Gambling and God

By Not Known

The government’s decision to allow two mega-resorts incorporating casinos raise serious issues for Christian people. All Singaporeans will be affected by the economic opportunism, social impacts of a ‘get-rich-quick’ mentality and the moral sleaze that accompanies casinos worldwide. It is a pity to see these invited into Singapore

At first glance, the Scriptures appear to say little about gambling. Jesus’ death scene involved soldiers gambling over his clothes (Mt 27: 35) and there was occasional use of ‘lots’ to seek God’s guidance before the Pentecost gift of the Spirit brought new means of seeking God’s wisdom.

However, some broader Biblical teachings are relevant to gambling:

  • Wealth through gambling underminds the Biblical principle of wealth creation through hard and honest work (2Th 3: 6- 12)

  • Every gambling win is at the cost of another person. Likewise with the profits of casino operators and the license fees paid to government. Are these gains an example of the sin of theft (Ex. 20: 15)

  • The greed for gain that gambling both exploits and creates is a breach of the commandment against coveting (Ex. 20: 17)

  • Above all, gambling offends against the providence of God (Eph. 1: 11). It is a denial of the godly order of the universe in favour of a view that the universe is a place of godless and random chance.

These Biblical teachings should persuade us against all gambling, whether in a casino, Toto, horse racing, slot machines, football betting or such like.

Other moral issues also arise with gambling. For example, is it okay for Christian to go to gambling venues and not gamble, but simply to share food or entertainment? Is it okay for Christian business people to profit by selling goods or services to gambling establishments? Is it okay to own shares in the companies running the casinos?

These are complex issues. As for other areas where the Bible does not speak directly, Christian people will need to think clearly and honestly, identify their boundaries and then stand by their conscience.

Finally, the advent of the casinos will add to the existing numbers of problem gamblers. As in other countries, churches and other voluntary bodies will take a burden of caring for these people and the loved ones whom they hurt. Let us have the grace of compassion to the victims of gambling, even as we continue to oppose the evil.