Is gambling a sin or immoral? if so, why? also, what does covet mean, as one of my acquaintances has said “when you gamble, you covet their money” he said all covet means is to want. am i a sinner or surrounded my morons?

Umm, could be both. My personal feelings about gambling are that it’s a waste of time and money. I’m not really religious, so I’m not the one to ask about that. I’ve never understood the appeal of gambling.


Of course, I’m an atheist so that sort of skews my opinion on sinning.

In Dan Savage’s book Skipping Towads Gomorrah he says that historically Christian moralists have condemned gambling on a number of grounds. It involves making a false idol, because the gambler is placing his faith in luck instead of God. One gambler winning means another gambler is losing, which ws seen as violative of Jesus’ commandment to love one’s neighbor. Nothing in the Bible explicitly condemns gambling, but the goal of gambling is money and love of money is certainly condemned (Ecclesiastes 5:10; Matthew 6:24; Ephesians 5:5).

Of course were you to ask William Bennett, professional moral arbiter, you might get a different answer.

Gambling could be considered wrong because you’re essentially trying to get something for nothing,* and you’re usually throwing away what you do have for a moment of suspense–when you could be using it for something useful. It’s highly addictive for many people, and addiction is not usually thought of as a good thing; so better to avoid it in the first place.

Casinos, then, make money out of people’s mainly futile hopes and addictions, thus profiting from unhappiness and taking as much as possible without giving anything real back. (I live in CA, where the casinos are operated by Native American tribes. I can’t say that I blame them for being happy to make money off of willing white people, but I’m not sure that it invites very good karma, either.)

*I’m guessing that the “something for nothing” part is what your friend meant by ‘coveting,’ and I suppose that’s a valid interpretation of the term. Coveting, as a sin, is when you want something someone else has, badly enough to be angry at them for having it, or willing to do something wrong to get it. There’s nothing wrong with thinking “hey, great shirt,” and saving up your money for it; there is something wrong with disliking your friend because he has the shirt, or taking or destroying the shirt so that he can’t have it either. Jealousy and envy can eat you up inside, so it’s wrong even if you don’t act upon it outwardly.

People who are opposed to gambling don’t seem to realize that they gamble all the time. Opening a new business is a gamble. Investing in a stock is a gamble. Even saving for retirement is a gamble, because you are putting money away for a future event which you may never see because you die before you can use it.

Insurance companies are gambling that you won’t die or be injured until they’ve collected enough money from you to pay your benefit, plus a profit.

I just think gambling is kinda stupid.

The occasional lottery ticket, OK, or playing the stock market, I can sort of see the appeal. But games of chance? Someone once told me they only take as much money as they can afford to lose when they gamble, and I thought, “what a waste of money.” If I could afford to blow, say $50, I’d blow it on something a little more lasting.

I should mention though that one of my parents was a compulsive gambler, so I am pretty certain that colors my opinion pretty heavily.

while i am not an avid gambler, i do enjoy the occaisional wager on a poker game or the like. I don’t covet my opponents money, its just looked upon as me by a prize. just like a raffle ticket prize. i don’t want it bad enough to beat him up and steal his wallet, and i usually sop when i am one or 2 dollars ahead, or even( we only play for a dollar a hand, with the sporadic raising) . Also, in the bibke, they gambled (sort of). Jonah (guy who got swallowed by a big fish) was thrown overboard because they casted lots, which i guess is like rock paper scissors, picking straws, or yahtzee. also, after Judas (guy who betrayed Jesus) hanged himself, the disciples used this “game of chance” to pick a replacement between two candidates. in the games that i play, there is no maliciousness or coveting, just making a fun game more interesting.

Watched a guy atMohegan Sun casino double down on a $40,000 bet and win. The same night watched another man protesting the casino burn a wad of $100 bills outside the casino doors…Not sure which man is more idiotic?

It is a tax on those that can’t do math, but besides that, go for it.

also, the way i see it, there is nothing wrong with it because both parties understand the risks and bonuses, and they take those risks. to play for fun and a little bit of $$ is fine, but nobody i know takes it to a dangerous level. also, the only person who is in this mindset of BET=sin is one acquaintance. all my other friends are either apathetic or supportive. what reasoning can i give this narrowminded…person…?

As I said above, thinking of gambling as ‘coveting’ is one way of looking at it, but I do think it’s something of a stretch. I think I might call it more ‘idleness,’ if I had to–since it’s wanting to get something for (close to) nothing. I don’t see the fun in it myself, but I can see your case that casual small bets for tiny amounts of money are not the same as ‘dangerous’ betting. Not everyone agrees, however, on the grounds that while it may be a lesser degree, it still isn’t a good principle. shrug Different ideas about where to draw the line, that’s all.

