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On Gambling

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  • On Gambling

    Is it a sin to take a chance?

    Link

    --------

    Should you roll the dice? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

    Yesterday, I am browsing Facebook and I see someone ask if gambling is a sin. I see most people jumping in and saying yes, immediately, but I am contrary I suppose and have more questions about the matter. It starts with asking what is really gambling.

    We could just say it’s playing a game of chance, but is that simple enough to explain it? After all, while luck is involved, there is some skill and strategy involved in games like Poker and Blackjack. If that is the case, could we say the stock market could be a form of gambling as well? After all, one has no guarantee that a stock will shoot up, like GameStop for example, and one could really lose everything and some people have.

    How about this scenario? You’re at home one day and there is a knock at your door and there are some small school children there. They are selling raffle tickets to do a fundraiser for their school. The prize is a big screen TV. Now you have a good TV, but the ticket only costs a dollar and it goes toward a good cause. Do you buy a ticket?

    How about also you get together with a few friends for a Poker night? You get together and you have a maximum bet everyone can make and you just play cards. Most of the time, this isn’t done so some person can get rich. It’s something guys mostly do just so they can hang out together and the chance adds an element of fun to it.

    We could get even more technical here. Let’s suppose you go to an arcade, which used to be a really popular hangout in the past and I even worked at one for awhile. Now you could put some quarters in a game that will offer you some moments of pleasure but nothing beyond that. On the other hand, you could also put it in the crane game, a game of chance, and see if you could win something that you could keep.

    There were times in the past I know I won Allie something in a crane game. Long before that, one time I was at a bowling alley with a friend who was telling me that he wanted to win a stuffed elephant in a crane game there to give to a girl and he had spent $5 and not had any luck. I put in a couple of quarters and managed to win it for him immediately.

    In the past as a teenager, I remember my Dad and I would sometimes drive up to Kentucky from Tennessee. The drive took a couple of hours both ways. We would have about $20 with us and we would just play scratch-off games together. It was never about winning. It was just about an excuse to get to travel together and have some bonding time. I still remember one time we actually won $50 doing this and just stopped at a place called Oasis Pizza on the way back.

    So as you can see from this, I am not 100% opposed to gambling. So what would I recommend here? Good stewardship. If you have money for entertainment purposes and want to use it here responsibly, I don’t really have a problem with that.

    What about Scripture? Well, it says nothing yea or nay. Casting of lots was more about divining the will of God. We also know the soldiers gambled for the clothing of Jesus, but that doesn’t make it evil any more than the soldiers standing guard around condemned criminals would mean police officers shouldn’t stand outside of jail cells.

    So the principle is more about how you use what you have. If you are going and betting your life savings or your wedding ring to gamble, then you have a problem and need to stop. On the other hand, we could compare it to drinking. If you can drink responsibly and not get drunk, then I don’t have a problem with social drinking and I see gambling the same way.

    So if you want to get together with the guys and play Poker, I don’t have a problem. If you go to Vegas and have a couple of spare bucks and want to even try a slot machine, go ahead. If you think you could get addicted however, you might want to step back from doing that and consider some other hobby. I would say if you want to play a game of chance, it’s better to play one where you have a reasonable chance of winning, aside from buying a ticket to a raffle just to support a good cause more than actually winning anything.

    Have fun with what you do and do remember this is side money. Make sure you have done your charitable giving first and provided for your family. Then if the goal is to just have fun mainly, then do that and enjoy the company of your friends.

    In Christ,
    Nick Peters
    (And I affirm the virgin birth)
    Support my Patreon here.

  • #2
    I always thought of gambling like drinking. It's not a sin until it becomes a vice. When it becomes a 'god' to you, and your life revolves around it, it's a sin. Or at least an illness.
    Last edited by Sparko; 03-31-2021, 01:48 PM.

    Comment


    • #3
      A friend let stay at a place of theirs for a vacation once. It had a slot machine, but this one allowed you to stop the pictures at will. I tried it out since it was just a bunch of tokens to try it out. I eventually got so good at it I could get jackpot at will. I apparently built up a "super jackpot" or something since it eventually shot out all of the tokens and I had to keep putting in more because it wouldn't stop making noise until it had given out the whole thing. I wish I had the ability to just go into a casino that had one of those, they'd be broke and I'd be rich!

      Comment


      • #4
        When I was in college, my friends had a poker ring. I ended up bowing out because I knew that technically, it was illegal, even though the law wasn't enforced. That, and as the game went on, the stakes got higher and higher, and there's a difference between spending $10 that you might have otherwise spent on a movie, and on losing $100 or more in a night. And taking that much money from others didn't sit right with me, either.

