1. Gambling in America is bigger than ever:
a. Since 1975 the number of adults who have never gambled declined from about 1 out of 3 to 1 out of 7 (from 33% to 85% have gambled), & the amount of money gambled away more than doubled.
b. Lotteries & casinos are now the most common forms of gambling. About 1 in 2 played the lottery in 1998 while the number of people who gambled in a casino more than doubled, to 29% of adults. (Gambling Impact and Behavior Study, Report to the National Gambling Impact Study Commission, April 1, 1999, page viii)
c. In 2001, for the first time, gambling in the state of WA will exceed $2 billion a year! ($3 million / day) (Robert Van Dyken of Concerned Christian Citizens, Communiqué, Dec. 2001, p. 3)
d. 2002: WA State Senate Bill 6193 - Would allow non-tribal gambling operations to offer many of the same gambling games as tribal casinos & extend the hours which gambling may occur.
2. Gambling takes different forms.
a. 19 forms listed in a 1992 WA state questionnaire on gambling.
b. "A lottery is considered a form of gambling, because the value of the prize is greater than the cost of the ticket, and no skill is involved in winning." ("Lottery", Microsoft® Encarta® Online Encyclopedia 2001; http://encarta.msn.com)
3. The common thread: Gambling appeals to the things of the flesh, not the things of the Spirit - Gal. 5:16- 17, 24-26.
4. The problems of gambling are real: Economic, emotional, societal, spiritual.
5. We must understand why gambling is wrong & why Christians must avoid this form of evil - 1Ths. 5:21-22.
I. WE NEED TO CLEARLY DEFINE GAMBLING.
A. What Gambling Is.
1. "Wagering of money or other item of value on an uncertain event that is dependent either wholly on chance, as in roulette, or partly on chance and partly on skill, as in certain card games and in sporting contests." ("Gambling", Microsoft® Encarta® Online Encyclopedia 2001; http://encarta.msn.com)
2. "To play at any game of chance for stakes to stake or risk money, or anything of value, on the outcome of something involving chance bet; wager" (Random House College Dictionary, p. 542)
3. A stake is involved whereby one stands to gain at the loss of others, depending upon the outcome of some arbitrarily element of chance.
B. What Gambling Is Not.
1. Gambling is not just taking a risk ("taking a risk" / "taking a gamble").
2. Gambling is not taking the normal & customary risks of business or life (cf. farming, the stock market, driving a car, etc.).
a. In gambling one stands to gain at the loss of others - The deciding factor is some arbitrarily selected chance.
b. Example: In farming, profit is not sought at the loss of others & risk is not contrived. Hard work, investment of time, knowledge, money, & many other things go into the business of farming.
c. The fact that unknown variables exist (risk is involved) does not by itself constitute gambling!
d. Gen. 3:17-19; 9:2-3 - Raising crops & hunting contain risk - but they are not gambling!
C. The Vocabulary Of Gambling.
1. Euphemisms include: Gaming, revenue enhancement, entertainment; "compulsive gamblers, problem gamblers, pathological gamblers."
2. The Bible calls it "sin" - 1 Jno. 3:4; 1 Tim. 6:10.
a. "Gambling is not specifically mentioned in Bible, how can it be wrong?"
b. Not all sins are specifically named in Bible: Rape, child molestation, porn., etc. The Bible sets forth principles whereby specific conduct may be discerned as good or evil.
II. GOD-GIVEN PRINCIPLES FOR OBTAINING MATERIAL GOODS.
A. Through Labor - Eph. 4:28; 2 Ths. 3:l2; Luke 10:7. (Law of labor)
B. Through Buying & Selling - Matt. 13:44; Matt. 25:27 (incl. investment). (Law of exchange)
C. Through Giving & Receiving - Eph. 4:28; Acts 2:45 - Voluntary gift to needy. (Law of love)
D. Gambling Violates All Of These!
1. Law of greed - 1 Tim. 6:9.
2. Law of ease (something for nothing) - cf. 2 Ths. 3:10.
3. Law of taking and keeping - cf. Acts 20:35.
-It is a parasite on legitimate economy & exists without divine sanction & approval.
