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Is lottery a sin and will praying hard to win it makes it even a greater sin? Or if you win and help the poor, build Churches and build your family in a better way, doesn't it make it a good pupose even though you might get engaged in buying things a little bit expensive if not extra-vagant but not out of the way.
Requested by Saizana and Answered by Fr. Antonios Kaldas on 07-Dec-2008 01:29 (4128 reads)
There are two main issues with lotteries, or indeed with gambling in general.

The first is that gambling encourages you to put your hope in 'blind chance'. Basically, when you buy a lottery ticket, you are paying a small amount in the hope that you will win a huge amount in return. But the chances of you being the one who wins out of the many thousands who buy tickets are pretty tiny. I think the chances of winning Lotto, for example, where you have to correctly choose 6 numbers out of 40, are of the order of one chance in four million (please correct me if I am wrong). If you win, you suddenly find yourself with, say, five million dollars in your hands that you have not really done anything to earn, and may in fact not be ready for. There are heaps of stories of marriages breaking up, friends becoming enemies and lives being destroyed by huge lottery wins. Of course there are others who use their winnings wisely as well, but before one enters a lottery, I think it is wise that they ask themselves, "Can I really cope with it if I win?"

Now let me ask you a question: if God really wanted you to be amillionaire, and to have all your financial problems swept away in a second, do you think He couldn't do it without you buying a lottery ticket? Do you think He couldn't find a long lost relative to leave you his inheritance, or a dying millionaire to reward you for a small kindness in his will? Surely, God is able to do all things.

But what if God doesn't want you to suddenly become rich? Why should i try to push Him into it? What if God knows that I need a period of financial difficulty in order to learn how to trust in Him, or to stop being attached to material things?

Which prayer is better to pray: "Lord, please let me win the lottery", or, "Lord, please look after me and bless the little that I have"? Would you rather that you force the issue and win a million dollars, or that you discover how amazing God is when He makes the little money you have miraculously fulfil all your needs? When Jesus fed the 5,000, which would have been better, that He bless the five loaves and two fish or that the Disciples go out and raid the local shops?

The second problem is that gambling has the potential to become addictive. In recent years, some studies have shown that there may actually be a chemical reason for this int he brain. The Medicine Australia website says:

"Estimates by Prof Mark Dickerson of the Australian Institute of Gambling Research indicate between one and three per cent of the population have a gambling problem. This is a considerable number, especially as one excessive gambler may affect the lives of several others, such as family, friends and employers. Consequences range from relationship or family breakdown and bankruptcy to criminal activity, potential imprisonment and the possibility of self-harm."

Think of this - if we as a community accepted gambling as being OK in general, then up to 3% of our community would fall into a gambling addiction, together with their suffering family and friends. Is it worth it? Or is it not better that we all together just agree that gambling is totally off limits?