Can Christians play the Lottery and gamble? The short answer is: yes; Christians have the freedom to play the lottery and gamble. However, just because Scripture doesn’t explicitly call something a sin doesn’t mean you shouldn’t prayerfully consider it ask seek the Lord’s opinion of it for your own life. Practically speaking, it’s also important to keep in mind that most casinos are rigged and a waste of money. Remember to be responsible, set a budget, and use discernment when gambling.
What is Gambling?
Gambling is participating in a game to win money or a reward. It’s the activity or practice of playing at a game to win a sum of currency.
There are several different ways to gamble for money. Here is a short list of just a few activities gamblers participate in:
- Lottery tickets
- Slot machines
- Casino games
- Poker games
- Internet gambling
Biblical Context of Gambling
Even though the Bible does not condemn gambling itself, it’s important to remember to take into consideration what scripture does have to say.
1 Corinthians tells us to do all things for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31). When it comes to gambling, it’s important to ask yourself “How am I doing this for the glory of God?”
Later on in 1 Corinthians, Paul tells us that all things are permissible, but not beneficial (1 Corinthians 10:23) and Hebrews tells us that Christians shouldn’t seek anything as their own because it belongs to the Lord, not us (Hebrews 2:10).
Proverbs 13:11 says “Wealth gained hastily will dwindle, but whoever gathers little by little will increase it.” The Bible clearly states that if a follower of Christ wants “to get rich quick” then they will not be following in the Lord’s plans. This ultimately means that they’re not obeying scripture and are trying to change the future that God has uniquely and specifically created for them.
Ecclesiastes 5:10 tells us that those who love money will never be satisfied with the money they already have, and those who love wealth will not be satisfied when they get more and more, so it’s crucial to ensure that your treasure is in the Lord, not in money.
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”Matthew 6:21
Scriptures to Keep in Consideration When it Comes to Gambling
“Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”Matthew 19:21
Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you.James 5:1-6
Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes.
Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days.
Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty.
You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter.
You have condemned and murdered the innocent one, who was not opposing you.
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.Hebrews 13:5
Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.1 Timothy 6:17-19
Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.
n this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.
Two Points on Gambling
1. The Bible Warns Christians
The Bible warns humanity about staying away from the love of money. In 1 Timothy, Paul writes that followers of Christ should not desire to be rich or fall into temptation for the love of money, for money is the root of all evil.
But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.1 Timothy 6:9-10
Matthew 6:24 tells us that we cannot love the Lord and money simultaneously, and if we love money, we hate the Lord and if we love the Lord, we hate money.
2. Gambling is a Waste of Money
As I mentioned earlier, gambling in more cases than not is a waste of money. The machines that people throw their money into are built to make 90 percent of the players lose.
Since Scripture commands us to use our resources wisely. 1 Peter 4:10-11 says
As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Yes, gambling is a waste of money, but is wasting money on gambling worse than wasting money on going to the movies, eating out, etc? Unless it’s a conviction of the Holy Spirit for your own personal life, I’d say not necessarily.
How Christians Should View Gambling
As I previously mentioned, unless you have a personal conviction from the Holy Spirit, gambling is not wrong or sinful, but always remember to use discernment. We as Christ followers should have a prayer life in all aspects of their life, including their finances, and have good stewardship with all aspects.
As long as you are being responsible, have a budget, and are using discernment of the Holy Spirit and listening to His convictions, then according to Scripture, there is not a problem with gambling itself. Just keep in mind that it’s a waste of money and that you will most likely not win any cash in return for bidding up yours. If you tend to be the competitive type and strive to win, gambling could potentially be dangerous for you. Know yourself well enough to know if you can be responsible.
Will Gambling Hurt or Help Teach the Gospel?
It’s important to remember that we are Christ’s representatives and we’re the only Bible some people will read. We won’t succeed in winning souls over for Christ by looking like the world, as we’re called to be set apart from it.
As long as the Holy Spirit is leading, you have accountability, and are using wisdom, gambling can very well be an opportunity to share the Gospel with others.
Ask The Lord
If you are wondering if you should be gambling in the first place, go before the Lord and ask Him what He wants you to do and trust that He will answer. Will this hurt or help your ministry? Have the courage to obey and go through with what God says even if His answer isn’t the one you were hoping for. Don’t be afraid to seek what He wants you to do and do not step away in fear from following the command He has given you.
In the past of addicts, gambling is a major trigger that destroys relationships, marriages, or even the person themself. If you have a past family line of gamblers, be careful that you don’t fall into that cycle of temptation, which can easily lead to addiction. If you or someone you know is struggling through this addiction, then click on the provided link below for help in finding freedom.