Is It a Sin for a Christian to Gamble?

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

Is gambling a grey-area matter for believers?  Is the Bible silent about gambling?  Is it a sin for Christians to gamble?

Is Gambling  a “grey area” for Believers?

I had a job opportunity that would have been just 8 minutes from my home in cleaning services.  At present I work almost an hour away from home.  This job would have been at a new gambling casino that is opening up.  It would have been much closer to home and it would have been more convenient and easier to travel to and to work at.  The pay would have been comparable to my present job but I would have made money based upon the savings in fuel in driving to work in the next city.  However I thought it was not appropriate for me to take a job at a casino since I am a pastor and so I turned it down.

Is It a sin to Gamble

Is Gambling a Sin?

In my research about areas that have casinos, I discovered that the crime rates go up exponentially.  Those areas close to gambling or gaming centers have experienced skyrocketing divorce rates.  Also bankruptcies increase, drug and alcohol abuse goes up, and state and social services have a greater burden placed on them.  There is also the need for more police protection as well.  The number of gambling addictions increases too.  Therefore, it appears gambling centers and casinos, while bringing in revenue, also bring in crime, drugs, and sometimes even organized crime. I  feel strongly that a Christian should not gamble.  To try and win money at the expense of others (who pay for lottery tickets for example) seems wrong.  Gambling and gaming centers or casinos are in the business of making money.  There will always be more losers than winners, otherwise they would go out of business.

The local town that has invited the casino to build near us was welcomed with open arms – by the community and by the city officials.  This was due to the economic problems the area has experienced.  The casinos promised new jobs, increased county and city money, and new businesses.  The new businesses were good and so was the new tax money coming in, but the results of having more bankruptcies, more crime, and even a higher rate of suicide is the unpleasant result that gambling centers will never mention when they plan to build in your area.

Is the Bible Silent about Gambling?

The Bible is silent on this but I don’t believe it is a grey area.  The one time gambling is mentioned in the Bible was for an evil purpose.  It was when the Roman guards gambled over Jesus’ garment at the crucifixion (John 19:23-24).  I personally think it is wrong but if you buy a “scratch ticket” for a dollar or two once in a while, that may not seem bad, but add that up in a year’s time and it can be a substantial amount of money.  Also, the money used for gambling by a person may take away money for homes and families.  It has been known to literally take food out of the mouth of children.  I have read of many peoples lives being wrecked by gambling and powerful addictions to gambling take people over and ruin their life.  The odds are you will lose since casinos and lotteries are in the business of making money and so this seems, to me at least, to be a lose-lose situation.

There are no Scriptures that actually say, “Thou shalt not gamble” but there are Scriptures about coveting and lusting after something that is not ours.  To covet money is sin.  To lust after something that you want and do not have is to not be thankful to God for those things that you do have.  Jesus said you can not serve both money and God.  Luke 16:13 says, “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”

Is it a Sin for Christians to Gamble?

Remember that Jesus also said, where your treasure is at, there is where your heart is (Luke 12:34).  Evangelist Chip Ingram of Living on the Edge Ministries once said that you can tell where a believer’s heart is at by looking at the checkbook ledger or by their credit card statements.  Does the Christian spend little money on charities, on giving to the church, in helping the poor – or do they spend the majority of their money on themselves?  The Bible seems clear that where the money goes, the heart follows.  First Tim 6:10 says, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”

The book of James has much to say about money in James 2:5-7, “Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? Are they not the ones who are blaspheming the noble name of him to whom you belong? “

Second Corinthians 8:9 has Paul declaring that “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.”  Proverbs 13:11 states “money dwindles away, but he who gathers money little by little makes it grow.”

Money on this earth will decay, be eaten by moths, or even be stolen, “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal”(Matt. 6:20).  Money has a tendency to change a person and can easily corrupt them.  Money, while not the root of all evil, can be the root of all kinds of evil. James understood this and wrote, “You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God” (James 4:2).

