Matthew R. Perry

A Biblical Case Against Gambling

In Gambling on February 11, 2008 at 10:47 pm

I’m so thankful for the accessibility of my former seminary professors. I sent an e-mail to Dr. Hershael York of Southern Seminary for some help in developing a theology of gambling — either to post something on his blog or to point me to some other posts. The reason being is that many of our Kentucky Baptists have launched a crusade against casino gambling, the lottery, and other forms — yet the crusades are high on rhetoric, but low on biblical references.

Today, Dr. York posted “A Biblical Case Against Gambling.” Thanks, Dr. York — you have no idea how helpful this post was!

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  1. Pastor Bill Henard of Porter Memorial Baptist Church preached a sermon recently on this subject. Go to and request a copy.

  2. Christianity 101: Is Gambling a Bad Bet?
    1 Timothy 6:10
    At the forefront of our lives here in Kentucky is the question of whether or not we will expand gambling. The windfall sounds good – we are $300 million short in revenue and casinos will provide $500 million. But the costs are too high. As Christians, we should never participate in gambling in any form, from betting on the ponies, to buying a lottery ticket at the gas station, to going to the casino. Here’s why.
    I. Gambling Roots Itself in Spiritual Depravity.
    6:10 for the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil
    It Originates from the Lust of the Flesh. I John 2:16

    It Disregards God’s Kingdom and Righteousness. Matthew 6:25-34

    It Ignores the Eternal Destiny of the Soul. Mark 8:36

    It Violates the Great Commandment. Matthew 22:37-39

    It Preys Upon the Weak. Mark 9:42

    II. Gambling Leads to Evil Outcomes.
    6:10 a root of all kinds of evil
    Gambling Creates NO New Wealth.
    Gambling Depresses Legitimate Business.
    Gambling Increases Welfare Costs.
    Gambling Increases Crime.
    Gambling Corrupts Government.
    Gambling Victimizes the Poor.
    Gambling Legalizes Stealing.
    Gambling Promotes a False Work Ethic.
    Gambling Contradicts Social Responsibilities.
    Gambling Revenues Violate all Sound Theories of Taxation.

    Some Facts about Gambling:
    80% of the floor space at a casino is dedicated to slot machines or video poker, which produces 70% of the money wagered.
    Players become addicted 3 times the rate over “green felt” games, with the majority of players coming from a lower income bracket.
    Players can use credit cards that register as a purchase and allows almost unlimited gambling.
    Women become addicted to slots twice as fast as men.
    Home foreclosure rates are 5 times greater in the KY counties which border the Indiana casinos than in the rest of KY.
    Addiction rates double within 50 miles of a casino; a casino within 10 miles of a home yields a 90% increased risk for becoming a pathological or problem gambler.
    Between 20-30% of problem gamblers have attempted suicide. The suicide rate is 20 times higher among pathological gamblers.
    Every compulsive gambler costs the economy between $14,000 and $22,000 per year.
    Gambling costs the state three times more money than it generates.
    After casino gambling came to Atlantic City, crime within a thirty mile radius increased 100%.
    A study by the National Institute of Mental Health concluded 4.2 million Americans are addicted to gambling, 60% of whom have yearly incomes under $25,000.
    Costs to businesses equals an Additional $50,000/year/100 employees (Univ. of Miami Business Law Review, 1994).
    Pathological Gamblers in Gamblers Anonymous
    34% were fired from or quit work
    44% had stolen from employers to finance gambling
    26% were divorced or separated due to gambling
    For every one job created, 1-2.75 jobs are lost in a 35-mile radius and/or “feeder markets.” (US Judiciary Hearing 1995; Univ. of IL Business Revue, 1995).

    The promise is that up to $500 million in new tax revenue will be generated.
    For that to happen, $1.5 billion must be lost. $14.3 billion will be wagered (which translates that over $14 billion is taken out of the economy for wagering at the casinos).
    $1 Billion dollars will then leave the state to go to Nevada.
    Each citizen in KY must lose $357.25 (or $1429 per family) to cover these gambling losses. If one family does not gamble, then that amount is doubled for the family who does).
    When Gov. Wallace Wilkinson proposed the Lottery in 1987, proceeds would fix the K-12 education system and would keep Kentuckians from paying higher taxes. WITHIN ONE YEAR, THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY PASSED THE LARGEST TAX INCREASE IN KENTUCKY HISTORY!!!!

    III. Gambling Results in Ruin.
    People Wander from the Faith.
    6:10 people have wandered from the faith

    People Wound Themselves with Great Grief.
    6:10 piecing themselves with many pains

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