I don’t see why you feel the need to change your acqaintance’s mind about gambling. The world has managed to get along so far with all kinds of opinions on the subject. If he doesn’t want to bet, why try to convince him? Just let him know when you’re going to be playing a friendly game of poker, and let him decline if he wants to. If your problem is that he’s telling you never to gamble at all yourself, just tell him that you know his opinion, but you enjoy a little bet between friends sometimes, and you’ll have to agree to disagree on the subject of casual betting.

I’m not a philosopher (by any stretch of the imagination), but I’ll take a stab at applying both Kant’s and Mill’s moralities to gambling.

As I see it, gambling doesn’t violate Kant’s first formulation of the moral law (“Act only in accordance with that maxim through which you can at the same time will that it become a universal law”), since I can’t think of a maxim that fails when universalized. Maybe someone else can.

However, Kant’s second formulation of the moral law seems to be violated (“Act that you use humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, always at the same time as an end, never merely as a means.”) Gambling against other people takes into account only your own ends, and treats other people (and their money) as means to your ends only. Treating others as a means only is immoral to Kant.

As far as Mill’s utilitarianism is concerned, it seems to me that only excessive gambling is immoral. If you lose your life’s savings to the casino, the net utility certainly is lower than if you lose $50. The net utility actually seems difficult to calculate, because the outcome is unpredictable. Your choices are apparent, but their outcomes can vary greatly, especially depending on what kind of gambling is involved.

As I said, I’m no philosopher, so maybe someone can expound on these a little more.

It might also be helpful to specify what kind of gambling is involved. Poker/Blackjack? (Which I don’t consider gambling.) Games of pure chance where the house gets a slight edge? (Craps, roulette, slots, etc.) Pari-mutuel wagering? (Usually how horse track betting works.)

my goal is not to change his mind, but to reason that it isnt wholly evil. he is the one bringing up the evils and immorality of it, i just want a different perspective to give him.

its entertainment
some go to the movies, some go to plays, some buy a new set of golf clubs and hit the course.

And some people hit the track in search of a thrill.

Whats wrong with spending your entertainment dollar on just that?

Exactly. $5 blackjack, played with good basic strategy, costs no more than $2-3 per hour in house expectation. That’s pretty damned cheap entertainment, especially when you factor in comps, free drinks, etc.

The vast majority of gamblers treat it as entertainment. They go to Vegas a couple of times a year and blow a couple of thousand bucks. They go to the local casino on Friday night and play a few games and drop a hundred bucks. If they can afford it, it’s no different than going to dinner and a movie.

I don’t think gambling itself is immoral. In certain circumstances it might become part of something “sinful” or immoral. Like the guy who sneaks money out of his child’s college fund, and blows it at the track. Or someone who tells his wife he is making sales calls when he is really at the casino. It isn’t the gambling that is bad, it is the lying and stealing that is bad. You wouldn’t say that golfing was immoral, but if someone lies or steals to be able to play golf, then it could become something bad.

I ususally go to the track four or five times a week. I take $40.00, bet conservatively, have three drinks and a sandwich, and most of the time come home with $35.00. I have had a great time looking at the gorgeous horses, talking with owners and trainers, meeting the jockeys, all for about $20.00 a week. My husband plays golf four or five times a week, takes about $60.00 has a great time (well, that depends on his score) for about $300.00 a week. So if you look at it strictly from a financial point, in our case it would be golf that is that is immoral (especially if you factor the bad words he has been known to utter at the golf course).

And in the past year I have hit two really big exactas, one paying over $600.00 and one paying over $900.00. In both of those cases I gave most of the money to a jockey relief fund and horse retirement fund. So when my friends tease me and call me an immoral degenerate gambler, I can just smile and shrug it off because I know for me, gambling is not “sinful” or immoral.

Do churches still do bingo? If one in your area does, ask him what the difference is.

Also, the US relied on lotteries in the early days to generate money for the government.

Some gambling is noble. Say there is an extremely unpleasant task to be done. All people involved decide to draw straws, to keep it fair. That’s gambling. Would it be better if it was decided by the biggest and strongest, or most popular? No. In this instance, gambling is the moral option.

As has been said, gambling is about entertainment.

The fact that gambling can become addictive is a ridiculous argument unless you abstain from all potentially addictive things. Drink coffee, do you?

Assuming that the definition of person in this context includes corporations.

nope, no bingo here. he and i have made bets in the past but i am thinking he is using “biblical justification” to be cheap.

Apparently Catholics don’t find gambling to be immoral. The Catholic Encyclopedia says: