The Morality of Gambling

So, after all of that, is gambling immoral?

That is a tough question to answer. It really depends on the situation and the person. For instance, imagine a man who is visiting Las Vegas for the first time. He has set down a limit of $1000 for gambling. That is the full amount he plans on gambling away for entertainment purposes. He sits down to play some blackjack. Over time he loses quite a bit of his money, but he feels he’s learning the system. He swears there is a way to beat this. So he finishes off his $1000 and gets more from the ATM.

He ends up gambling away the $1000 plus the $10,000 he and his wife had saved up. Then he takes out a second mortgage trying to recoup the $11,000 and ends up losing another $100,000. Gambling is addictive. In this case, it was quite immoral for the man to keep gambling.

Now, imagine the same man stopped at $1000. He had some fun but he knows his limits. If the amount set aside for gambling entertainment is not surpassed, is the gambling immoral? Or is it just another form of innocent entertainment that hurts no one?

“But religion has a problem with gambling. They believe that it is an empty way of stealing money that provides no value.”

What do you say to that?

It depends on your definitions of value and stealing. To play devil’s advocate, let’s consider the concept of stealing. Stealing is taking money from a person unwilling to give it up. There are people who say that the loser of a bet is a person unwilling to give up the money. And that may be true. But they were a willing participant in the betting when they thought they would win the money. So is it really stealing?

As for the value, who knows what kind of value any given person places on the entertainment value of gambling. The man who gambled away $1000 may have had so much fun doing it that it was worth the money to do so. What if gambling takes away his stress? But if you are a person who finds no entertainment in gambling and it does no good for you, then sure, there is no value in it, and it would beg the question of why are you gambling in the first place if there is no value for you?

So should I gamble or not?

That is up to you….

Are you worried about your religion looking at you as a sinful person for gambling? Then you probably shouldn’t. If your religion is fine with gambling, then feel free to do so responsibly.

Are you down to your last penny? Then no, gambling is not good for you. Think about it this way: If you can’t afford to take your family to see a movie, then you probably can’t afford to gamble.

Do you have an addictive personality? Then, no. Gambling can be very addictive. As with anything else, excessive gambling can be bad for you. You can lose all of your money. And, as the Chinese say, too much gambling can drive you crazy.

Use common sense before gambling. Pick an amount of money you can afford to lose, because you will lose it. Stick with that number no matter what. Gamble for entertainment value only and only if you actually get entertained. Those are the ways to make sure that gambling is not only a perfectly moral activity, but also a way of keeping it as a form of fun instead of as a form of bankruptcy.

Religion, Culture, Gambling?