DISCUSSION: Is Gambling Ungodly?

 

Casino-Gambling

For about four days last September, I spent an average of 3-hours each day in a cybercafé close to my parents’ home. As it turned out, that cybercafé also doubled as a registered bookie for an online sports betting site presently operating in Nigeria. Within those four days, I observed as young men trooped into the cybercafé to do only one thing- wager a few hundred Naira, on the outcomes of foreign league soccer matches, in hopes of earning a few thousand Naira if they were lucky.  On noticing this trend I thought to myself ‘Nigeria is in trouble’.’ If young men would rather spend their time and money gambling on the internet instead of doing other more productive things on the internet, then the future of our nation is in trouble’.

Was I wrong to think that way? Was I being too pessimistic and simply over exaggerating the possible effects of a harmless pastime? Maybe. Maybe not.

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WHAT IS ‘GAMBLING’?

Gambling is the wagering/betting of money or any thing of material value on an event which has an unknown outcome. The main intent of such wagering is to win more money and/or material goods. Some outcomes of gambling games are based solely on chance as in lotteries, slot machines, the tossing of dice, the tossing of a ball on a roulette wheel e.t.c. while the outcome of some gambling games are based on the combination of chance, training and strategy such as in sports and poker.

WHY DO PEOPLE GAMBLE?

From my study so far, people gamble for the following reasons;

  1. To overcome boredom
  2. To distract themselves from pressing problems/stress/worries
  3. Just for the fun of it
  4. To enjoy the competition or challenge of trying to beat other players/the bookie/dealer
  5. To solve financial problems

THE MOST OBVIOUS PROBLEM ASSOCIATED WITH GAMBLING

Well, although gambling could be fun, research shows that it could (not would though) get us into trouble. The main problem associated with gambling is the fact that gambling has the ability to develop into an addiction similar to drug addiction. This means that a person who picks up the habit of gambling is at risk of becoming an addict/a problem gambler.

Some of the negative physical, psychological and social consequences of problem gambling on the addict include: migrain, distress, depression and anxiety related disorders. Other members of society also suffer at the hands of such addicts as they have been know to steal or even kill in order to get money to feed their addiction to gambling.

WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT GAMBLING?

Nothing- at least not directly. I haven’t read one thing in my Binle that directly tells if I should or shouldn’t gamble as a Christian. Or if gambling is a sin or not.

THE ISSUE/MY QUESTIONS

Since the Bible seems silent on the issue of gambling, do you think its O.K for Christians to gamble? If only just for fun?

or…..

Do you think gambling is an ungodly activity in and of itself? And why do you think so?

And finally,  If you are of the opinion that gambling is in someway ungodly or unwise for a Christian, what scriptures have informed your perspective, seeing that the Bible doesn’t directly address this activity?

I eagerly look forward to your insightful comments and opinions. Shalom!!!

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Thanks for taking out the time to join the discussion by sharing your comments 😉

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KEEP IN TOUCH

Twitter: @ify_ngozikaa

Facebook: Ifeoma Nkem-Gbemudu

Email: singifeoma@yahoo.com

Photo Credit: casinoonthego .com

  • Benny-M

    For me gambling is an issue when it becomes ones priority to solving financial challenges. It means such persons would rather place thier faith in luck n chances instead of God. And this mindset will proceed to affect every other aspect of such persons life.

    • singifeoma

      Thanks Ben. So you’re saying gambling isn’t ungodly BUT can become a problem in a person’s life, am I right?

      • Benny-M

        Yes Ify, it becomes a problem in an individuals life when he/she becomes addicted. And thanks to Olaolubee for nailing the issue #thumbs up.

  • olaolubee

    1. I don’t think, “use of illegal drugs” was mentioned in the bible. But majority will admit it isn’t pleasing to their God. 2. Gambling is a very potent issue and is subject to how an individual approaches it. The best analogy is use of alcohol – how one person is a drunkard and the other only ever drinks as much as was given at communion. 3. Proverbs 13:11 Wealth gained hastily will dwindle, but whoever gathers little by little will increase it. 4 Gambling is a moral issue. The disciples casted lots when it was time to replace Judas, Nehemiah casted lots to determine who would live inside the walls of Jerusalem but then Proverbs 16:33 reads; The lot is cast in the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord. In conclusion (and this is my opinion) every decision you make without being certain of what the outcome would be is a gamble. While the gambles we take daily can easily be overlooked or stand to teach us how to be better next time, it becomes a problem when what is at stake(e.g. money) is of more value than what the risk of losing (the stake) is.

  • Ita

    Gambling in itself is not a sin. The only thing in the bible defined as sin now is anything done without faith or out of selfishness (or lack of love). If you’re out with friends and you gamble just for fun God is not going to be mad. But everything must be done in moderation as Paul points out. In this dispensation “sin” is such a tricky thing that even eating too much tomato can be a sin, if it becomes something that you cannot do without (you idolise above God). So in itself gambling is not a sin but in the case that it becomes your solution to issues and your go to place it becomes sin.

    Really nice article, keep it up. Plus I’ve never gambled before. Lol.

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