Question: Does the Bible have anything to say about playing the lottery? Some people say it’s just a game, others say it’s gambling. What do you think?
Answer: The Bible does not specifically condemn gambling, betting, or the lottery. The Bible does warn us, however, to stay away from the love of money (1 Timothy 6:10; Hebrews 13:5). Scripture also encourages us to stay away from attempts to “get rich quick” (Proverbs 13:11; 23:5; Ecclesiastes 5:10). Gambling most definitely is focused on the love of money and undeniably tempts people with the promise of quick and easy riches.
However, what if you are playing the lottery or gambling from time to time, with no illusion that you are going to get rich, but just for the fun of it. Is there anything wrong with that? Probably not. If gambling or playing the lottery is a form of recreation, and is done in moderation, then it’s no different than seeing a show or eating in a nice restaurant. However, whether you are playing the lottery, or seeing a show, or eating in a nice restaurant, if you are doing it with the rent money (in a manner of speaking), then it’s probably not a good decision.
Now, there is a problem with the lottery that has nothing to do with you, and that’s the way it feeds on the gambling addictions of others. Studies show that the vast majority of lottery winners are in an even worse financial situation a few years after winning a jackpot than they were before. The winnings become a kind of curse. And then there are the millions of people who spend money they don’t have to buy those tickets, and have less chance of winning than getting hit by a meteor.
In the end, you are going to have to make up your own mind on the issue. If it bothers you, then don’t do it, even if the most you are doing is buying $5.00 tickets once a month. But if you have a clean conscience about it, and you aren’t using money you could otherwise use to pay your bills, then it would seem fine.