The content of this reprint is for informational purposes only and NOT a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. They will steal from their loved ones, write bad checks, and even commit armed robbery. Instead of giving satisfaction, riches create additional lusts and desires that must be satisfied. And that prompted me to give more thought to the issue of gambling so that I would be better prepared to give an answer if the question ever came up again. Yes,at least I would be willing to do so.
What is gambling addiction and problem gambling?
Although employees may find it fun to bond over intra-office bets and money-making gambling opportunities, not all employees will have the same perspective. The ADA specifically excludes compulsive gambling from the definition of a disability. Accordingly, employers are not liable under the ADA for discriminating against or failing to accommodate a compulsive gambler.
Yet, an individual who suffers from a gambling disorder may suffer from another impairment that is covered by the ADA. Related complications that have been linked to compulsive gambling include alcohol and drug abuse problems, anxiety and depression—all conditions that employers routinely assess in connection with their ADA compliance obligations.
Office pools and hallway bets on football games are historical means of workplace gambling, but online gaming presents a new option and a new concern for employers. Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware permit online gambling, and other states, including Pennsylvania, have introduced legislation to legalize online gaming. Employers should consider establishing a written policy addressing workplace gambling, which defines the prohibited conduct and what disciplinary steps may be taken against employees who violate the policy.
Even if online gaming is legal in a given state, an employer has the right to circumscribe the conduct in the workplace. As with most workplace drug and alcohol policies, consuming alcohol is legal for an adult but is not permitted in the workplace.
A workplace gambling policy should also recognize that employees may suffer from a gambling disorder and may need professional help. I guess I always lumped it in the same category with smoking and drinking: Can't Christians realize that just because some things are "lawful," that doesn't make them profitable?
And what better way to avoid slavery to these things than by not getting involved in them at all. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of this series! But if it's not played for money, any player can keep playing, even when way behind, in the hopes that luck will out. There is tremendous strategy in knowing when to double using the doubling cube, to prevent that. IOW, it's just not the same game if something, even pennies, is not at stake.
I don't fault you for playing it your way. The question is, is playing it my way sinful? I am not yet convinced, but as I say, I'm open. It seems to me that any "principle" brought up against gambling breaks down at some point and renders one inconsistent. It is risking God's money. So are the stock market, retirement plans, business endeavors, church-planting 2. It is associated with explicitly sinful things so are electric guitars, sports, males, and businesses.
It is selfish and feeds off of the "loser" so do most salaries in corporate jobs, promotions, etc. I don't gamble, probably never will, and personally think its rather lame. But, despite my personal dislike for it, I don't see it explicitly condemned in Scripture or any of the principles given here.
Phil, I'm very much looking forward to this series. I like that you began by quoting the college student's well-stated critique. It was an effective way to whet our appetites--you gave me a high expectation to find a serious, deep, thorough defense.
This is interesting for me--I take the view that gambling in small amounts for entertainment doesn't violate any Biblical principles.
You didn't land the point yet, but you laid the groundwork. I assume you'll specifically talk about it later--but I want to point it out now because 1 I want to thank you I hadn't considered it before , and 2 I want to point it out for Ian Matthews' sake, since he's talking about investment.
There is no other way to gain money through gambling. When you win, you are taking that which belongs to another. The winners' profit always comes directly from the losers' pocket.
Both involve risk and reward--but investment is about putting money to work. Gambling is a zero-sum game, redistributing wealth. Investment is about attempting to create wealth. Frank already said something like this And he didn't point out that you already laid the groundwork. But , I don't see a difference between gambling and investment as far as work ethic goes. Phil , I wholeheartedly agree with you. I wrote a paper and argued for it in my sem.
What your interlocuter failed to do was provide a definition of gambling or at least a good one. Gambling is defined as chance in any standard dictionary; your questioner defined it as entertainment on par with watching baseball, he simply engaged in a category mistake an equivocation.
I wonder why Solomon's way of arguing in many of the Proverbs is a good way to argue for many Christians I ask rhetorically. It seems that Prudence doesn't mean much anymore; esp.