Gambling is a lose-lose situation in my opinion.  It can be expensive, it can be addicting, and it can wreck lives and homes.  It is just not worth the risk. If anyone wants money, then I believe that they should do it the old fashioned way -work hard for it.  God is generous to those who give.  Interestingly, the more generous you are, the more God gives back to you.  Malachi 3:10 tells us to, “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.”


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{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

JD January 2, 2012 at 8:14 am

The Tithe was never money.


Jack January 2, 2012 at 2:02 pm

Thank you for you comment JD. I appreciate your visiting us here. By the way, I never said that the tithe was money anywhere in this article…however, the tithe was money in the strictest sense since in the Old Testament the 1st tenth of their agricultural or livestock was their tithe. Their wealth was in their produce or livestock.

Today we use money instead of produce or livestock and the principle still applies…not that tithing is required since that is legalistic but I remember Abraham giving a tenth to Melchizedek and people putting money into the temple treasury. The point of this article is that gambling is not biblical.


Shelley February 24, 2012 at 7:56 am

We are Christians raised southern Baptist. And my husband thinks gambling if you go 1 or 2 times a year is just for fun and intertainment
And he justs plays so much money and it just for fun. But I feel that guilty when I do it. What do to think?


Jack Wellman February 24, 2012 at 1:49 pm

Hello Shelley. Thank you so much for visiting our website. And thank you for this question. It is not I who believe that gambling is wrong but the principles of the Bible teach that it is taking money away from family, coveting something that a person doesn’t have, and the winnings (if they do come), are actually at the expense of others (who have played and lost). To gamble is to condone it and the number of times a person does gamble doesn’t make it any less wrong and even if it is for fun and has only so much money set aside for it, everything that is fun and setting aside so much money for it doesn’t make it right either. These are a person’s way to justify their actions. There is a risk of gambling addictions which are significant, particularly if a person wins. There is something that happens to a certain place in the brain, just like drug addicts, porn addicts, and alcoholics, that it stimulates and gets a person hooked.

Saying that, you can not change your husbands behavior. This is something that only the Holy Spirit can do. Trying to change a spouse only makes them more resistant. You can only pray that it ends and refuse to go with him in your belief that it is wrong. You feeling guilty is, I believe, a work of the Holy Spirit telling you it is wrong. I was raised Catholic but actually ended up a Southern Baptist (my wife was already a member and our town didn’t have a Catholic church) and so I too feel it is wrong. Let us know if we can do anything else for you, i.e., pray for you and your husband and thank you again for your question and visiting us Shelley.


Sarah November 4, 2012 at 8:48 pm

Hello Jack,
Thank you very much for your article on gambling; I absolutely agree that it is wrong, and the scriptures are very clear on this. I also agree with you that it is NOT a grey area. Many people justify gambling as just going to “have fun”, but little by little they find themselves becoming addicted and slowly lured in, and unable to break free. God blesses us with the ability to make money by working at a job. And if we are in trouble financially, we should trust Him to help us out. My x-husband’s Father used to go to the race track every week and bet on the horses. His life was completely controlled by this habit and addiction. It was a vicious cycle with him and he put a lot of time into it, only to loose more money than he won. It was sad because he had nothing to show for it at the end of his life. I couldn’t even spend $20 on gambling, because I look at that as gas money, groceries, school clothes for my daughter, etc. Money that I worked hard for. Near where I live they are considering bringing in a gambling casino to help bring in more revenue for the area, but it scares me to think about the possibility of increased crime, drugs, bankruptcy, etc., as mentioned in your article. I did not think about that but its so true. On Election Day I am voting against “Question 7” (regarding casinos and gaming, etc). Thank you again for your article; I was really blessed by it.


