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Denominational Statements

American Baptist Churches USA

The General Board of American Baptist Churches calls all American Baptists to:
  1. Pray for God's healing intervention in the lives of persons and communities who are being hurt by gambling;
  2. Help people understand that gambling can be addictive and that even apparently innocent wagering can have a negative influence especially on our children and youth;
  3. Help people understand that gambling can be unethical even if a portion of the revenue is used for socially needed programs;
  4. Encourage the development of more appropriate ways to generate revenue for the renewal and the rebuilding of the educational, social and economic fabric of all communities;
  5. Initiate and support ministries to persons addicted to gambling, their families, persons employed in the gambling industry and others who find themselves victimized by the result of gambling;
  6. Counter government promotion of gambling by contacting their state legislators to encourage them to eliminate state sponsored gambling and media advertisement.
  7. Oppose gambling on the internet and other technology that makes it possible to gamble at home and other locations away from the gambling center.

Complete Statement

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Gambling and the Public Good

Serious questions and concerns have been raised, however, with respect to legalizing gambling as a revenue resource. Among those cited are the following:

a) Legalized gambling tends to extract revenues from those who may be least able to resist the temptation to gamble rather than from those who ought to be paying to support state programs. Studies have indicated the disposition of low-income families to spend a greater fraction of income on gambling, as on other items such as food or alcohol, than higher-income families. This means that receipts from gambling become another regressive tax when used as a source of revenue. The wisdom of such regressive taxation as sound public policy deserves further public discussion.

b) Legalized gambling may also encourage more illegal gambling, since a greater total volume of gambling may provide a more favorable environment for illegal operators. Illegal gambling can offer higher odds than legal games, since it does not have to pay a portion in tax revenues. By encouraging illegal gambling, legalized gambling may indirectly add to already overburdened state budgets by increasing law-enforcement costs.

Complete Statement

Presbyterian Church (USA)

Commissioners' Resolution 92-41. On Opposing Legalized Gambling.

Whereas, predecessor General Assemblies have recognized the negative moral and spiritual effects of legalized gambling; and
Whereas, gambling undermines the principles of both responsible Christian stewardship and responsible financial support for government; and
Whereas, legalized gambling often results in increased crimes against persons and property, gambling addiction, exploitation of the poor, land speculation, and instability in communities; therefore, be it
Resolved, That the 204th General Assembly (1992) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) stands in opposition to the expansion of legalized gambling in the United States, and
  1. calls upon sessions, congregations, and individuals in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to oppose efforts to legalize gambling in their communities, 
  2. petitions civic and government leaders to resist state sanctioned gambling and the false promises for fiscal benefits from such, and
  3. encourages state councils of churches and related public policy advocacy groups to be active in resisting the spread of legalized gambling.

Reformed Church in America

In 1997 General Synod adopted four resolutions concerning gambling:

  • To urge the general secretary, regional synods, classes, and RCA congregations to write letters to government officials on all levels in support of public policies that restrict gambling opportunities and oppose expansion of gambling.
  • To create policy for the RCA that prohibits the investment of denominational funds in gambling-related companies; to encourage all RCA members to review their own investment portfolios to be consistent with this policy.
  • To ask the Office of Social Witness to continue to keep the issue of gambling and its negative social consequences before the RCA; and assist the denomination in identifying investment opportunities that rely on gambling, and identify opportunities for RCA members to be involved in this area of public policy.

In addition, RCA members were encouraged to love, pray for, and support their members who are struggling with a gambling problem; RCA members were encouraged to offer assistance by:

  • directing them to support groups.
  • ensuring that the basic needs of their families are being met.
  • encouraging the entire family to be an active part of the church body.

More Information

Society of Friends (Quakers)

New York Yearly Meeting, Faith and Practice, Advice #9

Care should be taken that all of our members avoid participation in lotteries, gambling, and betting, including such schemes of chance that appeal as benevolences. Friends should refrain from hazardous speculation and are cautioned against engaging in business that may be questionable. They are responsible for the manner of acquiring, using, and disposing of their possessions.

United Methodist Church

United Methodist Social Principles, #163 G - Gambling

Gambling is a menace to society, deadly to the best interests of moral, social, economic, and spiritual life, destructive of good government and good stewardship. As an act of faith and concern, Christians should abstain from gambling and should strive to minister to those victimized by the practice.

Where gambling has become addictive, the Church will encourage such individuals to receive therapeutic assistance so that the individual’s energies may be redirected into positive and constructive ends.

The Church acknowledges the dichotomy that can occur when opposing gambling while supporting American Indian tribal sovereignty and self-determination.  Therefore, the Church’s role is to create sacred space to allow for dialogue and education that will promote a holistic understanding of the American Indians’ historic quest for survival.

The Church’s prophetic call is to promote standards of justice and advocacy  that would make it unnecessary and undesirable to resort to commercial gambling—including public lotteries, casinos, raffles, Internet gambling, gambling with an emerging wireless technology and other games of chance—as a recreation, as an escape, or as a means of producing public revenue or funds for support of charities or government.