Is it a sin to play the lottery?

Is it a sin to play the lottery? My friend is a covenant Christian and believes lottery tickets are okay to play because it’s government.

On a previous trip to Costa Rica, I noted a large Catholic church in the town where Mary was supposed to have visited in the basement. Outside, town’s women were allowed to sell lottery tickets on the front steps to make people rich.

Directly across the street, were homes of poverty stricken and poor families who were struggling to simply put bread on the table for their children.

Is Gambling an innocent pass time of fun, or a lifetime of suffering?

In doing some research for this lesson on “Gambling”, the word “gambling” could not be found in the Bible. In half a dozen versions none of them listed the word.

So we had to look for the effects and devastation of gambling. Of course for many people learning in hindsight is often too late to help them out of their dilemma. But perhaps someone might benefit from this report.

The KJV lists 2 verses which almost seem to approve of gambling, or at least to seek after what is not our own. And after all, that’s what gambling is all about, to try and lighten someone’s purse of their savings.

Listen to these verses and if you have the KJV, make a note:

Phil 2:4 “Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.”

1 Cor 10:24 “Let no man seek his own, but every man another’s wealth.”

Of course if you had read the NAS or the NIV versions you will find some entirely different meanings:

Phil 2:4 NAS “do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.”

1 Cor 10:24 NIV “Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.”

It is verses like these which make us all the more determined to persuade everyone to use a newer version of God’s Word.

Now let’s ask this question?

Q – Where did the first gambling take place?

A – In the Garden of Eden.

Satan simply raised the odds of the curiosity of Eve and dangled a bigger pot of wealth — which was ???? (knowledge). But make no mistake, faithless rewards, regardless of what they look like or sound like, are always tailored to tempt the unsuspecting into a trap of sin.

1. Several years ago, a TV program entitled “Investigative Reports” gave a chilling report on gambling in the US. The report said that gambling, especially the lotteries, has gotten so big that 37 of our 50 states have now legalize it. That figure is now probably closer to all states.

2. Indian reservations in nearly every state now have casinos with open gambling such as poker, roulette, dice and slot machines.

3. But the big gambling menace is Lotto and Power Ball. Anyone 18 and older can buy a ticket twice or more a week in the hope of winning from 1 to 300 million dollars.

4. How can something so wrong yesterday — become so right today?

Overnight our population has become hooked on this innocent looking form of gambling. For a dollar, one can win millions; and this sickness is at fever pitch. People are hooked on dreams fantasized by Satan and organized crime.

5. Most citizens who saw gambling as a sin just 15 years ago, now see it as a divine revelation for new revenue.

6. Our government actually promotes this “quick cash” scheme as a ploy for voters to pay less taxes.

Now that would be good if the rich were gambling. But the rich are not gambling — that’s how they got to be rich to begin with.

7. What is happening is that the biggest spenders for Lotto are found in the lowest income districts where there is an average of 40 outlets per district to buy Lotto tickets —- while only 5 Lotto outlets are found in wealthy districts.

8. If gambling is a tax replacement, it is tax which the poor are least able to pay. And yet 10 poor people play Lotto to every 1 wealthy person.

Instead of buying food and shoes, the poor are buying cigarettes, alcohol and Lottery tickets.

9. A big argument by gamblers is “gambling is a voluntary matter”. “All anyone has to do is not buy the tickets.” But, is that really true?

10. Studies have shown that for the poor, it is an escape from their situations in life. So to them it has become mandatory.

11. It is true that poor people are no more forced to buy lottery tickets than an alcoholic is forced to drink. As with the heavy drinkers, it may be a sort of sickness — as it is with other addictions like drugs and stealing. Now that does not make it an excuse. But it does give us some understanding of its relationship to these other sins.

12. Promoters spend $500US million each year in advertising. They conduct monthly lectureships for workers to sell their programs to their states, to the Indian Nations and to the gullible public.

* Tickets are often printed to coincide with national holidays like Christmas, Valentines Day, Easter and Columbus Day.

* On the TV they compete with car sales, potato chips, candy and vacation commercials.

*Lotteries are always advertised to show the winners who are deliriously jumping up and down and yelling “we are having fun”. They do not show the despair it causes families without a roof over their head. Multimillion dollar winners change each week giving the appearance that many people win; when in truth, the odds are estimated to be 14 million to one that a single person can win — but then each person thinks, “well it’s only a dollar, I spend more than that on pop corn at a movie each week”. The problem is that we don’t replace our pop corn or our movie with lottery tickets, we simply compound them on top of one another. Others say “it just might happen to me”.

* Promoters tell us, all we have to do is fill in 6 numbers or scratch off a block and we will $25K or $100K or $300M. The fact is if we filled out 14 million cards to guarantee winning, it would take us 20 years to fill out those 14 Million cards for that one week.

13. There can be no doubt that gambling is a serious addiction to our thinking that “If I can just win, my problems will disappear”. The fact is the problems do not disappear. They compound.

* 20% of all players spend from $15 to $500 a day, repeat, a day. Some borrow and steal to feed their habit. Some sell drugs to buy tickets to win and buy more drugs.