        I wasn't bad at the game at all, but I was at my peace with my decision not to play. I would still occasionally play free games (like my college campus would host in the student union).
        "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

        Comment


        • #5
          I kinda see this as a "weaker brother" thing --- that gambling is something that characterizes, or is associated with, sin, and I just need to avoid any appearance of that kind of activity.
          I don't condemn those who gamble - I know several otherwise really good people who take their bus tours across the Louisiana line to gamble all day, and we're good friends.

          For me, it's kinda like - why do I need or want to do that if it hurts my Christian testimony?
          "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

          Comment


          • #6
            OK, quick CP story if I may.....

            Pastor calls the deacons together (I bet I'm not supposed to say this is an African-American congregation) and says, "gentlemen, we got a problem".
            They all look grim, and say "what's the problem, pastor?"

            He says, "Brother Clarence been betting on the horses, and he won $200,000 and he's tithing on that to the Church".
            One deacon shouts "Praise the Lord, we sure do need that money!"
            One deacon says, "ah, but we can't accept tainted money".
            Another says, "but that's $20,000 that we badly need".
            They all stare down at the floor while contemplating what to do.

            Old Deacon Harris is the wise one of the group, so Pastor turns to Deacon Harris and says, "So, Deacon Harris, what say you?"

            After staring at the floor in deep contemplation, he looks at the Pastor, a big grin sweeps over his face, and he declares "I say the devil had that money long enough, and it's time it spend some time in the house of the Lord!"

            AMEN!

            "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

            Comment


            • #7
              I went to Vegas once back in the 1990's for CES (consumer electronics show) and spent some time on the gambling floor, playing slot machines. I just did it for fun, and I set myself a limit of $50. I won some and lost some, one time I won like $30 and then lost it again. Once the money was gone, I just left. I just considered it a game. I tried Black Jack once too but I was terrible at it.

              I have also been to local Catholic "Picnics" here in town, and they always have gambling booths set up where you can win things like pies and cakes. I usually do good on the guess "high/low" games. You have to bet if the next card or die will be higher or lower than the last. I won a nice cheesecake once

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Sparko View Post
                I went to Vegas once back in the 1990's for CES (consumer electronics show) and spent some time on the gambling floor, playing slot machines. I just did it for fun, and I set myself a limit of $50. I won some and lost some, one time I won like $30 and then lost it again. Once the money was gone, I just left. I just considered it a game. I tried Black Jack once too but I was terrible at it.

                I have also been to local Catholic "Picnics" here in town, and they always have gambling booths set up where you can win things like pies and cakes. I usually do good on the guess "high/low" games. You have to bet if the next card or die will be higher or lower than the last. I won a nice cheesecake once
                Not gambling per se, but I have always won against those guys supposed to guess your weight within three pounds.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
                  I kinda see this as a "weaker brother" thing --- that gambling is something that characterizes, or is associated with, sin, and I just need to avoid any appearance of that kind of activity.
                  I don't condemn those who gamble - I know several otherwise really good people who take their bus tours across the Louisiana line to gamble all day, and we're good friends.

                  For me, it's kinda like - why do I need or want to do that if it hurts my Christian testimony?
                  Part of it too is the more of a "public figure" you are, in terms of Christianity, the more care may be needed. If Jerry Falwell Jr. realized this earlier on, he might still be at Liberty.
                  "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    So, anyone up for a game of casting lots?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      As a libertarian, I'm all for legalizing gambling. As a Christian I'd rarely if ever participate.

                      I've previously noted that I was a big time supporter of Georgia legalizing the lottery (and would like to see casinos, sports betting and horse tracks as well) back in the early 90s but have spent all of $13 over the past nearly 30 years playing it.

                      I'm always still in trouble again

                      "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
                      "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Sparko View Post
                        So, anyone up for a game of casting lots?
                        i was betting on it being you who would post something like this.

                        I'm always still in trouble again

                        "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
                        "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by KingsGambit View Post

                          Part of it too is the more of a "public figure" you are, in terms of Christianity, the more care may be needed. If Jerry Falwell Jr. realized this earlier on, he might still be at Liberty.
                          Yes.
                          "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Oh I forgot about the lottery. I sometimes go in on a pool at work among the IT dept when the Lottery gets up really high like over $400M. It's $2 and I don't expect to win, but if we did, I could retire.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Sparko View Post
                              Oh I forgot about the lottery. I sometimes go in on a pool at work among the IT dept when the Lottery gets up really high like over $400M. It's $2 and I don't expect to win, but if we did, I could retire.
                              There have been several times I've sort of planned on buying a ticket when the jackpot was really high, but just never did.

                              We had a guy where I last worked at who did really well playing the lottery. He'd spend $100 every week but I can't tell you the number of times he won $500 prizes. It seemed that every week he made more than he spent.

                              This inspired my esse to spend $300 on tickets one morning. He didn't win anything. He didn't even get a free ticket. He was so angry and wanted to sue the lottery

                              I'm always still in trouble again

                              "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
                              "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

                              Comment

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