by J. Clyde Strickland
There are many ways in which one may gamble. The casino offers several ways, from the various card games, the roulette wheel, to the slot machine, or one may invent ways of his own. Remember, gambling involves a bet or wager on a chance, an effort on the part of a person to obtain from another something of value without it costing him anything. Whenever these elements are present (this simply may be the price charged for playing the game, the bet or wager, and the chance or risk of winning or losing the price paid for playing the game by the players, the bets, etc.,) those engaged in that practice are gambling.
RACETRACK GAMBLING: Everyone admits that this type of betting is gambling.
SPORTS EVENTS: All should know that betting on these events is gambling, yet, there are some who will argue the question with you. Baseball and basketball players have been bribed and games have been thrown in order that certain ones who gambled on the games might be certain of winning. Betting on the outcome of any game is gambling.
LOTTERIES: Whether state-operated, authorized, or legalized, it is still gambling. The price paid for the lottery ticket constitutes the wager and is risked on the very small chance of winning. Again, this is but an effort to obtain something for very little or nothing.
Many states have legalized lotteries in order to raise revenues only to find that the lotteries are not the great revenue makers they were once thought to be. From an article published in the TYLER MORNING TELEGRAPH, written by John Herbers, I lift the following: “Lotteries are now sending us a message that was not widely heard before. More significant, it is being spread not by the opponents of lotteries, but by their sponsors and advocates. The message is that lotteries remain lucrative only when bolstered by constant innovations and ceaseless advertising aimed at enticing participants to gamble.”
SWEEPSTAKES: Invitations to take part in these come quite frequently in the mails. They cost little and offer big rewards, but they involve their participants in gambling. The price of the postage stamp and your effort in sending back the entry form is the wager or bet you make against all others who enter the same sweepstakes that you will be the winner. The reward offered (whether money or something else), the cost to enter, and the chance to win or risk of loss equals gambling. The size of the wager (a postage stamp) does not determine whether a practice is gambling. If the cost of the postage stamp were a thousand dollars, would it then be gambling?
BINGO: Bingo is very popular and is legal in many states. Even some denominational churches use bingo as a fluid raiser to finance their programs of work, all of which makes it more difficult to convince people of the sinfulness of gambling. “Why my church sponsors bingo!” is often heard when someone suggests that gambling is wrong. Now, one may play bingo and not gamble, as is true of any game. Leave off the betting and the prize for winning and simply play the game for the enjoyment of the game. One does not have to gamble to have a good time!
Many of the things people do and the games they play involve gambling, and we as parents need to be alert and instruct our children regarding these practices. Many schools approve raffles as class projects to raise money for an event planned, and they engage the students to sell tickets, never thinking that they are involving them in a gambling venture. And calling the price of the ticket a “contribution” does not change the matter. It is still gambling
Young boys pitching pennies toward a given line or against the wall in which the one who gets the closest to the line or wall wins the pennies, or playing “marbles for keeps,” are forms of gambling whether those playing know it or not. We need to teach them why such is wrong.
I have been asked whether it would be gambling if in bowling or in golf, one paid a price in order to play and a prize or trophy was given to the winner? Such is a common practice. My advice has been, “Avoid such, or at least refuse to accept the prize or trophy, and by all means, let it be known WHY you refuse the prize.” Many people look upon this practice as a form of gambling, and it would be well to avoid the practice. If a practice may be a hindrance to one’s good influence, it should not be engaged in. See Rom. Ch 14 and I Cor. ch. 8.
WHAT IS WRONG WITH GAMBLING?
First, there are three legitimate means of transferring property: (1) By the law of LABOR where money is earned and paid for effort and labor expended, whether the effort or labor be mental or physical. Since Adam and Eve’s eating the forbidden fruit, it has been God’s law that man work for his food (Gen. 3:19), and the Apostle Paul charged that “If any man would not work, neither should he eat” (2 Thess. 3:10). (2) The law of exchange, where something is exchanged for its value in money or goods. In John 4:8, while Jesus rested at Jacob’s well, His disciples went into the city TO BUY food, not to gamble for it. Joseph’s brothers went down into Egypt to buy corn (Gen. chs. 42 and 43). And when Araunah offered to give David his threshing floor, the oxen and the wood, with which to offer sacrifice, David replied, “Nay, but I will buy it of thee at a price; neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the Lord my God which cost me nothing” (2 Sam. 24: 23, 24). And (3) The law of love, where money and or goods are given with no expectation or desire of any return. The Samaritan of Luke 10:30-37 is a good example to follow here. Also, see Acts 20:35 where Paul states that: “So labouring we ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'” Gambling does not qualify when measured by any of these laws or rules.
Second: Gambling does not contribute anything laudable or good to society. Rather, gambling supports and is supported by a corrupt segment of society and is contrary to the very principles, which should undergird true human relationships. It has been said that “gambling is stealing by mutual consent just as dueling is murder by mutual consent.”
Third: By gambling many a poor man has robbed his wife and children of the food and clothing they so desperately needed; many suicides have occurred as a consequence of gambling, and wrecked homes, financially and by divorce are among its fruits.
Fourth: Gambling is “of the world” (I John 2:15-17), and it is a tool of the Devil. Gambling is ugly, degrading, and sinful. Truly, “They which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”
Finally, gambling has an evil influence. And the Christian must maintain an influence “void of offense.” There is nothing wrong with eating meat, and the Christian has the right (privilege) to eat it (1 Tim. 4:3-5), but the Apostle Paul wrote: “Wherefore, if meat maketh my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend” (1 Cor.8:13). Gambling is wrong and the practice of it is sinful, but if it were not, since its practice robs one of his good influence, the Christian cannot afford to engage in its practice.