At least 12 million
Americans are compulsive gamblers. (Gamblers Anonymous)
One in 4 American men and 1 in 8 women plan to
gamble in the next Super Bowl. (Gallup poll, "Psychology Today")
Two-thirds of Americans have gambled, and 80% approve of gambling as a
means of collecting taxes. (Report by the Federal Commission on the
Review of the National Policy Toward Gambling)
The average compulsive gambler has debts
exceeding $80,000 (Dallas Morning News, 1/4/84)
"To gamble is to take a calculated risk for
monetary or personal gain." (Dictionary of Pastoral Care and
Gambling exploits the poor, as
"the poor bet a much larger share of their
income." (National Bureau of Economic Research)
Thirty to 50 percent of money collected by casinos annually comes from
about 4 percent of the population.
Legalized gambling increases illegal gambling
by 300 percent. (Organized Crime Section of the Department of Justice)
"Winning money is the most important reason why people say they visit a
casino." (Survey in American Demographics, May 1997)
increase steadily and sharply as the number of legal types of gambling
increases. Social betting more than doubles from 35% in states with no
legal games to 72% in states with three legal types; the illegal
gambling rate more than doubles from nine percent to 22%; and
commercial gambling increases by 43%, from 24 to 67 percent." (The
Final Report of the Commission on the Review of National Policy Toward
Getting killed by lightning is seven times more
likely than winning a million dollars in a state lottery. (Harper's,
Only 40 cents of every lottery dollar goes to
the state budget. Direct taxation costs only 1 cent on the dollar.
Crime rates for counties with casinos are 8%
higher than the crime rates of counties without casinos. (Las Vegas
Crime within 30 miles of Atlantic City rose by
107% in the nine years following the introduction of casinos to the
area. (Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, Aug. 1991)
The rate of compulsive gambling among teens is
growing at twice the rate of that of adults. (Dr. Howard J. Shaffer,
Director of the Harvard Medical School Center for Addiction Studies)
Crime rates in casino communities are 84%
higher than the national average. (U.S. News & World Report,
Pathological ("compulsive") gambling is recognized as a diagnosable
mental disorder. (The American Psychiatric Asso. and the American
Nevada ranked first in crime rates among the
50 states in both 1995 and 1996. (FBI Uniform Crime Report statistics)
More money is spent on gambling than on
elementary and secondary education. (Christianity Today,
"But ye who have forsaken the Eternal, ye who
ignore his sacred hill, spreading tables to Good Luck, pouring
libations to Fate, I make the sword your fate."
"Thou shalt not covet."
The Hebrew word for covet is
chamad, defined in Brown, Driver and Briggs' lexicon as a "bad
sense of inordinate, ungoverned, selfish desire." It is the same word
used for "desire" in Genesis 3:6 - "when the woman saw that the tree
was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to
be desired (chamad) to make one wise, she took of the fruit
thereof, and did eat...."
Thanks to Diane Dew for the following information.
QUOTES ON GAMBLING
"The winner's shout,
the loser's curse."
"Gaming corrupts our dispositions, and teaches
us a habit of hostility against all mankind."
"The best throw at dice is to throw them away."
I. Get-rich-quick schemes are a hoax.
Gambling and the Bible - Scripture Verses
A. They bring poverty,
Prov 28:22 (cp. Prov 22:16)
"He that hastens to be rich hath
an evil eye, and considers not
that poverty shall come upon him."
B. The divinely
established means of "getting ahead" is by work.
Gen 2:15; 3:19
2 Thes 3:10, 11
Prov 6:6; 12:11; 20:4
II. The greed (covetousness) that motivates individuals to
gamble is sin.
Prov 11:28; 15:16; 23:4-5
1 Tim 6:6-11, 17-19
III. Gambling is destructive.
A. Spiritually. It affects our walk
indicates a lack of trust in God's ability to provide.
1 Tim 6:6-9
2. True riches are spiritual and eternal.
Phil 4:19 "riches in glory in Christ"
Jas 2:5 "rich in faith"
1 Tim 6:18 "rich in good deeds"
Eph 2:4 "rich in mercy"
3. We should look to God as our Source of supply:
4. Gambling expressly denies God's sovereignty and care.
form of covetousness, gambling violates the tenth commandment.