Jack Wellman November 4, 2012 at 8:54 pm

Wow Sarah. Thank you so much. We have had the new casino in our area for about 2 years now…and here are the cold facts (which I tried to educate those about):

Bankruptcies, more than quadrupled,
Divorces more than tripled,
Spousal abuses, 5 x higher,
Tax delinquencies 13 times higher,
Foreclosures exponentially growing,
DUI/DWI’s skyrocketing,
Burglaries rapid growth,
Auto accidents (from alcohol likely) more than 5 times higher,
etc…and all factual from our local papers validated in the police and sheriff’s report and in the local business sections. Glad we have common sense Christian women like you. I pray it fails.


Francis Light June 11, 2013 at 5:34 am

dear Pastor can winning gambling lottery money give to church tithes of offering


Jack Wellman June 11, 2013 at 8:49 am

Hello Francis….gambling is sin and I can not imagine God using sin to help the church. No, I don’t believe that God accepts this and God doesn’t need to use such means to support His church. Does this make sense? It would be like a house of prostitution profits used to help God’s church.


Francis Light June 11, 2013 at 11:50 am

ok let say if a person only first time buying a lottery ticket the first time winning the lottery and one day he know gambling is sin, what should he do about the money? Which way the money should flow


Jack Wellman June 11, 2013 at 5:19 pm

Thank you again Francis. I believe if a person doesn’t believe gambling is sin and does it, then they will still suffer harm for ignorance is no excuse for breaking God’s laws. The money that is won by gambling should go to the Salvation Army in my opinion but I can’t see how a person would buy a lottery ticket and then after they win, they realize it is sin. Anyway, even if we are trying to use money from winning at gambling, it is sin and should not be done, even if its to feed the poor. Sin is sin, and God doesn’t want us to do this even with the intent of helping others. God would never, ever approve of sin for any reason.


Dave June 24, 2015 at 8:37 am

If I won money in a game of chance,
and then later believed it to be a sin (profiting from misfortunes of others),
I would offer to refund the purchase price to each fellow player that had lost – rolling back the clock, as though the game hadn’t happened.


Jack Wellman June 24, 2015 at 10:03 am

Great point Dave. Very good insight sir.

Francis Light June 12, 2013 at 5:41 am

thank you very much pastor Jack for your opinion to open my eyes to understand.


Michael Hovey August 8, 2015 at 2:57 pm

I used to love going to the track with my mom’s boyfriend when he was still alive, and I loved everything about it. From the car rides to Hollywood Park or Santa Anita, to seeing the beautiful race horses up close and personal in their stalls, to eating the best hotdogs and nachos anywhere, to figuring out which horse had the best chance of winning, and then either getting upset when my horse didn’t come in, or by being happy when my horse did come in. Plus after I had won something I would usually use the money to buy a cd or book I wanted. I never thought going to the track and betting on the horses back then was bad, and I still don’t. Just this man’s opinion of course.


ken August 21, 2016 at 9:09 am

i am in so much debt from gambling but still believe that gambling can get me away from my debt. I am so depressed and worried


Shaun September 11, 2016 at 11:40 pm

Actually just came back from the casino. Lost money. I am a Christian and I just hate doing it but no excuses I go for the excitement. I am currently single waiting on God trying to be sexually pure completely. 5 years sober from alcohol. Trying to quit smoking. Sometimes I just feel as though all I do is battle. I know what’s right I know what’s wrong. Gambling leaves me feeling empty like every other sin. So I think it is a sin. I just needed some ammo for my weapons. I think the money I spent on gambling could have went to a savings bond for my son. Thanks for this article. I am adding gambling to the fight as well.


Richard February 12, 2017 at 11:40 pm

Not to try to stir up egos and pride.
money system in place during the tithing time. God prefer produce of goods over money. Anyway tithes are for levites, for churches that uses tithes to collect oney, please prove that you are levites.
I believe in giving to the church to manitain a proper place for gathering and worships.


Beth April 20, 2017 at 6:09 am

Please help me decipher what to do. My dad has this fascination in casinos. He requests money from me (does not demand) from time to time but I am personally against going to casinos. I want my dad to be happy but I do not like casinos. What do I do? Is it a sin to decline my father’s request?