III. THE SINFUL PROBLEMS OF GAMBLING.
-Problem gambling in Washington State
-Young people: Beware! (Quick Facts on Gambling, NASPA Gambling Task Force, http://www.naspa.org/resources/gambling/GTFQF.cfm)
A. The Essential Motive For Gambling Is Covetousness (Greed).
1. Covet - "to fix passion upon," "To long inordinately for."
2. Thus, the greedy person is an idolater! - Eph. 5:5 (Col. 3:5).
3. Love of money is the root of gambling - l Tim. 6:10.
4. Remedy: Set (fix) your mind on things above, not things on the earth! - Col. 3:1-4
B. It Violates The Principle Of Honest Labor & Robs Man Of The Incentive To Fulfill This God-given Role In Life - Gen. 3:19.
1. One's income is to come from his own hard work:
a. 1 Ths. 4:11-12 - Work...Have need of nothing.
b. 2 Ths. 3:10 - If one won't work, not a charity case!
2. Gambling shuns hard work for chance, accepting laziness over industry!
3. Gambling perpetuates the "get something for nothing" mentality.
4. Gambling away money evades responsibility to provide for oneself & his family - Lk. 16:10-13. (Involves tragic waste!)
C. Gambling Is A Selfish Endeavor Opposed To Loving Others - Matt. 7:12; 22:39.
1. Gambling mistreats others: Gambler tries to "win" the rewards of another man's labor. (Get rich quick at somebody else's expense!)
2. The gambler profits solely at another person's loss. (cf. Casinos)
3. Perpetuates injustice against one's fellow man - cf. Prov. 16:8.
D. Gambling Is Accompanied By Other Evils - Matt. 7:16.
1. Gambling is known by its fruits. Gambling cannot produce good things! - Jas. 3:11-12
2. The fruit of gambling includes: Greed, domestic violence, child abuse, divorce, theft, fraud, organized crime, prostitution, murder, drinking, suicide.
3. It destroys confidence, credibility, reliability & security between spouses & other family members. (Illustration of B'ham couple from Communiqué, CCC Newsletter)
4. Prov. 15:16 - "Better is a little with the fear of the LORD, Than great treasure with trouble."
E. Gambling Harms Society.
1. Economic liability; Attracts the criminal element. (Creates a lawless environment); gov't creates bureaucracy to oversee it. (Prov. 14:34)
2. The cost of gambling upon society is high!
"The costs of gambling-related problems can be high, not only for individuals but for families and communities. Pathological gamblers experience physical and psychological stress and exhibit substantial rates of depression, alcohol and drug dependence and suicidal ideation. The families of pathological gamblers experience physical and psychological abuse as well as harassment and threats from bill collectors and creditors. Other significant impacts include costs to employers, creditors, insurance companies, social service agencies and the civil and criminal justice systems." (Gambling and Problem Gambling In Washington State: A Replication Study, 1992-1998, Report to the Washington State Lottery, Rachel A. Volberg, Ph.D., W. Lamar Moore, M.S., Gemini Research, Ltd.)
F. Gambling Does Not Promote Godliness.
1. Phil. 4:8 - Can these things be said of gambling?
2. l Ths. 5:22 - Abstain from appearance of evil.
3. Matt. 5:16; Titus 2:7 - To exert good influence.
4. Jas. 4:4 - Christians are not of the world.
5. 1 Tim. 6:17-19 - Stewards of our money to further the Lord's work.
G. Gambling Is Deceptive - 1 Cor. 15:33.
1. Under the guise of entertainment, gambling consumes innocent souls!
a. A constant appeal to raw greed.
b. A carefully crafted fantasy of getting rich quick.
c. The deception that winning is easy and likely.
d. The trap of devastating addiction.
e. The victimization of the poor by gambling entrepreneurs (including the state!). Prov. 22:16: " He who oppresses the poor to increase his riches will surely come to poverty."
2. 2 Pet. 2:19 - Offering success & freedom, gambling delivers sorrow & bondage!
H. Gambling Is Not Harmless Regardless Of The Amount Wagered Or Who Gets What You Lose.
-(It is not innocent entertainment, safe pastime). (Rom. 3:8)
1. The amount of the wager doesn't change its nature...gambling is sin. (cf. Lottery)
2. "It's for a good cause" (cf. bingo for a church, a school, the Whatcom County Crisis Council) does not change that gambling is a violation God's will!
3. Gambling is not wrong only for those who cannot afford to lose!
4. Whether for large or small amounts - Gambling is wrong!
1. Gambling is a product of worldliness, an effort to lay up treasure on this earth.
2. It is a deceiver, a mocker & a destroyer (lives, families, nations & souls).
3. Its influence is putrid, its practice debilitating.
4. The Christian must put to death a heart of covetousness & abstain from every form of greediness, including gambling.
5. Can you picture Jesus gambling? (Lk. 9:58)