The real question is, “Should a born-again believer gamble?” Granted, you brought up the thought of “helping poor people pay off their debts without charging them interest,” which is most definitely a good thing, but that thought only came to mind AFTER the believer won a million dollars. In other words, he was NOT gambling with that purpose in mind; it was an after-thought. Which really begs the question, “Why was he gambling in the first place? What was the motive behind it?” For the born-again believer, the scriptures alone will help to decide if he (or she) should be gambling at all.

In 1st Thessalonians 4:11 that Apostle Paul urged believers “to WORK WITH YOUR OWN HANDS, as we commanded you.” In Ephesians 4:28 he went a step further: “Let him who stole stead no longer, but rather LET HIM LABOR, WORKING WITH HIS OWN HANDS WHAT IS GOOD, THAT HE MAY HAVE SOMETHING TO GIVE HIM WHO HAS NEED.” These scriptures clearly teach that God desires us TO WORK in order to earn money to meet our needs, and perhaps the needs of others. This has been God’s desire for us from the beginning, for after He created Adam, He “took the man and put him in the garden of Eden TO TEND AND KEEP IT” (Genesis 2:15). In other words, Adam was PUT TO WORK! He was giving Adam a job that would prove to 1) be enjoyable, 2) meet his needs, and 3) bring glory to God.

Now we must face this question honestly, “If God has ordained man to WORK WITH THEIR OWN HANDS, is it okay to gamble the money we have earned in order to GET RICH WITHOUT HAVING TO WORK FOR IT?” Does God’s Word have anything to say about that? Yes, it does! Let’s consider two verses from the book of Proverbs. In 13:11 we read “Wealth gained by vanity shall be diminished: but he that gathereth by labour shall increase” (KJV). Here again we read that money gained by LABOR (working with our own hands) will INCREASE, but money gained by VANITY (through dishonest means or without any exertion) will DECREASE. We see this same truth in 28:19, “He who tills his land will have PLENTY OF FOOD, but he who follows empty pursuits will have POVERTY IN PLENTY” (NASB). Over and over again in Scripture we read that God will bless us if we WORK WITH OUR HANDS but if we are out to “get rich quick by doing nothing” God will often allow us to “come to poverty.” You may know people that have a gambling problem that have lost most or all of their money, and some go on to lose their job, their families, or even their life (by committing suicide). The Bible says, “Whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.” If we apply that principle to what we have seen from the scriptures today, we can say that “If a person works to meet their needs, they will have their needs met and may have more than they need so they can help others.” But “if a person tries to get rich quick without working, they will end up poor.”

In closing, you may be thinking, “But I was wondering about a believer who decides to give the money he won gambling to help the poor.” We have just seen that God’s will is to work for your money and if you have extra money by all means use it to help the poor. We have also seen that if we chase the dream of getting rich easily through gambling (by playing the lottery, betting money at a casino, etc.) it will lead to us being poor. We have no examples in Scripture of gambling that leads one to give their money to the poor. I have actually met believers who gamble and they have said, “If I win big, I’m going to give most of it to the poor.” Yet they forget that “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it” (Jeremiah 17:9). They may think (in their hearts) that their motive is to give to others, but in truth it is “the love of money” (see 1st Timothy 6:10) that is compelling them to gamble.  (DO)  (533.5)