So right now (July 29, 2022) the Lottery Jackpot in the US is $1.28 billion not simply million and I would hazard a guess that many anti-gambling US Christians have been prompted, nay compelled, to have a second thought (not speedy either) about the ‘wrongness’ of gambling.
The analogy is suspect I know but this is roughly comparable to sustaining a strong belief that adultery is wrong but when a person whose appeal you find almost irresistible offers himself/herself to you sexually you begin to ask yourself ‘what really is adultery and why is it so wrong after all?’.
That basic question should have been settled before you arrived at your conclusion that adultery is wrong.
So then, what really is gambling regardless of the size of the jackpot? Gambling (as I defined it in my first book) is “involvement in a game of chance, even if involving an element of skill, with money, money’s worth or some other asset at risk” (Chisholm, A Matter of Principle, 2003, 14). Gambling must be distinguished from a simple game of chance.
Game of Chance Defined – a game involving possibly some skill but essentially based on non-predictable operations like the chance throw of a die or dice (e.g., ludo, snakes & ladders) or the chance dealing of a hand at cards or the chance drawing of a hand in dominos or the arbitrary pulling of numbers from a container (e.g., bingo, gate prize draw, etc.)
The differentiating key element is ‘money, money’s worth or some other asset at risk’.Playing cards, ludo, bingo or dominos, watching horse-racing is not gambling if there is no asset at risk in the enterprise.
My approach to gambling does not begin with the sinful but with the notion of the ‘inappropriate’, the ‘not so helpful’, the potentially problematic’, morally and societally, owing to certain features of gambling as an organized enterprise.
Mischievously now I raise the issue which I know you may have pondered or heard discussed. What would you or your anti-gambling local church do if someone who wins a huge sum at gambling offers you or your assembly a sizeable gift from the winnings? Would/should it be politely refused or received as a ‘blessing from the Lord who moves in mysterious ways’?
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