Most people who go to gamble at casinos, bet on sports, horses or play the lottery are attracted to the idea of getting rich easily without working for it. But the matter of fact is that most of them loose their money and a very few win money. The odds are stacked very high against them. Yet, that slight chance of getting rich, draws them to waste their money and time, (life).
We read in the Bible that, ‘The love of money is the root of all evil’. 1 Timothy 6:10. Most people seek money above all things because they are under the false impression that once they have money they will be eternally happy. Nothing could be further from the truth. Yes we need money to live on and the deprivation of money can cause great suffering. But money, in and of itself, is not what makes us happy or sad. It may make us happy for a short time, but then we are back to our very selves again, happy or sad. It is God, family, friends, animals, nature a clean conscience that makes us happy.
At the casinos there is either free alcohol, (for the big players), or inexpensive alcohol for the rest. The purpose of this is to get people somewhat drunk so that they are careless and can loose a lot of money without really being aware of it. There is inexpensive buffets too that attract people too.
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They also deceitfully change your real money, that you are attached to and know its value only too well, to chips with $ signs on them. When you loose cash, you feel it. When you loose these chips, your are not so aware of it because it is a step away from the real thing, cash. The casinos are not our friends. They are there to take away our money.
I now try to never use the word addiction or addict because it is used in the world today to say that someone has an illness of getting drunk, using drugs or gambling. The person has very little moral responsibility over their actions because they have no control over their addictions. The free will has been removed and there for it is not sinful.
But the word I use is vice. Vice is a repeated bad habit or sin that then becomes habitual. Yes, we need God’s grace to brake bad vices by confession and sacrifice, but we are still responsible for our vices. We still go to hell for vices that we did not fight or confess. So, that being said, gambling can easily become a vice where it becomes compulsive and where we can waste our life, (time), and money.
I have known people who have lost their families money, stolen money to gamble and have gone bankrupt gambling. One lady came to see me because she had bailed out her husband over their married life something like $200,000 or more. She knew it was wrong, but he will always tell her that the mafia was about to kill him, (which was true). So she would bail him out again and again. That money was for their children’s education and other plans that never got realized. I also knew a man who would steal dollars from his little children to gamble.
Here are some signs to see if you have the gambling vice.
- Excessive time spent on gambling websites or at casinos or other gambling venues
- Unusual increases or decreases in available spending money
- Feeling jittery and agitated when not gambling
- Purchasing excessive numbers of lottery tickets or scratch off tickets
- Feeling anger and anxiety when unable to gain access to sources of gambling
- Missing work and family events in order to spend time gambling
So all this being said, I say that the motive to gamble, bet and play the lottery is sinful in itself; avarice and greed for money so as to be happy. Jesus said in the beatitudes that happiness is in being poor of heart; ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit’. He also said terrible warnings to the rich; ‘Woe to you rich’, ‘It is harder for a rich man to get into heaven than for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle’.
We must then use our extra money for the Church, the poor or to help others. We need to be happy right now with what God has given. Besides, extremely few people get rich from gambling, betting or the lottery. Lets be wise and holy. Thank God we have what we have and let us be generous with others if we have extra.
We are so blessed to be traditional Catholics and to know that God is our happiness and heaven our home.
The original author of this blog passed away in July of 2016. RIP Father Carota.