The danger here—whether it is the lottery, or the poker, or the casino is when someone gambles to the extent that they or their families can’t afford food, bills can’t be paid, children can’t be clothed, addictions begin, drinking to excess occurs, and on and on goes the list

I have another thought about buying tickets. When we buy a ticket we become participants in the wicked and immoral ways that our governmental leaders use a lottery to steal from the poor people.

The state government says, “We need more money for education (or whatever) in our state. How can we pay for it (get the money)?” Instead of admitting that we can’t afford it, or that we have to make cuts in other programs because of new priorities, the government officials decide: “Let’s have a lottery that the poor and stupid can play. The rub is that people who have money or who are wise don’t buy lottery tickets. The percentage of tickets bought by the people who can least afford it is through the roof.

The Bible has nothing good to say about entities or people who rob the poor.

He who oppresses the poor to increase his wealth and he who gives gifts to the rich—both come to poverty (Proverbs 22:16)

Do not exploit the poor because they are poor and do not crush the needy in court, for the LORD will take up their case and will plunder those who plunder them (Proverbs 22:22-23).

People can go to Las Vegas and have fun. We have. The glitter is incredible. Excitement is all around. Good things for families to participate in abound. There is more to Las Vegas than the “Strip”. The real city is two blocks away on the other side of the Strip. Here we find residential areas with real life people and schools and stores just like any other city.

The tragedy of Las Vegas is not the multitude of people who live and act in moderation while spending time in “Sin City”—among other things. The tragedy is the poor people who will not win. After all there is a reason that the House always wins. All the games are rigged.

The sign at the First Baptist church in Las Vegas loudly announces, “We have no money to give out.” I asked the pastor about it. He said, “We have three or four people every day come knocking at our door who’ve lost all their money and need help with meals, a place to stay, or a bus ticket home. We’ve helped all we can. We have nothing left. We must turn them away.

I am sorry for the church; but the church is not the problem. The gambling industry ensconced in Las Vegas is the problem. Their entire system from dark rooms with no clocks so people lose track of time to free food in buffet lines so people can eat and hurry back to gambling all entice the wasting of more and more money. The casino is designed to oppress the poor and to separate the foolish from their money.

You can have fun in Las Vegas without sinning? Sure, if your conscience is clear and you have balanced limits, keeping in mind the dangers and pitfalls, you can play the slots and receive the value of a fun experience. But, remember Paul’s advice: “All things are permissible, but not all things are profitable.”

Well, T, I suppose you will need to answer your own question. The Bible is silent on the subject. Discern what your conscience is saying and live accordingly.

I really appreciate your question. It is so timely and relevant in a society that has lost its way in using money wisely.

Love, Roger

 

Dr. Roger Barrier recently retired as senior teaching pastor from Casas Church in Tucson, Arizona. In addition to being an author and sought-after conference speaker, Roger has mentored or taught thousands of pastors, missionaries, and Christian leaders worldwide. Casas Church, where Roger served throughout his thirty-five-year career, is a megachurch known for a well-integrated, multi-generational ministry. The value of including new generations is deeply ingrained throughout Casas to help the church move strongly right through the twenty-first century and beyond. Dr. Barrier holds degrees from Baylor University, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Golden Gate Seminary in Greek, religion, theology, and pastoral care. His popular book, Listening to the Voice of God, published by Bethany House, is in its second printing and is available in Thai and Portuguese. His latest work isGot Guts? Get Godly! Pray the Prayer God Guarantees to Answerfrom Xulon Press. Roger can be found blogging at Preach It, Teach It, the pastoral teaching site founded with his wife, Dr. Julie Barrier.