Avoid the Snare of Gambling

“Gambling did not affect my physical health, and I always controlled how much money I spent on gambling. But I admit that whenever I played a lottery game, I always chose what I considered to be my lucky numbers.”​—Linda.

MANY gamblers develop a belief in lucky numbers or lucky charms. They might not think that they take their superstitious beliefs very seriously, but they may persist with them nonetheless.

Some gamblers even offer prayers to God, asking that he help them win their chosen game. Yet, the Bible contains God’s condemnation of those who claim to worship him but who are “setting in order a table for the god of Good Luck.” (Isaiah 65:11) Yes, God detests practices that promote a superstitious belief  in luck. Gambling, by its very nature, encourages a blind trust in the so-called Lady Luck.

Gambling also unashamedly promotes a love of money. In today’s increasingly secular society, money itself has become a surrogate god, and gambling a popular way of worshiping it. The new cathedrals are the grandiose casinos, and the new creed is that greed is good. Researchers have found that the vast majority of people who visit casinos say they do so, not for the entertainment or for the atmosphere, but to win “a really large amount of money.” However, the Bible warns: “The love of money is a root of all sorts of injurious  things, and by reaching out for this love some have been led astray from the faith and have stabbed themselves all over with many pains.”​—1 Timothy 6:10.

At 1 Corinthians 6:9, 10, the Bible plainly states: “Do not be misled. Neither . . . idolaters . . . nor greedy persons . . . will inherit God’s kingdom.” Greed is not just a debilitating social sickness; it is a lethal spiritual sickness​—but a sickness for which there is a cure.

They Found the Strength to Change

“I tried to stop gambling many times,” recalls Kazushige, mentioned in the opening article. “I realized that my gambling with my friends at the racetrack was destroying my family. I always lost any money that I won. I even gambled away the money my wife had saved for our second son’s birth, and I eventually started gambling with my company’s funds. As a result, I totally lost my self-respect. My wife often wept and begged me to stop gambling, but I just couldn’t quit.”

Kazushige then started to study the Bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses. He says: “The more I read the Bible, the more confident I became that there is a God and that I would benefit from listening to him. I determined that with the power God supplies, I would quit gambling. To my amazement, not only have I quit gambling but I have also developed a hatred of it. Now when I think of the distress that my gambling caused my family, my heart aches. How thankful I am to Jehovah God that he helped me break my gambling addiction and that he is helping me lead a meaningful life!”​—Hebrews 4:12.

John, also mentioned in the opening article, likewise started studying the Bible. He recalls: “My study of the Bible helped me reevaluate my circumstances. For the first time, my eyes were really opened to the damage my gambling was causing to both my family and me. I came to appreciate that gambling promotes a selfish, greedy attitude in people​—qualities that Jehovah hates. As I continued my study, my love for Jehovah gave me the strength to break free from gambling. I started gambling because I dreamed of finding a better life. Now that I have given up gambling and am happily serving Jehovah, that dream has come true.”

John’s wife, Linda, also decided to abstain from gambling. “It was not easy,” she says. “But after my husband and I started studying the Bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses, I learned to focus on the more important things in life. I learned not only to love the things God loves but also to hate the things he hates, including all forms of greed. In addition to enjoying a more purposeful life, I have more money in my purse.”​—Psalm 97:10.

By developing a relationship with Jehovah God, you too can find the strength and wisdom necessary to avoid the snare of gambling. Doing so will improve your financial, emotional, and spiritual health. You will then have the pleasure of experiencing for yourself the truthfulness of the words recorded at Proverbs 10:22: “The blessing of Jehovah​—that is what makes rich, and he adds no pain with it.”

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Greed is not just a debilitating social sickness; it is a lethal spiritual sickness

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Gambling and the Supernatural

In a report to the National Gambling Impact Study Commission, researchers at Duke University alluded to a link between the way gambling is advertised and belief in the supernatural. The report states: “Many [lottery] ads are unabashedly materialistic . . . Yet this is not the materialism of hard work and perseverance but rather of genies and magic lamps, rooted in hopes, dreams and superstition. And every lottery manager knows that many of his or her best customers base their bets on personal superstitions, astrological tables, self-styled seers, and the venerable ‘dream books’ that list numbers corresponding to names, dates, and dreams. Rather than emphasizing that all numbers have the same probability of being selected and that playing popular numbers will reduce a person’s expected payoff in parimutuel games, lottery agencies have chosen to encourage players to choose (and stick with) personally significant numbers.”

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“My love for Jehovah gave me the strength to break free from gambling.”​—John

“In addition to enjoying a more purposeful life, I have more money in my purse.”​—Linda

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“To my amazement, not only have I quit gambling but I have also developed a hatred of it.”​—Kazushige