The New Testament doesn't include passages specific to gambling, but many Christians believe gambling to be immoral. In his Christian response to gambling, Ronald A. Reno explains that gambling is a sign of greed and covetousness. Gambling also does not encourage Christians to "love your neighbor," as Jesus commands in Mark 12:31, since gambling winnings are based on the losses of others. Many Christians also condemn gambling because of its adverse impact on families and its tendency to lead to addiction.
There are, young householder, these six evil consequences in indulging in gambling:
- the winner begets hate, - the loser grieves for lost wealth, - loss of wealth, - his word is not relied upon in a court of law, - he is despised by his friends and associates, - he is not sought after for matrimony; for people would say he is a gambler and is not fit to look after a wife.
Do not take to gambling, even if you can win,
for your wins will be like the baited hooks that fish swallow.
To win once, a gambler loses a hundred times.
What a way to procure happiness and prosperity!
Incessantly calling bets on rolling dice causes
a man's rich reserves and potential revenues to run elsewhere.
Gambling brings on many miseries and erodes one's good name.
Nothing else ends in such wretched poverty.
Desiring to win everything, those who love the dice,
the gambling hall and their lucky hand lose it all.
Gambling is Misfortune's other name. Fools ensnared by her
will suffer an empty stomach and distressing sorrows.
Spending time in the gambling hall squanders
ancestral wealth and wastes personal worth.
Gambling will consume a man's wealth and corrupt his honesty.
It will curtail his benevolence and increase his torment.
Those who take to gambling's fickle gain forfeit these five:
raiments, riches, rations, renown and erudition.
The gambler's passion increases with the losses incurred.
Even so does the soul's craving for life grow with the griefs suffered.
O ye who believe! Intoxicants and gambling, (dedication of) stones, and (divination by) arrows, are an abomination, of Satan's handwork: eschew such (abomination), that ye may prosper.
Satan's plan is (but) to excite enmity and hatred between you, with intoxicants and gambling, and hinder you from the remembrance of Allah, and from prayer: will ye not then abstain?
A man once asked the Chafetz Chaim to bless him that he should win the lottery, but the Chafetz Chaim refused. "But you give blessings to people who gamble on stocks, why not when they gamble on lotteries?" the man asked. The Chafetz Chaim answered that he gives blessings to stock investors because if the stock goes up, no one loses money. But blessing one lottery ticket is a `curse' upon the other lottery tickets.
In the Babylonian Talmud (Sanhedrin 24b) the rabbis debate the reason that gamblers are invalid as witnesses. Rami Bar Hamma suggests that all gambling is a form of asmakhtah (reliance)--that because gamblers believe, erroneously, that they will win, they are not wholeheartedly putting their money at risk. Taking winnings, therefore, is a kind of theft.