Betting is the action of gambling money on the outcome of a race, game or other unpredictable event or to risk a sum of money or valued item against someone else on the basis of the outcome of an unpredictable event such as a race or game. Gambling or betting does not equal investment or a form of business. A gambler cannot be seen as one who is working to earn a living.
The motive for gambling is usually that of covetousness and greed. Whenever we want quick money or engage in any money doubling scheme, we fall into the trap or temptation of sin. Gambling can affect how you feel and think no matter how much or how little you do it. Luke 12:15: “And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth” (KJV). Gambling has a lot to do with emotions and it is usually associated with stress, laziness, regrets, guilt, anger, poverty and depression. Some of these feelings may not be easy to forget and may build up overtime.
There are many online gambling companies as well as online casinos, sports betting, international lottery and gambling companies around us today. This is just a way to trap people, especially Christians, who do not know what the Bible commands as it relates to gambling. During the time of Jesus in Matthew 21:12 and 13, we saw him drive out the people that merchandized in the temple and he overthrew the tables of the money changers. Jesus emphasized that the temple of God ought to be a house of prayer and not a den of thieves. We are the temple of the living God. We should not defile God’s temple with the merchandize of greed, covetousness and any other sinful practices.
Here are some Biblical reasons why betting is wrong:
- It is a deceitful way to get quick riches: Proverbs 28:20: “The trustworthy person will get a rich reward, but a person who wants quick riches will get into trouble”. The gambling companies or sport betting companies lure people who want to get rich quick to patronizing them and make them liable to get into trouble. So many persons borrow or even sell their properties in order to get money to bet with. They risk huge sums of money overtime because of the quest to become rich quickly. Believers must be aware of this that the Bible actually wants us to work for our food and not to lazy around. “Those who work their land will have abundant food, but those who chase fantasies will have their fill of poverty’’ (Proverbs 28:19, NIV). We are to be hard workers, the Bible teaches us to work hard, provide for ourselves and others but gambling teaches us to do the opposite (Acts 20:35, Ephesians 4:28).
- It encourages laziness: Most people who gamble are jobless or have trouble concentrating at work. They spend more than intended and this affects their physical and mental health, work performance and social life. “Lazy people are soon poor; hard workers get rich” (Proverbs 10:4, NIV).
- It leads to poverty: Proverbs 28:19 where we already read said those who chase fantasies will have their land filled with poverty. Betting is like fantasizing to be rich. Many people who eventually win a lottery or sport betting spend the money on dishonest and sinful things like drinking, smoking, fornicating and so on. They become poor and wretched and some even die as a result of depression.
- Betting or gambling is a form of greed and covetousness: “Greedy people try to get rich quick but don’t realize they’re headed for poverty” (Proverbs 28:22, NIV). The Bible warns us against covetousness: “But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;” (Ephesians 5:3, KJV). Gambling empties one’s pockets and puts one into poverty and debt (Proverbs 21:5; Luke 12:15).
- Gambling is an indication that you do not trust in the Lord: “Do not wear yourself out to get rich; do not trust your own cleverness” (Proverbs 23:4, NIV). Gamblers only exhibit their love or lust for money. You cannot serve two masters at a time (Luke 16:13; Ecclesiastes 5:10).
- Gambling is addictive: Gambling casinos are usually associated with the appearance of evil: drinking, smoking, partying or clubbing, prostitution and gangs. The Bible commands us to “Abstain from all appearances of evil” (1Thessalonians 5:22, KJV).
In conclusion, betting or gambling is not just about losing money but it introduces worries, relationship conflicts, trust in money or riches, deceit, fear, poverty and so on to a person. Gambling is considered as one of the “things of the world”. “Love not the world or the things of the world”. Godliness with contentment is great gain. Don’t use dishonest measures or false balance to get wealth (Proverbs 11:1). Gambling is a dishonest way to get rich because most betting or gambling companies are set up to make winning almost impossible. It is made for you to keep hoping and dream about winning. Hope deferred makes the heart sick (Proverbs 13:12). If you have been involved in betting or you own a betting company, repent today and put your trust in the Lord. He will not fail you. May the Lord help us in Jesus name; Amen.