I look forward to the rest of this series! Is that like gambling? I suppose it has nothing to do with winning though. Except when the soldiers cast lots for the Lord's clothes. Woops, I meant to say: I wonder why Solomon's way of arguing in many of the Proverbs is'nt a good way to argue. As far as comparing stocks to gambling; I can see how folks want to make that comparison, but it is false in the end. Stocks involve risk , but by definition, it is not based upon chance. Which goes to my point on the interlocuter's bad definition above.
If we wanted to use a reductio here; we might as well say that any employment involves risk because our employer could go belly-up and not be able to pay us, etc.
But that would only be true if risk and gambling were the same thing; but they aren't. Stocks and any other employment is based on "calculated risk" or objective parameters determined by the a defined market-place.
The student said that he gambles for entertainment; he didn't define it as entertainment. Bobby, How is a horse race more based on "chance" than the stock market is?
Or betting on sports? Those aren't calculated risks based on objective parameters? I see the real distinction in "The stock market is about putting money to work"--but I can't trace out your "chance" suggestion as a valid distinction.
No handicapper in the history of the world has ever made that kind of money. The stock market has, in the last 40 years, out-paced inflation by almost 6 to 1. There are no Poker players, handicappers, slot players or other lounge lizards who can say the same. Firstly, I said that Investment in the Horse Racing which is not just luck.
Both are speculating capital, based on Most investment vehicles are —not- speculating — that is, offering massive potential upside against very significant risk. Most offer a moderate return usually well ahead of inflation.
It has built a tourist attraction, no doubt — but I think you better research your data set. The third is your assumption that this is a good thing. Secondly - I queried the reasoning that The first is that the comparison is simply a category error; the Bible tells us investment in trade is frankly a godly and productive thing, but squandering money on pleasure or excessive luxury is not.
Third and not least, and not last either — but for the sake of not droning on , is the rote pragmatism of the equation. But this does not express the moral case at all because we are not pragmatists: The ironic flip side is that because macro-investment spreads risks out to more actual marketplaces, the risk is mitigated and more communities receive the benefit of the endeavor.
You simply cannot equate gambling and investment. They are the opposite of each other. Suppose a fellow likes bass fishing. And this bass fisherman pays an entry fee to enter a bass fishing tournament. And if he finishes in the money or even wins, he'll have recouped his entry fee. He gambles that his skill in locating the fishing spots where he can catch bass is better than others and he hopes that his skill and his luck will enable him to win the bass fishing tournament.
As he does this, he enjoys the competition and regards it as entertaining. Is the bass fisherman committing sin? By the same line of logic and as I asked earlier , can Christians play tournament poker? You've got to love the comment thread at Pyro. Phil's post which I happened to like, by the way in a nutshell: I think gambling is bad, and if you stay tuned I'll tell you in other posts why that is.
Oh, and by the way, the argument doesn't work so well when it's rushed here's an example , so give me time to develop it. We're determined to get our comments in before we actually hear his points? I forgot to add in my immediately preceding comment that the bass fisherman entering the bass tournament is a Bible-believing Christian.
Jugulum , He may well have said 'for' entertainment; okay so he didn't define it. The difference between the stock market and casino, is marginal; I'll give you that, but there is a legitimate distinction. Marketplace was the key distinguishing mark in my previous comment. One is based on stewardship principles; and the other on selfish principles.
The former is the marketplace, the latter is the casino or horse track. One is shaped by the desire to earn money to live and sustain life market place ; the other is shaped by greed and self gratification horse track by definition.
You may disagree, but then I wonder if you hold to 'Just War' theory or not. I would imagine that this is how Phil will go about developing this; we'll see.
But I am curious whether his future points will address the question of whether Christians can play tournament poker ala the tournament bass fisherman without it being considered a sin. Not saying anything about bass tourney's BTW, just saying bad is bad, good is good no matther whose doing it. Some people took the gamble. You have falsely equated a productive competition with gambling. In the fishing case it's a competition whereby men procure resources.
You might have a friendly competition at work who can do the most JOB X in a given time would be a closer parallel. In the poker case you come away with nothing if you are the loser, it is a zero sum game. That you enjoy your zero sum game or not is irrelevant, the Romans enjoyed the Colosseum. No matter how you dice it,the simple answer: Whoever gambles, breaks ALL the commandments.
