Is Gambling Wrong?

by Tameka Norris

This is an age old question and since the Bible does not directly address gambling it leaves the subject open for debate. Many will conclude that it's harmless while others will feel quite strongly that it is wrong.


Though if you would like to consider all possibilities concerning gambling in correspondence with the Bible. There is  information in the Bible that brings to light the fact that gambling is likely something God does not agree with and does not want you to do.

Let's look a little closer at the situation to get a clearer view.

1) Gambling is motivated by greed:
Looking at gambling on the surface it looks rather harmless, but it is how it affects the spirit that is the real issue at stake. The problem is that gambling can easily bring out the worst in a person. All that one can think about when one gambles is personal gain.

The senses hone in on what YOU can get and how much YOU can get. In this state of mind you have likely and possibly unknowingly violated a commandment: Matthew 22:37-40. In exchange when you gamble it is easy to sacrifice your compassion for others in the process. How it affects others and who got stepped on in the process.

The tricky part is that gambling doesn't look like it hurts anyone. But that's what makes deception so easy. Humans are easily betrayed by illusion.

Satan uses indirect descreet methods to aid us into becoming a worse kind of man.

So often it is not directly that we are deceived, but indirectly.

2) Gambling is motivated by worry:
There are two ways to look at this. One is that worry is a sin because it stems from lack of trust in God to take care of us. Since it is such a common issue it easily overlooked.

This is not to say that God does not understand that we will worry because we are not perfect. He knows this. But He also understands the effects this can have on us.

Worry does not motivate positive action like it's counterpart "concern." Worry stagnates our growth process and motivates negative change or negative action.

Whereas concern usually motivates positive change or positive action.

When we worry we make a lot more mistakes than we do when we are concerned. We often end up becoming a worse part of ourselves rather than a better part of ourselves. (Recommended reading if you have a problem with worry: Rx for Worry: A Thankful Heart by James P. Gills)

3) Gambling does not rely on trust in God and therefore could be considered a violation of the first commandment, Exodus  20:3:
"Thou shalt have no other gods before me."

Luck and Self becomes our God when we stop trusting in God to provide for us financially and we begin trusting in chance and our own efforts.  Often this leads to further greed and selfishness. This is also a sad thing since God wants us to tithe and the money that would be given to the Church gets misused through the deception of the devil.

It is not hard to see that there is a tug of war going on in every area between God and Satan. For whatever God promotes the devil demotes: Tithing vs. Gambling. A hypothesis could be that gambling is the "devil's tithe."

4) Gambling has very few winners and many losers:
The pot of gold at the end of the rainbow consists of an effort that so many put into it but only a few reap the benefits. To take it a step further -- that effort that so many people put into trying to get the pot of gold is often initiated by a bad situation.

Frequently, people who gamble feel they have no other option but to gamble in order to find a quick solution to a financial problem that is steadily getting worse.

People who gamble are financially stressed and gambling is a solution to them during a moment of weakness. When you win money through gambling, you are winning unclean money -- money that is associated with heartache, worry, fear, stress, and lack of trust in God. Your gain is someone else's (financial and spiritual) loss or the other way around.  One way or the other someone is suffering whether it's you or someone else.

In the end everyone loses something... even the winners.

5) Gambling destroys self control:
Like smoking so many people didn't start out addicted to it. It was supposed to be a one time thing or a brief interlude. It started out for small reasons or a reason to relieve their worries. But the downside to the upside for a winning gambler is that later the very venue they used to relieve their stress is the very venue that creates it. Someone who is lucky at gambling and wins is likely to go back for more and more and more until eventually they lose...

  • their self control, 

  • their money, 

  • their family. 

  • Everything.

You can "bet" that in the end a gambler loses something that is priceless.

How very ironic that eventually winning in the beginning can later strip a person of all the treasures they possess.


Another source of gambling that can also be quite confusing is the varied version of gambling that does not require one to pay money in order to win. An example of that is many websites that exist online today. A good example would be a website that provides games and all you have to do is simply play to have a chance of winning money.

You may personally be wondering if that type of situation in which you do not actually pay any money is still considered gambling. Once upon a time I used to debate this.

But now my current hypothesis is that God has a very good chance of considering a circumstance like that to be gambling. Although it doesn't cost you money, there are other things that it might cost you.

The most important thing to note is that even though you are not putting forth any money, the first commandment is most likely still being violated (Exodus 20:3). You would not be necessarily trusting in God to provide for you financially and instead you would be seeking your own ways of finding financial satisfaction.

Many of the issues still exist, the only difference is the fact that you would not be putting forth any money. Your initial intentions have not changed. The overall result has not changed.

I think the most obvious understanding of what gambling is, is to define it in terms of how it strips you spiritually and how it affects others.  

It is easy to find the situation tricky when dealing with earthly semantics.  But God isn't interested in earthly semantics. He is interested in our souls. Our spiritual selves.

In saying that, the particular issue would be what it costs your soul.  Gambling defines so much more than just cash flow.  Consider that gambling also defines that you are gambling with a lot more than just money when you choose to do it.

the end

Tameka Norris helps others simplify life's little complications by
revealing the small things that are often overlooked: More articles by Tameka
Norris can be found at

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