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Questions Concerning Gambling

Jack H. Kirby
Las Cruces, New Mexico

Brother Mateo E. Dawi, Sr. of the Philippines has sent me five questions concerning an article I wrote on "gambling." The article appeared in the October 4, 1979 issue of Truth Magazine (Vol. 23, Page 634). He requests that I answer through Truth Magazine and I am happy to do so. His questions and my answers follow:

Question One: We make a purchase at the grocery store.. The sales girl instructs us to remove a label, write our name on it, and drop it in a box for raffle purposes. Our name is drawn, and we win a prize of $1000. Is it a sin to accept the money?

Answer: No, it is not a sin to accept the money. For it to be considered gambling and sinful, we would have to purchase the raffle ticket. The label was not purchased for the purpose of the raffle, but the item it was pasted on was purchased (for food consumption). The label and raffle were incidental to the purchase, and not the reason thereof. As we pointed out in our article (page 635), "Gambling is not just taking a chance; gambling is a wager placed on a chance"

Question Two: The Philippine government has authorized the so-called Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, the purpose of which is to raise funds for the help of various projects of the National Government. There are prizes for certain ticket holders. If a person buys a ticket, and that ticket is drawn and he wins money, is it proper to receive the money, or it is sin to do so?

Answer: No, it is not proper to receive the money; and yes, it is a sin to do so. It is also a sin to buy the ticket. (I presume our brother is discussing a national lottery.) Buying a raffle ticket (any kind of raffle ticket) in order to win a prize is simply placing a wager on a chance of winning, hence it is a sin.

Question Three: A local church deposits its money in a bank which in turn pays interest on the money. Is it scriptural for the church to accept the interest when withdrawal is made? Is 1 Cor. 6:10 applicable in this instance?

Answer: My answer here may differ with many of my brethren. I believe that, if a church has a building fund or a sinking fund for building maintenance, etc., it would be permissible for the church to place this money in an account where it can draw interest. If a church can borrow money to build a building and pay interest on this money, I see no reason why money reserved for a building fund or other such purpose cannot draw interest while we are waiting for the building to be built or remodeled as the case may be. See Matt. 25:26, 27. We would not approve of a church attempting to save up a large sum of money, deposit it in an interest paying account, and then live off the interest. We must remember that the church is a soul saving fellowship and not a money-saving arrangement! I do not see any connection of this matter and 1 Cor. 6:10.

Question Four: Supposing there is a yearly raffle among employees of a certain company. The tickets to be drawn are free. Would it be a sin to receive the prize?

Answer: No, because no wager is placed to receive the ticket. It is free to the employees. For a chance to be gambling, one must place a wager (put up money that he stands to lose) on the chance. See also the answer to question two.

Question Five: A soft drink company (say Pepsi or Coke) is promoting their product by placing a figure to be redeemed under the crown or cover (lid). Is it a sin to receive that amount of money when in fact there is no betting of money?

Answer: No. See answers to questions two and four.

Conclusion

Remember, gambling is a wager placed on a chance. To some degree, all life including business activities is a chance. But, gambling is betting on that chance.

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