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Is Online Sports Gambling a Sin?

Gambling and betting are seen by many as forms of entertainment and leisure activities that are relatively harmless. But can gambling and betting of our money and resources be truly considered harmless entertainment? Gambling and betting involve activities in which, in most cases, money changes hands based on chance and risk. The risk is to the one gambling or placing bets, who often does so without rationally thinking about risk. Such activities include casino games, slot machines, card games, lotteries, scratch-off cards, horse racing, betting on sports games, and more. Many of these activities are now available online and even through apps on our phones that provide “gamers” opportunities to compete in fantasy sports competitions and tournaments for cash prizes. The appeal of gambling and betting is the thrill of the possible win and the emotional high that it brings. It holds out the opportunity to make a fast buck, to double or triple returns on seemingly small bets, and in some situations like national and state lotteries, the ability to get rich quickly. How should Christians think about all this? Does the Bible give us insight and direction on these kinds of things? Join Dr. Richard Caldwell and Dr. Josh Philpot on the Straight Truth Podcast this week to hear what they understand the Bible to teach regarding gambling and betting and how it is, that these things relate to our desires and what’s going on in our hearts.

Dr. Caldwell shares that he doesn't want to be involved in gambling at all, at any level, and that's because it has to do with what the Bible teaches about our attitude toward wealth. Gambling dangles the carrot that it's possible to get something for next to nothing. For some, it may be about the thrill of chance and maybe even the thrill of the occasional win. But for most, when it comes to gambling/betting, it’s about the desire to make money and gain wealth. Therefore, we have to ask, what does the Bible teach about wealth? Dr. Caldwell first reminds us that the Scriptures teach us not to set our hearts on wealth. He then shares Proverbs 13:11, 15:27, 20:21, and 21:5. As he reads these verses, he also explains how they reveal that the desire to get rich is not good; it is not a healthy desire. The following are a few insights Dr. Caldwell points out from these verses and others regarding the desire to gain riches and wealth:

 There’s a lack of understanding of how we're to earn and make money through labor, work, and regular ongoing effort. (We are exhorted to work hard and earn a living, 2 Thessalonians 3:10.)
 There’s a hastiness and a recklessness that lacks a principled and disciplined approach to earning wealth.
 There’s greed, which by the Apostle Paul, through the Spirit of God, is equated with idolatry (Colossians 3:5). It's loving money/wealth/riches more than God. (We cannot serve God and money, Matthew 6:24).
 There is a lack of contentment and satisfaction in what God has chosen to give to us.
 We are warned against the love of money. The Bible teaches that it is the root of all kinds of evil (1 Timothy 6:9-10).
 Scripture clearly warns us to avoid attempts to “get rich quick”.

Gambling/betting focuses on the love of money and tempts people with the promise of quick and easy riches. It does the opposite of what Scripture calls us to do and be. Dr. Caldwell says this is why gambling is sinful. It is sinful as to its desires. It’s sinful as to its lack of discipline. It’s sinful as to its lack of satisfaction, and it is sinful as to its untrusting nature toward the means that God has ordained to take care of us. Most important is that gambling and betting are issues that spring from our hearts, and they require us to ask ourselves some questions:

 Why am I doing this?
 What is driving this, no matter how small or large the risk might be?
 What is the belief behind my desire to participate in this?
 What do I think I am going to have if I win?

Dr. Caldwell does not presume that everyone who puts down some money in the office pool is operating in the realm of the verses he has shared from Proverbs. However, he would not participate in those things no matter how minimal the risk is because he believes there is a danger of deadening our consciences toward many of these issues he spoke about.

Other dangers that Dr. Caldwell and Dr. Philpot discuss regarding gambling and betting speak to how the gambling industry is a racket that preys on people's vulnerabilities and temptations, especially those who are poor, and what often happens to those who win exorbitant and large sums of money. Additionally, they discuss how gambling and betting are shameful uses and wastes of the resources that God has given us. Yet they also consider and discuss other ways for Christians to potentially grow and increase what God has given us by and through investing. However, even in our investing practices, we want to be careful and diligent as we look for ways and things to invest in that will honor and glorify God.

So, while the Bible does not speak specifically about gambling, betting, and the like, there are verses of Scripture that address some of what drives gambling. And what these verses say about it is negative. As Christians, whether we're wealthy or poor, we need to realize that what we have in God, we will never have in money. There is nothing in this realm that we need to long after or seek after in a way that would violate Scripture. God is enough. If that’s our heart attitude, then gambling becomes a clear issue for us. The only thing that would make it foggy is not understanding these things.

About The Straight Truth Podcast

The Straight Truth Podcast: Christian Opinions in an Increasingly Secular World. Join Dr. Richard Caldwell, Dr. Josh Philpot, and their guests as they discuss news events, current affairs, and cultural issues from a Biblical point of view. Find the truth at www.straighttruth.net

The Straight Truth Podcast is a weekly opinion show hosted by Dr. Richard Caldwell and Dr. Josh Philpot. Straight Truth is available as an audio podcast on iTunes or as a video podcast through YouTube or Vimeo.  The duration of the podcast is approximately 10 minutes. We release new episodes every Thursday.

The topics discussed in the Straight Truth Podcast are current events, matters that challenge traditional Christian values, and questions submitted by audience members. Dr. Caldwell, Dr. Philpot, and their guests seek to answer these questions with Biblical truths and from a Christian conservative point of view. The Holy Bible is the inspired, infallible, and inerrant Word of God; it alone is and will be the basis and authority of
answering any and all questions.

The Straight Truth Podcast is the perfect podcast for those seeking to strengthen their faith, to be informed on how to broach difficult topics with a Christian point of view, to share their faith with unbelieving friends, to challenge the status quo of their own beliefs by viewing them under the lens of the Scriptures, to interpret current news events from a Biblical point of view, and more.

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Season 27 Credits

Produced by
Juan Carlos Claveria

Executive Producers
Joshua Philpot
David Anders

Hosted by
Joshua Philpot

Social Media Descriptions by
Michele Watson

Graphic Design
David Navejas

DP / EDITING / COLOR
JUAN CARLOS CLAVERIA

SPECIAL THANKS TO THE
FOUNDERS BAPTIST CHURCH
MEDIA TEAM VOLUNTEERS

Special Thanks to
El Centro Network

Music by
LynneMusic

Motion Graphics
The Media Stock

Set Decorator
Molly Atchison

Walking In Grace Produces The Straight Truth Podcast - The Best Christian Podcast On The Web

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