I'm not sure, but I am of the understanding that in tournament bass fishing they return the bass fish back into the water after the competition is done. If so, then I'm unclear about whether they're procuring resources. A statement like that deserves some sort of prize.
I don't mean a good prize. Just surmisin' here, but, perhaps Linda T is speaking with reference to James 2: I have equated tournament bass fishing with tournament poker. Well, since some folks mentioned it earlier, let me also add tournament backgammon to the list of tournament bass fishing and tournament poker.
Is this okay and does it fall under Christian liberty? One of those "it is permissible, but perhaps not beneficial" type of activities that provide responsible freedom and latitude to the Christian tournament participant? On a related note: Is it possible to be a Pharisee or Fundamentalist about the issue of gambling?
If so, when does a Christian cross over into the territory of becoming a judgmental Pharisee about the topic of gambling? When they believe that if someone gambles they aren't "saved;" by virtue of their behavior. Thanks Bobby for confirming that it is possible for someone to become a judgmental Pharisee about the topic of gambling.
That you throw the fish back is immaterial. The fact remains one is inherently a productive act used for a secondary enjoyment, the other is a destructive act. There is still a difference. Phil, I don't see it necessarily shaping up in the way that you frame it.
Tournament poker and tournament backgammon need not be any more "destructive" what do you mean exactly by "destructive" anyways? We may have to end up agreeing to disagree. I'm leaning more towards "it is permissible, but perhaps not beneficial" type of activities with regards to tournaments and that this provides responsible freedom and latitude to the Christian tournament participant.
I'd also be concerned about folks adopting a judgmental Pharisee attitude or judgmental fundamentalist attitude about this issue of gambling ala drinking and dancing prohibitions by some fundamentalist churches. I'd like to add tournament golf and tournament bowling in both of these endeavors people do place wagers in non-tournament competitions to the list of tournament bass fishing, tournament poker, and tournament backgammon.
Varying degrees of skill and luck are involved in these tournaments. What's at risk, what folks could lose, is their entry fee into the tournament. Looks like an issue of Christian liberty. And if it's responsible Christian liberty, then isn't denying a Christian that liberty an example of fundamentalism or pharasaism? As one who has bowed down to this idol in the past, let me encourage all of you with words from the Apostle John: Little children, keep yourselves from idols.
Over the past several years this program trading had become such a significant portion of daily volume that the NYSE reformulated how these trades were to be reported as to not reveal just how massive they were, and a few months ago discontinued reporting them at all.
FWIW, the majority of Goldman Sach's income is derived from this program trading activity and not investment banking. So the public still assumes it's investing?
It;s not what Joe Public thinks it is. Does that make a difference is the discussion? Search NYSE program trading and it's history. As this post came out, I read an article in the Sun in my town about a former crime family boss - Michael Franzese- who now counsels people about the dangers of gambling addiction. This guy tells how people's lives were ruined by gambling.
He is invited even by church groups to give talks. Wiki reports his wife lead him to be born again and leave crime. I don't think that anyone here would step up to the bat to extol the virtues of gambling addiction anymore than they would write a treatise on the benefits of drunkenness.
But, the statement was made that gambling all of it is a sin. I was once dumped by a girl in college because I was unwilling to state unequivocally that having an alcoholic beverage is sin clearly condemned in the Bible. My insistence that drunkenness is sinful and that I did not drink at all was not enough to dissuade her departure. I spent too much time in the Independent Fundamentalist Baptist Separatist group to be anything less than wary when someone states that the Bible clearly states something when it is not THAT clear.
Yes I recognize I am rambling now, and that this comment is in the high 70's so it has little hope of being read by almost anyone. For the record, I won on that deal because God brought my wife along sometime later Also, she was weirded out because I was starting to think those Calvinist guys were on to something. I read your post, Sandman. She had a fundamentalist approach towards drinking.
I'm likewise concerned about a fundamentalist approach to tournament play. We should be willing to submit to the Word of God on what it teaches. I hope you clarify what the definition of gambling is and what it is not though. Playing poker does not equate to belief in "chance" or that God's not sovereign over things like the outcome of the roll of die. David and Goliath, A good request.
