for it or wisely investing it, is not driven by wisdom or the Spirit but by self, greed, and sin. When we gamble, we become slaves of money rather than of God as we trust in chance and laziness to meet an objective that is not even necessarily God’s will, that is, our getting rich. Proverbs 28:22 says, “A man with an evil eye hastens after wealth and does not know that want will come upon him.” This verse is not condemning riches, investment, hard work, or wise stewardship, but it is teaching that those who set their minds to get rich at any cost and in any way will be destroyed by the lust of wealth. They have loved the wrong thing, preferring wealth over trusting God and resting in His sovereignty and ordained way for making money, which is to work for it (Genesis 2:15, 2 Thessalonians 3:10-11). “Get rich quick” schemes are typically great ways to get poor quickly, and gambling is no exception.
Gambling is certainly not a constructive behavior that edifies us and others, and it can open the door to a great many sins, being already driven by sin and selfishness. Why would a person gamble unless they want a cheap selfish thrill, they are greedy, they want to get rich quick, they are not focused on others who could use the money spent on gambling, they are not content, or they don’t trust God to meet their needs? How can gambling possibly be said to be driven by faith, which God says must be the case for all that we do, or else we sin (Hebrews 11:6, Romans 14:23)? We must determine if gambling is spiritually beneficial for us and others, and the obvious answer is that it absolutely is not.
God is the One Who meets our needs, not the almighty jackpot. Who or what are we going to worship, God or gambling? It cannot be both.