6. Christians are called to a walk of holiness (separation from
1 Thes 5:22
7. Gambling destroys contentment.
I Tim. 6:6, 10
B. Societally. Gambling destroys
families and communities.
Gambling robs money from the family, for which parents have a
responsibility to provide.
2 Cor 12:14
2 Thes 3:12
1 Tim 5:9
2. Gambling distorts our love for our neighbor, exploiting the
most vulnerable members of society: the poor.
Gambling is a bad example to others.
1 Corin 10:31-33
4. Gambling encourages stealing, which increases court costs;
stresses out marital relationships by burdening finances ("He who is
greedy for gain troubles his own house..." Prov 15:27); and forces
reliance upon public assistance, bankruptcy, etc.
C. Personally. Gambling is
Gambling destroys our work ethic.
Gen 2:15; 3:19
2 Thes 3:10, 11
Prov 6:6; 12:11; 20:4
2. Gambling is rooted in greed, the love and craving for money,
which is "the root of all evil."
1 Tim 6:10
3. Gambling is addicting. God wants us to be free!
2 Corin 3:17
Gal 5:1, 13
1 Pet 2:16
2 Pet 2:19
In Gambling and the Law, Rose (1986) describes the current rapid
expansion of legalized gambling as the "third wave of gambling."
Asburyís book is about the first (1800 to 1835, approximately) and
second (1865 to 1900, approximately) waves of gambling.
However, these waves appear to have been more like a series of
cresting tides in different areas at different times. Unlike the
current wave of legalized gambling, these older waves were often
not legal and in no sense organized or coherent. Asbury describes
these waves as follows,
Gambling in America experienced its greatest growth
and expansion during the half-century which followed
the Louisiana Purchase. In addition to the evolution of
Faro and Poker, the introduction of Craps, Thimble-Rig
and Monte, and the Phoenix-like rise of Policy from the
ashes of Lottery, this period saw the spread of public
gaming throughout the country, the first organized antigambling
crusades, the rise and fall of the picturesque
sharper of the Western rivers, the citizenís war against
the gamblers of the Mississippi, and the development
of the gambling house and its transformation from a
tolerated rarity into a political and social menace.
The relationship between gambling and the law as described by
Asbury has been a stormy one. Wide-open gambling existed in
JGI:Issue 13, March 2005. Page 5 of 8
New Orleans during the French regime. Gambling bans in 1811,
1820, and 1835 sent ripples of displaced professional gamblers
out across the Mississippi and throughout the interior of the United
The chapter on lotteries is in particular full of references to a lovehate
relationship between the law and lotteries. Numerous
schools, libraries, and other public institutions were funded
through proceeds from lotteries. However, of particular interest is
the large number of occasions on which various gambling
activities have been prohibited by law. Lotteries were at one time
legal and encouraged, but after lotteries were banned, policy (the
numbers racket), faro, poker, and other games came to fill their
place. Casinos were banned several times in history.
Between these prohibitions, various splendid hells as well as
"second-rate skinning houses" would pop up from time to time.
When gambling was legal they would pay licence fees, but when
gambling was illegal they stayed open by paying off the police.
These payoffs were essentially a licence fee. The New York police
department, for example, used a well-defined formula to
determine the size of the graft that a casino would have to pay
based on the size of the casino. But in most cities the casinos'
existence was always tenuous, as the police might attack at any
time if the "graft" was insufficient or if some new reform-minded
politician came into power.
Many cities had anti-gambling riots that ended in lynching. The
lynching of gamblers in Vicksburg, for example (pg. 220), sent
shocked waves of professional gamblers streaming north, west,
and east, where they established "gambling colonies" in other
cities. So gambling expanded and contracted in an almost
Interestingly, the gambling industry did not necessarily want wideopen
gambling. In 1869 gambling was legalized in New Orleans,
but a law permitting wide-open gambling was quickly repealed. It
was the established gambling industry of the city that led the antigambling
movement, because these "deluded sharpers" (p. 416)
did not like the intense competition that the legalization had
Another problem in our society is drunk driving.
Against Drunk Drivers