Divine Perspectives: Is Gambling a Sin?

What do the major religious belief systems, such as Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism, have to say about the morality of gambling?


Gambling has been around for centuries. Nowadays, anybody with access to the Internet can enjoy every form of gambling. And you’re generally never that far away from aΒ casino, either.

Humans have enjoyed gambling as a recreational and entertainment activity for many years as it offers an irresistible thrill that you may not find anywhere else.Β 

Simply put, there is something exciting about not knowing where the slot reels will land or what card the dealer will lay. However, gambling is banned in many religious countries.Β 

So, then the question becomes, is gambling a sin? Let’s delve into the age-old question of whether gambling is a sin, examining it through different religious perspectives.

Is Gambling a Sin in the Bible?

Is Gambling a Sin in the Bible

Although gambling is a sin in many religions, not many people know how gambling is perceived in Christianity and the Catholic Church.

While gambling has existed since the dawn of time, casinos, slot games, and lotteries have only been around in the last few decades.

Regardless, the Bible does mention gambling as a form of temptation that should be considered a sin.

Gambling is not just about going up against the casino; it’s about taking risks for some reward, which plays into the sin of greed. It’s a sin that can lead gamblers never to be satisfied.

God even encourages Christians to stay away from gambling in the following verse:

But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.” – 1 Timothy 6:9-10

Are There Gambling Saints?

Saint Cayetano Gambling Saint

Saint Cayetano

You may be surprised to hear that there is a gambling saint called San Cayetano (Saint Cajetan), known as the patron saint of gamblers. San Cayetano led a life void of possessions.

He was also a member of the Theatines, officially named as Congregation of Clerics Regular of the Divine Providence, meaning they were not allowed to solicit alms.

However, San Cayetano was also the saint of the unemployed and bankers.

He opened a bank to help the poor, which later became the Bank of Naples. Additionally, the saint founded two hospitals in Vincenza (Venice).

How Does Buddhism View Gambling?

Buddhism and Gambling

Buddhism does not believe in the existence of a supreme divine being, so there is no “God” to ask about the sinfulness of gambling.

However, Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, founded Buddhism in Nepal when gambling was common and accepted. The kingdom had many subjects that would gamble throughout their daily lives.

The sacred Buddhist scriptures even provide some acceptance for gambling, so it’s not technically deemed a sin. In theory, you can follow a Buddhist belief system and still be a gambler.

The Buddhism belief system focuses on the Four Noble Truths about human suffering and how to alleviate it through spiritual and ethical practices known as the Eightfold Path.

The ultimate spiritual goal isΒ finding enlightenment and being released from the cycle of reincarnation.

That said, there are different types of gamblers, including recreational, habitual, and addictive. If you are a compulsive gambler, your mind will not be at peace, so you should avoid gambling.

It is believed that if you genuinely want to find the nirvana of the mind, you should probably avoid all forms of gambling.

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How Does Hinduism View Gambling?

Is Gambling a Sin in Hinduism?

According to the website Die Hard Indian, Hinduism is the world’s only major religion without a specific founder or a single authoritative scripture.

As the major religion of India, approximately 80% of the country’s one billion-plus citizens practice Hinduism. Its roots extend back to practices dating to 1,000 BC.

Hinduism centers on the concept of spirituality. The religion has four ancient scriptures that preach the never-ending cycle of “creation, preservation, and dissolution.”

The soul is reborn until all karmas are resolved, and liberation from the cycle is achieved.

Hinduism is a very tolerant religion where gambling is only viewed against karma. According to The Life of Hinduism, gambling is permitted during the festivities of Diwali.

Simply put, gambling is allowed as entertainment, but when it is based solely on money, it can bring negative karma.

How Does Judaism View Gambling?

Is Gambling a Sin in Judaism

While there is no explicit prohibition against gambling, Jewish law has banned it.

The most explicit statement about gambling in Judaism came from the Mishnah in Sanhedrin, which stated that those who gamble are restricted from serving as witnesses.

The Talmud records that the rabbis take a dim view of the practice. They condemn gambling as a risky financial enterprise and a pastime with the potential to be addictive, leading men to abandon life’s responsibilities.

From a moral perspective, the Talmud considers gambling a sin because the loser in gambling wasn’t expecting to lose.

In other words, the loser has his money taken from him reluctantly, almost like stealing, and he gains nothing tangible for his efforts.

How Does Islam View Gambling?

Is Gambling a Sin in Islam

Islam has a strict view on gambling, and the Quran forbids all Muslims from partaking in gambling.

In Islam, there are two types of deeds: “halal,” meaning lawful according to the Prophet’s precepts, and “haram,” meaning sinful to such an extent that engaging in it would result in punishment under Islamic law. Gambling is one of the deeds that are considered haram.

The Quran is serious when it condemns gambling with the verse:

Satan’s plan is to excite enmity and hatred between you, with intoxicants and gambling, and hinder you from the remembrance of Allah, and prayer. Will you not then abstain?” (Quran 5:91)

Islam teaches that you should earn money and not attain it through luck or risk.

This is because the religion believes gambling only benefits the minority and targets those who cannot afford to lose, labeling the practice as deceiving and unlawful.

That said, you will still find casinos based in countries with a majority Muslim population. These casinos are there to attract wealthy individuals that don’t practice the religion.

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Whatever your religion, the most important thing is to practice responsible gaming. Check out these trustworthy online casinos where you can play for real money.

Practice Safe and Responsible Gambling

As you can see, there is a lot of nuance regarding how different religious belief systems view gambling. At Gamble Online, we believe in responsible gambling.

You should always play responsibly if you partake in any gambling activity. This means you should set a budget and stick to it.

Many online casinos will offer tools to help you stay in control, such as playing limits. However, if you have a gambling problem and are spending more than you can afford, you should stop and seek help immediately.

Many professional organizations provide free guidance in beating problem gambling.

James Guill

James Guill is a former professional poker player who writes fro GambleOnline.co about poker, sports, casinos, gaming legislation and the online gambling industry in general. His past experience includes working with IveyPoker, PokerNews, PokerJunkie, Bwin, and the Ongame Network. From 2006-2009 he participated in multiple tournaments including the 37th and 38th World Series of Poker (WSOP). James lives in Virgina and he has a side business where he picks and sells vintage and antique items.

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