"The Sin of Supporting Legalized Gambling"

 by Steve Klein

Introduction: Lotteries are the most-played form of legalized gambling in the U.S. In fiscal year 1997, Americans wagered 5.8 billion on lotteries-about $135 for every man, woman, and child in the nation. While state lotteries have the worst odds of any common form of gambling (the odds of winning the typical state lottery are about one in 12-14 million) they also offer the largest payoffs, with prizes regularly totaling tens, and recently hundreds, of millions of dollars. And now this insidious form of gambling is being proposed for us in Alabama.  How concerned should we be?  Where should we stand on the issue? 

I. Gambling is a sin --Gambling is a specific kind of risk taking - putting up money or its equivalent on a chance with the intent of taking another's money without providing him any goods or services. Gamblers violate God's will on...

  A. Covetousness and the love of money, Romans 13:9; Colossians 3:5; Luke 12:13-15; 1 Timothy 6:9-10; Hebrews 13:5

  B. Stealing, Ephesians 4:28

  C. Stewardship, 1 Corinthians 4:2; 1 Peter 4:10

  D. Worldliness, 1 John 2:15-17; James 4:4

  E. Addiction, 2 Peter 2:19

  F. Some would say 'it's just recreation" but Proverbs 10:23,  "To do evil is like sport to a fool, But a man of understanding has wisdom."


II. Encouraging, consenting to, or voting for sin is a sin

 A. Ephesians 5:5-7, 11

 B. Psalms 50:16-18,  "But to the wicked God says: "What right have you to declare My statutes, Or take My covenant in your mouth, {17} Seeing you hate instruction And cast My words behind you? {18} When you saw a thief, you consented with him, And have been a partaker with adulterers."

 C. Romans 1:32,  "who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them." [Note that "covetousness" and "inventors of evil things" are in the list of sins mentioned here]

III. Unmasking Satan's Lies About Gambling -- 2 Corinthians 2:11,  "lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices."  Satan wants us to believe the following lies about gambling:

 A. States Profit Financially from Lotteries

 B. Lotteries Increase Money States Spend on Education -- Fifteen states use lottery money specifically for education. But some experts contend that lotteries don't increase education spending overall. Instead, many states use lottery money in place of other state revenues used for schools. Jill Lawrence, "Politicians Roll the Dice on Gambling," USA Today, July 20, 1998.

 C. Lotteries Benefit the Poor -- According to statistics from Georgia State University, those who make less than $25,000 a year are more likely to play the lottery than those who make more than $75,000 a year. And when they play, the poor spend more than three times as much on lottery tickets than the upper-middle class as a proportion of income.  But those who have received scholarships from the Georgia program are not poor. Data from 1994-1995 show the average family income was 40 percent higher among scholarship recipients than the state average. 

 D. Lotteries benefit the general economy -- The lottery encourages people to gamble money that they otherwise would have spent at pre-existing businesses. In California, one entire chain of grocery stores recently quit selling lottery tickets altogether. The general manager of the chain discovered the stores were losing about $1.00 in food sales for every $1.00 of lottery tickets sold.

 E. Lotteries Benefit Children

Conclusion: Gambling by the lottery is sin.  Supporting a lottery is sin.  Be not deceived!

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