Popular culture celebrates it. Bookies tell people, “It’s more fun with a bet.” Gambling seems like harmless fun—even as it warps our values and society. While the Bible doesn’t directly address gambling, biblical principles can inform how we relate to “games of chance.”

Gambling is poor stewardship. Everything in our lives—our time, our health, our money—is a gift that we are entrusted with by God. When we fritter our cash away on lotteries, sports bets, slot machines, and other forms of gambling, we throw away both our time and our money. The Bible says, “Wealth hastily gotten will dwindle, but those who gather little by little will increase it” (Prov. 13:11, NRSV). Jesus said, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions” (Luke 12:15, NIV).

Invest your time, money, and energy in God’s kingdom. Jesus said, “So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matt. 6:31-33, NIV).

Gambling skews our perspective. The tenth commandment tells us not to covet (Exod. 20:17). Jesus told us, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matt. 6:19-21, NIV). Focus on what really matters—love, family, your walk with God.

Gambling harms society. Those who promote gambling prey on the poor while becoming rich off them. Studies have found that most lottery winners regret having won. Countless people have thrown away money that they could have invested in their families and communities.

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