Is Gambling A Sin?

Q. I want to know if gambling in general is a sin or just certain forms. The reason I ask this is because my spring break is coming up and I wanted to gamble at a casino on my trip. I decided I would play with $100 and none more. If I win some, great. If not, no big deal. I like the rush of a winning hand, it’s just for excitement. I’ve played before and lost about $70 and it was no big deal, just something to do on vacation. I know I’m not going to develop a gambling problem, so is it still a sin?

A. Gambling is not a sin until it becomes a habit that you can’t control. As long a you can afford it and the money you lose doesn’t jeopardize your ability to meet your financial obligations, but is just a form of entertainment, there’s no problem. Personally, I’ve never had so much money that I could feel OK about throwing it away, but that’s just my opinion.

As you’re making your decision, remember Paul’s admonition in 1 Cor 6:12:

“Everything is permissible for me”–but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible for me”–but I will not be mastered by anything.”

Gambling is a very addictive behavior. You can’t say for certain that you won’t develop a problem, any more than a person taking their first drink or smoking their first cigarette can. Be careful.

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