Jack Wellman April 20, 2017 at 8:53 am

I would stop this…you are enabling your father to become addicted to gambling and since gambling is sin you are helping him sin. Please call your pastor as your father doesn’t sound saved and you need the prayers of your church, even if it’s unspoken needs. Do you want your dad to be happy or do you want your dad to stop sinning? Decline it…or you are both headed down a spiral because gambling is sin and God is not going to bless this at all.


Beth April 23, 2017 at 12:35 am

Thank you, Jack.


aajayunlimited October 1, 2017 at 10:59 am

There is scripture in the bible about certain people being able to handle certain things and some can’t; but also, scripture that people shouldn’t do things around others that offend or that tempt them. Please let me know if I’m wrong. If those are true, then gambling in a casino is sin! If you win and someone else sees you win, then they might be tempted to try it! If you could do it in a private setting without sinning in the process(cards and illegal activity are sins), then you might not actually be sinning if you are not one of those that has a problem with it.


Jack Wellman October 1, 2017 at 3:42 pm

Hello friend and thank you for your comment. I never said that gambling is not sin but actually, that it is sin. I think we agree on this, right? And, the NIV Bible is not evil my friend. I use the King James but also the ESV which we now use here. Please be careful about making such accusations my friend. We all have differences and use different translations, but even the King James has several miss-translations in it, so none are completely perfect. The NASB is becoming my favorite because it does a better job translating the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek than do other Bibles.


aajayunlimited October 1, 2017 at 1:07 pm

Mr Jack, also, go and look up evil NIV bible in Bing and look at what pages come up. It’s all about edification.


Diana Ankney October 11, 2017 at 9:10 am

I just had to comment, because I feel like your statement that gambling was only mentioned once in the Bible is inaccurate. Job’s very soul was gambled to prove a point. The only person to suffer for that wager was Job. One could argue that God gambled so it must be ok.

There are so many things in life that can lead one down a slippery slope. People get addicted to eating, which is something we must do to survive, but it can quickly turn to gluttony. People work hard to have a comfortable life, but quickly we can become workaholics constantly striving for more. Seniors love to play bingo for small prizes such as snack crackers or tissues. Are they truly gambling or simply having fun playing a game with friends.

Evil that grows from gambling has less to do with the act of gambling and more to do with the heart of the individual. If one believes that God sees all and knows all, then He would know your heart, when you gamble, and whether or not you will win.

I think it is wrong to tell someone not to tithe from gambling money. If that is how God decided to bless them, then let them give freely of that blessing. Do not hinder another’s blessings by short sited thinking.

A person who feels guilt from gambling, should not gamble. A person who has a buck to throw to a scratch off just for fun, should search their own heart to listen for God’s Word. If you open your heart to God you will feel His presence and He will guide you. It is the heart that defiles the body and leads to sin.


Jack Wellman October 11, 2017 at 9:38 am

Hello Mrs. Ankney. If there were only one command in the Bible to not gamble, wouldn’t that be enough. And God did not gamble with Job. God knew the end from the beginning, as He always does, so “tithing on gambling” is just about as wrong as anything I’ve ever heard. This is “dirty money” and God doesn’t need our money won from gambling since it is not earned. For every winner, there are hundreds of losers, so if I disagree that God would bless them through something that is clearly sin. Ask your pastor about this and see what he says. This isn’t bingo I’m talking about but gambling which wrecks lives, contributes to divorce, spousal abuse, and bankruptcy. Job was not a gamble made by God but a test to prove Satan was wrong, which he was. Gambling is sin. There is no doubt about that…even if only one verse says so. One verse from God is enough for me.