I expect a definitional clarification will be forthcoming since that is what Phil intimated. I should like to see if his expanded definition of gambling defines entry-fee tournament play as gambling.
Out of curiosity, do the Catholics and the Eastern Orthodox regard gambling as sin? Do they regard entry-fee tournament play as sin?
I will be reading along with the expectation, Phil, that the odds will be in your favor on this subject. I know I agree with you. I can't believe it! I feel like I just found a quarter walking through the Wal-Mart parking lot! Uh oh, is it stealing if I keep it? How about some Pyro-Bingo? It rhymes you know! OK, so here's an interesting scenario that happened to me several years ago.
An acquaintance in my church, who had been struggling financially for a long time, said he needed a new pickup truck to start his new lawn care business.
And the Catholic church down the street just happened to be selling raffle tickets for - a new pickup truck. So this guy had bought a ticket, and was asking me to pray that he would win the raffle. So what would you tell the guy, as a fellow believer? TUaD, You posted those two sentences without comment. Do you think they stand in opposition at all? The kid asking the original question has his argument flawed right from the beginning.
When he states, "First," he said, "take the example of arson. It is wrong to burn down your neighbor's field or his house only when there is no mutual consent. But suppose he wanted your help burning his field because he wanted to clear the land.
Then it would not be a sin for you to set fire to his property. The answer is no. It is not a sin because it isn't arson in the first place. Websters defines arson like this, The crime of maliciously, voluntarily, and willfully setting fire to the building, buildings, or other property of another or of burning one's own property for an improper purpose, as to collect insurance. There is no malice in helping your neighbor.
So the argument is flawed right from the beginning, and his wrestling with words does nothing to add to that. I too will be watching the rest of this series. Hi Jugulum, That's why I said "compare and contrast". I chose an "irenic" choice of terms instead of saying that they "stand in opposition" to one another. I asked because I see no conflict between the two; they fit together perfectly. Phil's completely right about that. If gambling violates biblical principles, then it violates it even in small amounts for entertainment.
But violation of biblical principles can also come from the amount or purpose of an activity. Sometimes the activity itself is a problem; sometimes the amount or purpose of a benign activity is a problem.
Eating or drinking to excess violates biblical principles. Even if gambling is completely neutral, I would still argue that gambling in large amounts or in order to earn a living is not. For example--suppose that poor stewardship was the only problem here. You need another biblical principle to argue that all gambling is wrong. And that's where Phil is going. Is Texas Holdem' a Sin? Here's a look at gambling and especially small stakes Texas Hold'em. This is too long to fit in this reply, but please respond to me here at Pyro.
Above all it is most important that we submit to the Word of God. Tournament Bass fishing compared to gambling? That would explain all the damage done to society by fishing. How about fundraising raffles that are conducted by otherwise worthy charities? Do the same principles apply?
How about entering a "free" sweepstakes that requires me to expend a 44cent postage stamp to play? I'm taking wagers on what Phil's future points will be. I look forward to hearing your points. This is one of those issues where I have often thought something to be sinful, but could not adequately express my position in words.
I hope tha you can give us some good pointers here. The points you have raised concern me as well. Before I accept that something is, in and of itself, sinful, I want to be clearly convinced from Scripture. And somebody better not try to string together random verses to get there. I'm not convinced that because "chance" is involved and I don't believe in chance that it is evil or that tournament play is necessarily evil. Likewise, I'm concerned about the spirit behind many forms betting, gambling, etc.
Clearly it draws, for the most part, people who participate in clear violation of scripture for example to get rich quick. When I'm in Vegas, I intentionally avoid gambling because it seems designed to get me to part with my money in a rather sureptitious manner.
You can argue that's good marketing like you might find cleverly hidden in movie advertisments to get you to buy popcorn. But it seems deeper and darker than that to me. Btw, the girl at the conveneince store near my office where I buy my daily Coke always chastises me for chuckling at the people buying lotto tickets.
And never the rich ones. This is a question I've been wrestling with for years. Actually, the bible does mention gambling 4 times. The only instance gambling is mentioned in the bible it's not put in a very good light.