* More than 5% of the U.S. population has a serious problem with gambling. And worse, teenagers are now hooked on gambling. Make no mistake, problem gamblers cost the government millions of dollars annually. So who winds up paying for that major problem? You do, if you pay taxes. Or if you have your property stolen.

* Think about this. 70% of all lottery money comes from 20% of the population, and those from mostly the poor who can least afford it.

* In our nation, Indian casinos are growing in direct proportion with Lotteries. Casinos add free alcohol and Bingo jackpots every 5 minutes, 24 hours a day.

* Video Lotto now speeds things up. Taking a dollar every 15 seconds from senior citizens. On a single day during the holidays, one casino advertised it takes in $7.5M in order to show how much it pays out. Mostly from senior citizens.

14. One day I was traveling to the church building and saw man broken down in his car so I stopped to see if I could help. He had run out of gas with his mothers car. He had just spent all night gambling in the Indian casino near our home. He lost all his money and couldn’t buy gas. He said that the casino was literally raping the senior citizens of their money who come to play. People in that town thought nothing about loosing $300 a day —- and having fun.

15. The legal age to buy a lottery ticket is 18, but even kids under that age are playing. And now Toy Stores now sell packaged poker chips and cards to teach children to duplicate the sport of “Poker Tournaments” on TV.

16. Young people see gambling as being all right. They hear adults say no on drugs, no on alcohol, and no on guns, but then they see their own parents say “yes” on Lotto.

17. How can such an addition take hold so fast?

18. Tickets are sold for very good causes. They are called the 3 E’s. Education, the Elderly, and the Environment. In these connections, the government which supports lotto’s for taxes is saying the “end justifies the means”.

19. But does it help education?

* Studies show school buildings are falling apart.

* More than 40 students per class room

* Illiteracy rates are rising so fast, average tests of students in Europe are resulting in 4 times higher scores than for U.S. students. One U.S. grandmother pulled her 4th grade grandchild from school to “home teach” because the child could not add 2 numbers from 1 to 5 together correctly.

* Lottery money does not add money to school budgets, it simply replaces the money allocated or appropriated for schools through bonds into different channels, like highly paid leaders, administration and sports.

20. As a result of the voters thinking that lottery money is helping schools, when a new school bond comes up for election, it is getting solidly defeated on the ballots. Tax increases are a dirty word.

21. A recent survey shows that states who have lotteries spend less than states who do not have them and have to rely on taxes.

22. All tax dollars go for public use.

23. Lottery revenues are spread out. As a result, people have to spend 5 times as much on a lottery in order to have education funds equal to states who do not have gambling and who use tax money strictly for schools. Lottery revenues are distributed this way:

* 1/3 are for states revenues

* 1/3 goes to prizes.

* 1/3 to a private company who sponsors the lottery gets the rest. (in one year, G-Tech earned 700 Million promoting lotteries.)

24. Do lotteries change our lives for good?

* Some states use mystics or fortune tellers to pick numbers which they claim are repeats and are most likely to win. They then sell books and tracts for a dollar or so for gamblers to use to better their odds to win. The fact remains, the odds of any combination of six numbers is 14 million to one. They are the same for same 6 numbers repeating next week. Think about that. That means that 13,999,999 people lose each time the game is played. That represents almost 10 times the entire population of some third world Republics who lose a dollar each, several times a week.

Let’s look at 3 of these winners the promoters are always saying are having a great time winning. These are real people.

* Curtis Sharp, the first black man in the US won 5 million dollars.

* He said everyone was his friend

* But according to his wife, the money put such heavy strains on their marriage that she contemplated divorce.

* She said Curtis’ whole personality changed for the worse.

* She said, in the end, she lost her best friend, her husband. They don’t have any of their money left and are still married, but she lost her best friend.

* Another lady won 6 million

* The first year, she said her life was a “living hell”

* Her close family changed into a school of vultures and leaches

* In the end, she wind up giving away most of her money to relatives.

* She almost had to file for bankruptcy and listen to this, “they were angry when the money ran out”.

* Tim Payne won 31 million

* He bought a mansion, 9 or 10 favorite cars, had an indoor swimming pool, and indoor paddle ball court, and a security system to protect it all.

* Tim is not married and has no children

* Now he says “he’s bored”.

* He was a cross country truck driver, meeting different people every day. Life was a challenge a day. Now he wakes up and wonders what he will do today?

25. One state advertised the lure of winning lotteries this way:

Plan A = Boring, hard work, struggles, and family strife -or-

Plan B = The easy way, win the lottery and have fun

26. States now see greed in major proportions. We have such unhealthy attitudes about greed that simple freeway drivers kill each other with guns just because they cut one another off in traffic. One man was so upset because another man filled up his gas tank with the hose he thought he should have had. He followed the other man to his home and as they drove up, he got out and shot him to death. Experts say crime has increased in order to feed gambling. Alcohol and drugs are on the rise again.

27. Satan makes it all look so good. But all we need to do is read the morning newspapers and listen to the TV news to see that the criminals make it look bad. We don’t know how your news reads, but our’s is depressing.