Sybil March 29, 2018 at 10:16 am

Let not him that gamble judge him that gamble not and vice versa, i have yet to see in the bible that gambling is a sin. Lack of temperance which is no self control is the sin here. This can happen to anyone in anything not just gambling. So men’s opinion is just what it is an opinion. To him that think anything to be a sin or unclean then it is a sin and unclean to that person only. This is the scripture used for those things that are not clearly stated as sin in the bible. All unrighteousness is sin. To allow yourself to come to devestation over anything is not right. So if you don’t have self control stay clear from those things that bring you into bondage.


Jack Wellman March 29, 2018 at 10:49 am

If you are gambling, you are trying to win money that comes from other people who most loss money. Gambling places make a living off of other people desiring for money, so gambling is an outward manifestation of an inward greed. A love of money as Paul said, leads to the ruin of many. I suggest you re-think your position as many have gambled and lost everything trying to win the big one. If you don’t see that its wrong, I suggest you read what Jesus said to the rich young ruler. He loved money more than God. The verse you referred to “to him that think anything….” has nothing to do with money or greed but about foods and observance of days of worship. You took that verse out of context my friend.


Alex May 11, 2018 at 12:27 pm

I gamble on sports. This is a hobby of mine and I want to turn it into a career. This is also my last life line as I have failed in every aspect of my life. (education, relationships, work etc). Gambling on sports is not entirely based on luck. It also requires a level of knowledge, time, and patience. For this reason I do not believe it is a sin if done correctly. Is trading in the stock market a sin? Is investing a sin? Because this is how I approach sports betting.


Jack Wellman May 11, 2018 at 12:51 pm

Trading in the stock market is putting money into something of value but gambling is throwing money away. For every winner, there are 100 losers. How else do you stay in business if there are not more losers than winners, so you are funding an unethical business and your treasure is where your heart is…money. Please why not sow this money into the kingdom by helping the poor, visit the sick, those in prison (Matt 25;25-26) which is commanded of Christians as we do it unto Him (Matt 25:40), or nothing for Him, which has horrible consequences (Matt 25:41- You said “for this reason,” which is for yourself and not for what the Bible teaches. Please my friend, You need help with your “hobby.” If you seek pleasure more than Christ and His righteousness (Matt 6:33), I have concerns for your soul sir. Praying for you. Betting on sports is no different than gambling. You might make better educated guesses, but nothing in sports is predictable, and it’s nothing like investing in the stock market.


Jeannette April 10, 2019 at 11:06 pm

Thank you for the response about gambling, here is my question I currently am a private duty home healthcare provider, I have a client that I do varies things for at her request, there have been several times where she has asked me to take her to the casino and I have, I’m a Christain and I don’t gamble to me it’s like throwing your money in the trash can. There are times when she has spent 1,000 or more in one night she has alot of money and when I’ve tried to talk to her about the amount of money she was losing. She would tell me that it was her only form of entertainment should I refuse to take anymore because I see it’s becoming a problem for her or should I continue to take her because it’s what she’s asking me to do as part of my duties to her


Jack Wellman April 11, 2019 at 10:16 am

Hello Jeannette. I would speak with this woman’s children, if she has any. This is wrong, but you are not wrong in taking her. If you refuse and she fires you, she will only have someone else do it. At least you are a Christian and can have positive influence. God alone can changer her heart (Prov 21:1).


Stephen April 11, 2019 at 12:20 pm

I thank you so much for making clear that any thing to do in surpot of Casino (gambling) is a SIN. MAY OUR HEAVENLY FATHER protect us from the deceiver, who only comes to Steal, kill and destroy


Jack Wellman April 11, 2019 at 2:12 pm

Amen sir. Thank you Stephen.


Casinobernie July 9, 2020 at 5:11 am

i am Christian and i gamble. But when I gamble only to have fun, get my mind off of the stressful things at work and home. And i strictly set spending limits. I don’t like the idea of losing too much from my hard earned income.


Jack Wellman July 9, 2020 at 8:45 am

I am sorry to hear you are gambling…even for fun. Fun is no reason to do things contrary to Scripture.


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