If one is inclined to be in favor of gambling then that's something to ponder. I think one should also ponder Prov. I was perusing some of the comments and noticed things on luxury, entertainment, ball games and I think it's important to define what gambling is.
I'm not saying I agree that Scripture teaches that it is a sin, but it's good to start off with definitions. Gambling is a zero sum game where it takes money from a loser and gives it to the winner. The net change in total wealth is zero.
The wealth is just shifted to another person. Gambling is not the only zero sum game, options and future contracts are also zero sum games. None of these are like the stock market because wealth is created in the stock market. So, I just thought I would mention that. I am a believer and have participated in various fishing tournaments and club tournaments for money.
Even though some of the stakes entry fee's are insignificant between consenting participants at the end of the day we anglers have thrown our hard earned money away into a system that did not create any new wealth or productive goods and services into our economy. Not to mention robbing from others and their families. Fish caught in tournaments are used only for their weight to determine a winner and then released back into the water at a mortality rate that is actually detrimental to the sport of fishing and our water ways thus negatively affecting the fishing industry and our economy.
If I were as brilliant as some of you I could figure out how to organize a system where all money's won in fishing tournaments went towards a powerful buying club to make fishing more affordable and fish catching more attainable whom would otherwise continue banging away on their pc indoors robbing our Lord His due praise, neglecting His great outdoors.
But hey, it takes a village. And I got you covered there. Meanwhile and where I've been and where I'm at now on this issue is to continue resisting money tournaments and fish in a club whose tournament stakes do however exist but are used back into the club for its members and various community events in hopes to promote a more God honoring sport. Is tournament fishing gambling? Was I sinning by participating in tournament fishing?
You betcha, in more ways than one. Will I eventually come to at a place where I would even drop club tournament fishing? Because I'm not smart enough to rationalize it. In response to comments by Linda earlier and then comments to her about gambling breaking all the commands. If gambling is sin and violates a commandment of God, it does break all the commandments, even adultery.
The 7th command, in its application to the soul, is broken when a person is not faithful to God and all sin is unfaithfulness to God. One very clear place where this is seen is in Hosea. Surely we can see where a man that covets is committing spiritual adultery by desiring things more than he loves and desires God. If someone really things that gambling is sin, then there is no need to water down the nature of true sin.
To break one commandment is to break them all in some way. Sir Aaron -- I'll let you know when I have stopped wrestling with that question. I have a suspicion that it would be a number lower than I spend today. Gambling is a sin only if you win: On a more serious note, this post was much needed.
The great depression wasn't exacerbated by the collapse of Vinnie the bookie. It was the fall of the stock market that had my grandparents boiling chicken bones for broth so they could sell the meat. If we're going to try to prove that any transfer of money based on chance i. I see something very Pharisaical in wanting to place the stock market out of reach while condemning the other types of gambling as sinful.
Maybe the people on here have never watched someone addicted to the markets shift money around online. It's got all the rush of the roulette table and can cause just as much strife at the dinner table when the losses pile up.
I enjoy and appreciate Philness's and Darby Livingston's comments above. They are good comments. And when I have time, I'll respond to Jugulum's last comment. Thanks Truth Unites Pax , the link you mention about my response to MacArthur's view on gambling and my thoughts in regards to Texas Holdem are at: Is Texas Holdem a Sin? Khubbard, that gives me an interesting thought. What's the flipside of all those? What does it look like when we remove the unbiblical dimensions?
When we restore these categories so that they're not twisted by our fallen, rebellious natures? It's an exercise that can help bring into focus what's going on in each situation. Where does the twisting happen? There have been those who say that all card games are like gambling.
Is there a sanctified place for friendly competition? Is the problem only longing for wealth? Is it also the attempt to acquire wealth without productive work? Does that apply to all competition with prizes? I'd like to hear the rest of this message, especially as I consider my tanking k to be a very disappointing gamble this year I'm wondering if this is a sign that I have been gambling money that I should have otherwise invested elsewhere?
I am confused by the comparisons on here about the stock market and gambling. Especially since, ironically, the invention of common stocks was prompted by Biblical prohibitions on loaning money.
