The topic of gambling in religion can be multi-faceted and divide opinions. There is no clear answer to this question, and it is filled with debate over whether it is bad or good to gamble. For some religious people, gambling is immoral and a sin while it is a fun pastime and hobby for others. Carry on reading to find out more about whether or not gambling is a sin.
Gambling in Different Religions
While most people who enjoy gambling do not give much thought to whether it is moral or ethical, others do as it becomes more and more popular as a form of entertainment worldwide. Gambling has been around for thousands of years and does not appear to be declining in popularity any time soon.
In most societies, there is more than one faith that influences the common ethics of the country. For this reason, it is important to look at all the most practised religions rather than just one.
Christianity – There is nowhere explicitly in the bible that condemns gambling, so this is technically allowed in Christianity. However, because money and greed are themes of the bible, many Christians believe that gambling is a sin and should not be practised. There are mixed views within the faith but in the 21st century more and more people are relaxed about gambling as a form of entertainment as long as the person is not suffering from an addiction.
Islam – Gambling is not allowed in Islam as it is seen as a way to take another person’s money without earning it, and so it is ultimately seen as stealing. The Islamic faith is against nearly all forms of gambling, including card games, table games, slot machines, horse racing and the lottery. This religion can also be seen as being destructive to the family and society structures as it is assumed it is addictive.
Hinduism – In Hinduism, for some, there is only one god, and for others, there are many gods. This religion centres around the concept of karma rather than sins, and for most Hindus it is frowned upon to gamble as they believe it could bring bad karma.
Buddhism – Buddhism is linked to Hinduism and was created by the Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama. No god in this religion is able to condemn gambling, and, like most religions, addictive gambling is generally condemned within Buddhism. However, recreational gambling for entertainment is acceptable in this religion and is tolerant of all games of chance.
Judaism – In Judaism, gambling is not expressively forbidden like it is in Islam, but it is also not encouraged. Like Islam, Judaism sees the loss of money as stealing, and therefore it becomes a sin. It also condemns addictive gambling and does not see it as being a good contribution to the community. While some Rabbis condemn gambling, others see it as being okay as a form of entertainment in moderation, like drinking alcohol.
As you can see, some religions such as Islam expressly forbid gambling and treat it as a sin while in others there is much more nuance and it is open to interpretation. Generally, all religions will condemn addictive gambling but some will allow it in moderation as a form of entertainment.
Why Does the Bible Condemn Gambling?
While some forms of religion outright forbid gambling, in others, the lines are more blurred. When it comes to the bible, many people have taken from it that gambling is a sin, while others are fine with it in moderation and do not view it as sinful.
Gambling is not addressed in the bible, but it does have specific quotes that can be applied to games of chance. For example, the bible talks about people working hard for their money and not getting it by ‘doing nothing.’ Many apply this to gambling. The bible also says that people should not partake in any activity that promotes greed which some associate with this form of entertainment. Lastly, the bible talks about money that is earned very quickly will disappear at the same rate, which is another passage many links to gambling.
However, others take a different approach and do not consider it a sin, especially when it is related to charity. They also view any money won as a way to give to good causes and do good deeds, rather than the negative view that it will ultimately be spent on immoral activities such as alcohol or drugs. Therefore, if you want to play slots, blackjack, roulette, baccarat and so on at the best online casino sites in the UK, this is fine to do so as long as you use any potential winnings for good.
The Negative Side Effects of Gambling
It is not always the act of gambling itself that some religions condemn but the negative side effects that a small percentage of players may experience. When you gamble, you should always be playing with a strict budget, and players should never bet more than they can afford. Addictive gambling can be a real problem and lead to many bad side effects such as:
Loss of family, partner and friend relationships
Loss of home
Alcohol and drugs
There are always two sides to everything, and while there can be adverse side effects of gambling, most players can enjoy this as a form of entertainment without any worries.
As you can see, it is not the act of gambling itself that some religions condemn, it is what is done after with the money won or the side effects that a small number of players experience. Overall, gambling is not a sin and as long as those engaging in this activity do so responsibly, in moderation and use their winnings for good, there is absolutely no reason not to play.
Jennifer is a writer with over five years of experience in the online casino industry. She has a First Class Honours in Media and Journalism and specialises in writing online casino reviews, slot reviews and gambling news content. Digital marketing, SEO and public relations are also other areas of interest for Jennifer and she has worked across these industries.