The Gambling Game

By Not Known

It is common for people to gamble and Singapore has plenty of opportunities. Offshore gambling cruises, Genting bus tours, card games, lucky draws, and now casinos are all available.

The nation’s churches, with other local religious and community groups, have been vocal in opposing further gambling facilities. Why? After all gambling creates employment, attracts foreign exchange, stimulates expenditure and swells tax revenue.

Christian opposition is not because we are killjoys who take pleasure in denying others their pleasure. Rather, it is based on love of neighbour and of God.

Firstly, love of neighbour.

  • Profit without honour. Gambling is not a charity but a highly profitable business. The operators win and gamblers lose. Unlike other providers of goods and services, there’s no real benefit to most gamblers.
  • Individuals suffer. Gambling is addictive to some whose lives slip into a downward spiral of desperate measure to get yet more money to play, hoping against hope that the next roll of the dice is their big win. Further, gambling fosters irresponsibility, with its promise of wealth without work.
  • Families suffer. Many a mother and children sit at home in relative poverty while dad goes out yet again to gamble. Then they feel dad’s rage when he comes home; again a loser and again looking to vent anger.
  • Social sleaze. Gambling attracts prostitution, drugs, loan sharks etc. Sophisticated gambling attracts sophisticated sleaze, but it’s still sleaze. It’s good to see local measures to head off some of these ill-effects by regulative controls. However, the regular arrests for gambling-related vices reinforce the problem. Gambling fosters social harms from which we need protection. Why allow it in the first place?

Secondly, love of God.

  • Gambling treats life as random or subject to superstitious fate. The Bible teaches that the world is ordered under the hand of its creator-Lord (eg Eph 1:11). Gambling insults God’s providence.
  • Gambling is a false and cruel god. The adrenalin rush of high expectations and the ‘buzz’ that go with gambling can be an empty ‘hebel’ that distracts us from seeing our need of God. (Eccles 2:10-11).

Let’s stay away from gambling ourselves and encourage others to do the same. Love of God and neighbour bids us say ‘no thanks’.