28. So does all this make our politicians think of outlawing Lotteries and getting back to basics?

No way! Some states are now combining their pots to make them bigger and more lucrative. To keep Lotteries from becoming dull every day, promoters are always trying to think of new ways to separate people from their money.

29. Do members of the Lord’s church buy lottery tickets? Absolutely! Do any of you? I used to buy them myself using the same rationale to justify my actions. Every Christian who gambles on lotteries will tell you “if I win, I will give a big chunk of the winnings to the church or work of the church”. Experience teaches us that people do not do that.

30. In fact, if anything, it causes people to become so greedy they wind up loosing their faith as they become preoccupied with spending their wealth on “THINGS” and no longer have time for God and Jesus and church.

31. For years, we sent in to Reader’s Digest forms promising that we were very near winning. The mail every week showed “The Garrison Family” has already won 12 million dollars —- IF our lucky numbers are drawn”.

32 My wife tells me over and over that she prays that we not win and become rich. She fears we will lose our focus on Jesus and His church. And I agree. After we saw the TV exposé, we discussed why we even send in the Reader’s Digest forms? My wife said she did it because “I wanted her to do it”. She had just filled out a new form and it was waiting the outgoing mail.

33. I said why don’t we stop mailing these in every week. It has cost us (now) 39¢ in postage each time and we don’t win. And you are praying we don’t win. Some weeks there are two forms to send in.

34. We agreed and we tore up the envelop and we will not be sending them in any longer.

35. Does the Bible say anything concerning the evils of gambling? The answer is “yes” as it is with all advice about evil.

Listen: to 1 Tim 6:6-10
6 But godliness actually is a means of great gain, when accompanied by contentment.
7 For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either.
8 And if we have food and covering, with these we shall be content.
9 But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction.
10 For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith, and pierced themselves with many a pang.

Now hear God’s additional word in verses 17-19

17 Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.
18 Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share,
19 storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed.

That sound advice is the opposite to that of televangelists who preach that “God wants us to get rich” and thereby replace donations to them.

Paul would not have us fall into temptation with ill gotten wealth. Listen to vss 9 and 10 again,

Those who want to get rich fall into temptation (What temptation Paul?)

Foolish and harmful desires (Why are they harmful Paul?)

Because they plunge men into ruin and destruction. (Is there a person reading this who does not know of one person or family who has not been affected by a friend or relative who has been plunged into ruin and destruction?) If you say you don’t know of anyone like that, you will soon.

But is money the root of all evil Paul?

“No”, says Paul, it is the “love of money which is a root of all sorts of evil.

But what’s the harm Paul, if we do love money?

For by longing for it, says Paul, some have wandered away from the faith.

Which is more important to the covenant Christian, our faith or our wallet?

But Paul, what should we be doing?

He replies — When we do the right thing, that is being content with what God has given us and has blessed us in such a way that we are, in effect, storing up for ourselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that we may take hold of that which is life indeed.

Don’t be lulled into the sin of gambling. It is a sinister and devious device of Satan and it will bring no good to your life. And if you have friends who have this problem, share this lesson with them and warn them of their impending destruction.

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Important statistics

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Gambling (Lotto) Statistics!

* Nearly all 50 states now legalize Lotto or Power Ball

* Indian Reservations in many of those states legalize hard gambling (poker-roulette-slot machines)

* Anyone 18 can play and win up to 300 million dollars

* Unlawful gambling 15 years ago — is now blessed by politicians

* $88 million is spent daily on Lotto/Power Ball

* Biggest Power Ball now exceeds $300US Million

* 40 places to buy tickets per poor district — vs 5 places in richer neighborhoods

* Gamblers maintain those who oppose gambling don’t have to play

* For the poor, gambling has become mandatory to gain riches

* Promoters spent in excess of $500US million to promote Lotto

* Schemers now advertise Lotto to coincide with nation holidays

* Lotteries portray the players on TV as “having fun” — they do not show the misery created

* Odds of winning are 1 in 14,000,000

* 20% of all players now spend from $15US to $500US a day -some steal or borrow

* 5% of entire populations of some nations already have a serious problem gambling

* 70% of all lottery income comes from 20% of the players who can least afford it

* Indian casinos are now open 24 hours a day and murders have increased within 5 miles of them

* Casinos offer free food and alcoholic drinks to lower resistance and promote a desire to believe in winning

* Video Lotto takes a dollar from every player every 15 seconds.

* Seniors now spend hundreds of dollars a day gambling and some cannot pay their electric bills

* Young people are told guns and drugs are wrong — but sex (free condoms) and gambling is OK

* 20 million Americans and 20% of the population of 3rd world countries test HIV positive (lowering inhibitions to gamble to pay for so-called cures)

* Lotto tickets are sold using the 3 E’s as being supported (education-elderly-environment)

* Studies show schools are falling apart and class rooms even more crowded and illiteracy rates are soaring.

* The elderly are still deprived of good housing-food-medical

* Lottery revenues are divided equally between states, prizes, and promoters

* All winners have their lives changed — some are ruined

* Members of churches play as regularly as non members

by Robert Garrison

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