Posted by: jiminmontana | January 7, 2010

What’s Wrong with Gambling?

God cursed the serpent and the ground.  God did not curse Adam or Eve.  Like all “punishment”, we find that the Lord is doing what it takes to CORRECT us.  He is too Good to allow us to mar ourselves without end. The image is bent and distorted and corrupted, but He is faithful.       

Genesis 3:17 — Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’: “Cursed [is] the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat [of] it all the days of your life.       

I know that it seems like I am reaching here, but think about this.  When God cursed the ground with thorns and weeds, God was actually BLESSING all of us.   This is coming from a former farm boy, here. Weeds and thorns are FOR our sake.       

The worst thing that could happen to us in our Fallen condition is to have things too easy.  We need to struggle.  Our neighbor needs to struggle, too, and we get to serve our neighbor when he is truly in need — to “be Christ” to him and to her.        

Mississippi River Gamblers c 1890's


Are professional gamblers not “earning” a living?  They strain, no doubt.  But they are produce NOTHING.  “Entertainment”, you say?  Oh, please.  Maybe it’s entertaining to watch the degenerate gambler lose the money for the baby’s milk . . . then lose the rent money trying to get back the milk money . . . then hock the car to get back the rent money. . . . . . all the way down the drain.  Entertainment?!?!!  If you’ve seen Faces of Death more than once, then — for you — gambling may be entertainment.    

To win, others must lose.  Your winnings come from your neighbor sitting next to you (not from the “house”: the house is just the referee & skimmer.)    



Rather than being a blessing to the neighbor beside you, you are actually hoping to crack that guy.  For you to be “fortunate”, you must wish ill for him or for her so that you can benefit.       

This is the very  spirit of covetousness.  You are “working” to get the money out of some other person and take it home with you.  It is a bazaar form of “mutual larceny”.     

I absolutely detest the fact that gambling is BIG business here in the State of Montana.  I never pay sales tax here, which is groovie!  But the gambling proceeds are there to take the place of the taxes.  That’s insane!  MT people who have been in this system all their lives often can’t see it.  Coming from outside the system, it seems like madness.        

The “house” wants you to hate “the house”.  That way, your conscience isn’t thinking about the true source of your potential “takings”.  That’s what the term is; your winnings are really takings.        

The root of all the virtues is justice.  Not one of the Virtues can exist unless Justice be involved, so Justice is often called “Queen of the Virtues“.      



Gambling is unJust, even as the superstitious concept of “luck” is unjust: luck is unfair and is arbitrarily helpful or harmful.        

Finally — and most significantly — the gambler is at enmity with Providence.  The gambler wants to be “blessed” outside of the Lord’s provision.  Just as Adam and Eve “stole” the fruit that did not belong to them, those who gamble are taking what should not belong to them.  There is no such thing as luck.  God is in control of this chaotic rodeo of ups and downs that we call life!       

Yeah, I have gambled.  I was at Santa Anita race track in Pomona, CA with my (then) new wife.  She loves horses.  And she picked a winner.  She watched the horses as they came out of the paddock and could tell which ones want to be there and which ones ought not be there.  To make it fun, we put $5 on a horse that she liked.        

When we got to our seats, we could see the board of numbers down below us.  Our horse was over 99:1 against winning.  I remember that the horse looked small and lightly built, but frisky.  The horses loaded.  “And away they go.”  Our pick was behind the pack until the last half of the race.  When it was over, she was ahead by NINE lengths.  My wife and I were the ONLY people in the stands yelling for that horse!  We were hooting and screaming . . . and I looked over at my neighbors there in the stands and more than half were looking back at us with UGLY EXPRESSIONS on their faces.  It was not cool at all.  I felt good and bad at the same time.  The feelings alternated back and forth like a ping-pong ball.  The bouncing stopped on the unhappy side of the net.  I felt creepy and — although it has been over 15 years since — I can still envision one guy who gave us a super-nasty look: tall, blonde, with a yellow and blue tank top.  He probably thought we had put $50 on that horse.        

Yeah, I’m a sinner.  And I am REALLY glad that I am not going to get what I deserve!  That penalty has been “paid in full” — paid by the Man who EARNED IT by the “sweat of His brow”.


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