The state of Maryland opened its largest casino last night, the Maryland Live! Casino. A pretty good article about the casino can be found here. As pastor, I feel like it is necessary for me to give a biblical response to this and some wisdom to my church family regarding participation at the casino.

  • State-run gambling is not new in the state of Maryland. Our state has had a lottery for many years now. What makes this different, though, is its close-proximity to Arundel Mills Mall, which attracts hundreds of thousands of families for shopping and entertainment. Thus there is the suggested implication that playing slots is just another kind of family entertainment, like shopping, eating at Medieval Times, or catching a movie at the Egyptian theater.
  • State-run gambling is just a clever way for the government to take more money from its citizens. Another term we use for this is a “tax”. But this is a more devious form of tax. It is a tax that feeds on the greed of the citizens. Even with a page that advises “responsible gaming”, it fails to mention that, given the outrageous odds for winning, the aim of casinos and lotteries is to make the government, not the citizen, richer.
  • What the state does not want is for each citizen to consider the danger of the love of money to his/her soul. Consider these verses:
  • Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless pursuits lacks sense (Proverbs 12:11; 28:19)

    Do not toil to acquire wealth; be discerning enough to desist. When your eyes light on it, it is gone, for suddenly it sprouts wings, flying like an eagle toward heaven (Proverbs 23:4-5)

    A faithful man will abound with blessings, but whoever hastens to be rich will not go unpunished (Proverbs 28:29)

    A stingy man hastens after wealth and does not know that poverty will come upon him (Proverbs 28:22)

    No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money (Matthew 6:24)

    Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs (1 Timothy 6:6-10)

  • Given the dangers of the pursuit of immediate wealth on your soul, it would be wise to avoid the casino altogether. If you want to acquire wealth in this life, it would be wise to work hard and save instead of spend. But recognize that income is not for financial stability alone, however. God gives to us that we may invest in God’s mission to spread his fame to all nations (Matthew 6:33; Luke 12:13-34; Ephesians 4:28; 1 Timothy 6:17-19).
  • So don’t gamble your life away at the Maryland Live! Casino. Use your money wisely. Invest in the glory of God in the spread of the gospel to the neighborhoods and the nations. Then you (and others) will experience what it means to be really alive.