Summary: Legalized gambling is harmful public policy that should be vigorously opposed at all levels.
A. GAMBLING DEFINED
Merriam-Webster, - to play a game for money or property
American Heritage® Dictionary - To bet on an uncertain outcome, as of a contest. - To play a game of chance for stakes. - To take a risk in the hope of gaining an advantage or a benefit.
World Book Encyclopedia: "Gamblers usually bet money or something else of value as a stake on the outcome they predict. When the outcome is settled, the winner collects the loser’s stakes."
B. THERE ARE THREE ELEMENTS OF GAMBLING
1. The Uncertain Event. It is arbitrarily determined.
2. The Stake. Wager or bet that is deliberately chanced.
3. A Winner And Loser. In gambling – in order for another to win another MUST lose!
C. THINGS THAT HAVE THESE THREE ELEMENTS
1. Casino gambling: slot machines, roulette wheels, dice and card games, numbers games, etc., played for stakes.
2. Betting on horses, dogs.
4. Charity and “church-sponsored” bingo, raffles, etc.
5. Bazaar and fair booths where you pay to try to win a prize, etc.
6. Amateur gambling including poker games for money, Betting on the outcome of athletic events . . office pools, matching quarters for cokes or coffee, playing marbles for keeps.
a. Even if small amounts of money are involved, such activities still violate Bible principles. Further, they establish a precedent that makes it impossible for one to consistently object to other people’s gambling. Where do you draw the line and say, "This much money risked is all right, but any more is immoral?"
D. WHAT WE ARE NOT TALKING ABOUT
The casting of lots was not gambling, but a means of making a decision. - Acts 1:26.
Taking a risk – To cross a street - The farmer is not seeking to gain at the loss of another.
Buying and selling stock is an investment, not gambling.
Buying insurance - A honest business transaction.
Prizes are gifts not gambling. When one registers to win a prize at a store’s grand opening or receives a prize that is given away for advertisement, he is not gambling.
Competition for a prize – Not a wagered possession, but won by skill and fair competition.
E. NOT A NEW PROBLEM
The Greeks in Homer’s time had knucklebones from sheep and goats to serve as dice.
A gambling board was discovered in Crete that dates back to 1800-1900 B.C.
Tertullian said, "If you say that you are a Christian when you are a dice player, you say what you are not, because you are a partner with the world."
F. A GROWING NATIONAL PROBLEM
1. Every state but Utah and Hawaii sanction some form of gambling.
a. This includes lotteries, casinos, riverboat casinos, Indian casinos, video lottery machines, and pari-mutuel betting (horse racing, dog racing).
b. In 1998, Americans spent more money on legalized gambling (approximately 50 billion) than on recorded music, theme parks, video games, spectator sports, and movie tickets combined (39.9 billion). Gambling Impact Study Commission, Final Report. Last Update: Jan. 28, 2001
c. Pathological gambling is one of the fastest-growing mental health problems in the western world. (New England Journal of Medicine, 10/5/00)