Are there biblical laws that forbid gambling?

The Bible does not specifically identify gambling as a sin but rather offers a number of warnings about the dangers of money, specifically

  • 1Timothy 6:10 which teaches that “the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.”
  • While the word gambling does not appear in the Bible, it is important to note that at the root of gambling is an excessive desire for money and material possessions, which the Bible does indeed warn against. (Luke 16:13)
  • Likewise, gambling represents an attempt to make money without doing any work which is a laziness that the Bible warns against (Proverbs 10:4)
  • In addition, gamblers, by their very nature, covet money, which is a violation of the Tenth Commandment.  Finally, gambling represents a misplaced hope – a hope that should be placed in God rather than in a financial windfall. (Psalm 62:6)
  • The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us that “Games of chance (card games, etc.) or wagers are not in themselves contrary to justice. They become morally unacceptable when they deprive someone of what is necessary to provide for his needs and those of others. The passion for gambling risks becoming an enslavement.” (CCC #2413)

So the bottom line is that gambling in and of itself is not forbidden or considered a sin, but is a danger that one must approach cautiously.

Joe Paprocki

Joe Paprocki, D.Min., is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press in Chicago. He has over 30 years of experience in pastoral ministry in the Archdiocese of Chicago. Joe is the author of numerous books on pastoral ministry and catechesis, including The Bible Blueprint, Living the Mass, and bestsellers The Catechist's Toolbox and A Well-Built Faith (all from Loyola Press).