Is Gambling a Sin?
Gambling has been around since early civilizations. Regardless of the time period, gambling has always been a controversial hobby. Different cultures all over the world gamble, so it’s not a concept that originated in a particular geography and was imported afterwards. In other words, the love for luck-based games is intrinsic to human nature. Here we will discuss the concept of gambling in detail. We will talk about the controversies that surround casino games and betting, and also talk about it from a religious perspective. More accurately, we will discuss if gambling is a sin.
Why People Love Luck-Based and/or Casino Games
Games have always been important for the development of motor and mental skills, not only that but they are also used for socializing. In luck-based games the playing field is even, someone won’t have an advantage due to their height, gender, fitness, etc. This is why fairness needs to be at the center of all casino games, and why regulated casinos are always safer if you decide to play after all. In the US, you can find a list of all regulated and vetted operators through americangambling and gain a better understanding of the iGaming industry.
However, there is another reason why people find casino games enticing. That is, of course, the chance to win easy money. Most players gamble only casually, but some of them spend serious money trying to win big. At this point, the sunk cost fallacy begins to influence their decision, and they become too determined to win back their losses. However, there is almost no way to influence the outcomes of most casino games, and that’s when frustration begins to pile up. This strong desire to win can also lead to gambling addiction, which then becomes a serious problem that only spawns additional problems.
How Religions View Gambling
Out of all major religions, Islam is the only one that strongly opposes gambling and views it as a sin. According to the Bible, the love of gambling isn’t mentioned as a sin, however, the love of money and greed are. In other words, so long as you only gamble as entertainment, and do not allow this hobby to take over your life, you aren’t doing anything wrong.
It is also worth pointing out that research was conducted and published on the subject of the protective role of religion against problem gambling. It suggests that religious people are less likely to become problem gamblers. To be precise, being religious acts as a static protective factor against gambling addiction. However, it cannot be used as a predictor of gambling problem severity if it takes root.
Religion has a strong stand on sinful behaviour. Betting on sports and playing casino games aren’t exactly sinful, but they can lead to behaviour or things that are considered a sin:
- Greed – Strong desire for money and things of value
- Wrath – Continues losses lead to stress and pent-up tension, so it’s possible for people to lash out at others when they are having a bad day at a casino.
- Lust/Temptation – Becoming addicted to gambling will make someone constantly think about it. This desire starts to control your life.
- Sloth – Instead of working and being productive, players buy into the idea that things will come their way easily. They are thrilled at the notion of getting rich without much effort.
Is Gambling Inherently Bad?
When you hear about gambling addiction stories and how problems can spiral out of control, it’s easy to think that this entertainment is bad. It can lead to financial problems, it may also cause someone to develop an alcohol addiction, and it can ruin relationships and family stability. However, it’s worth pointing out that the gambling business does a lot of good as well.
Lotteries and sweepstake casinos are often used to collect funds for charitable causes. It’s a great incentive for people to donate money as there is a chance they will win meaningful rewards as well. Additionally, these businesses are aware of the potential problems their users can develop. All regulated sites promote responsible gambling. Not only that, but they also redirect a portion of their revenue toward organizations that help with gambling problems.
Unfortunately, some of the recent developments had a negative echo in the media. The betting industry has decided to redirect a quarter of the funds that go towards gambling harm charity to the causes they deem appropriate. Of course, significant sums of money will still go to these causes, it’s just that the media wouldn’t feel right if they were to praise these businesses. The problem is that betting companies and casinos are extremely lucrative. So, there is really no need to defend millionaires and billionaires, it can rarely look good, especially when their product is so controversial.
To sum up, betting and casino games aren’t viewed as a sin, safe from Islam. As long as you are being responsible and disciplined there is nothing to worry about. Play for fun, don’t use the money you cannot afford to lose and set clear budget limitations. So, long as you don’t allow it to take over your life, make feel angry, and lead you to believe you can get rich, you will be fine. If you notice that negative emotions are starting to pile up you need to quit. If you start giving into these temptations and gambler’s fallacies you are committing a sin.