If I create a company to manufacture tomahawks and you invest in owning that company, would you say that is gambling, or is it instead investing? Now, if you sell the shares you bought from me to someone else i. It really makes no sense that this is gambling. And have you read Matthew 25?
Because I think you don't really understand what you're saying when you equate investment in the stock market to a horse race or a roullette wheel. Think of it this way: If I invest all my money in Floppo Corp and you invest all your money in its chief competitor Boffo Corp, is there any direct corellation between your making money and my losing money?
The right answer is "no". The plain and obvious real-life example is Oil Companies -- their fortunes rise and fall together as an industry, and not as a manner of one cutting the other's throat. There is no necessity of losers in the stock market in order for their to be winners. In fact, the exact opposite is true: However, in the example of the Great Depression, what did not happen is that someone rolled off of Wall Street with a giant bag of money and they hid it for 10 years until FDR needed it to fund the war effort.
What happened was that people paid unwise prices for a lot of over-inflated stocks, and eventually it caught up to them -- and the prices collapsed. However, at the card table, or the roullette wheel, or the race track, when those playing lose, their money doesn't vanish. The money goes to the house.
The house always makes money -- even if one person only spends one dollar and wins the largest jackpot the house has ever paid out. So many other people have lost everything they brought to the table, the house doesn't care if one guy is a winner -- it inspires other fools to come and lose their money at the table.
But there is only one root motive for the entire system: The lure of winning big money on a run of luck so that the house and the other players have to pay you. Because we know for a fact that covetousness is a sin, we have to reject that which causes us to covet. If you're K has tanked this year, you need some serious investment advice.
Your K should be up for the year as a whole. No serious economist considers the stock market crash to be the sole factor for the Great Depression. In fact, many economists see it as one of the lesser contributing causes. I'd add that the stock market can be abused like anything else. When the market crashed, the banks called in the margins and guess what? People couldn't pay and the banks went under and because the banks weren't insured, people lost their savings. So to add to your point, people can gamble using the stock market, but that is not the intention of the market.
The intention is for companies to obtain capital and investors to purchase parts of companies with a long term plan for profitability and growth. I think a definition would be helpful too. I don't like lumping competitions into pure gambling because competition is a game that is designed to pit two or more players against each other. Add prizes, whether cash or not, is designed to keep the players serious and, in many cases, to build up the prestige of an event to draw in more serious competition.
In gambling, the house always wins. There is some shift in income, but inevitably the house gets it all. And, in fact, the games are rigged so that the house is designed to win. Professional gamblers, those who make their living off casinos as somebody mentioned here, essentially use certain elements of the game to tip the odds in your favor.
For example, card counting in BlackJack. If you can count cards and are using a single deck, you'll put the odds in your favor a lot. Which is why they started using six deck shoes. Frank, Your posts, as well as comments, are always well thought out and articulate, and that is much appreciated. I will try hard to match your effort.
My concern is that when we start extrapolating sins from a conglomerate of "biblical principles" because the Bible doesn't expressly forbid something, we run the same risk the Pharisees ran into. I'm not saying that risk isn't at times necessary and right, I'm just saying when we do it, we have to try very hard to be consistent.
And that's where our natural blinders are going to excuse certain things while condemning others. I do not gamble in the sense of this post, and I've always taught along the lines of this post.
The arguments of Phil's "opponent" on this issue are pretty standard ones, and I've used similar rebuttals as Phil. But some of the principles, like covetousness, making money without earning it, taking advantage of others, and cultural decline, that we must fall back on to forbid all gambling could also be applied to markets.
In other words, I think the issue between the markets and garden variety gambling is one of extent rather than essence and therein is the danger. It's tougher to call out the deacon who sits on his computer at night "speculating" on where new wheat might end up. But the heart is the same. Are we prepared to call out the heart behind all speculation or just the "seedy" ones? Sir Aaron, And that's why I said "exacerbated" the depression rather than caused the depression.
As the old saying goes, potential abuse does not negate proper use. If, however, it can be shown that gambling necessarily entails those sins, then it is inherently sinful.