Does Catholicism Allow Gambling? Sort Of. — Theosis Christian

Gene Botkin
5 min readOct 10, 2020

Gambling is commonly considered as a vice in many regions across the world, and rightfully so. Most of the time, you will find people struggling as they lose their money due to gambling excessively. Therefore, many Catholics have come to wonder to themselves if Catholicism allows gambling.

Catholicism permits gambling. It forbids gambling to excess. Many who gamble do so to the detriment of their virtue, and they become unreliable as a result of their activity. Moreover, many people who gamble find themselves in debt as a result. So the pastime should be met with healthy temperance.

That’s the short answer to our query. Now we can being to delve into the various aspects of the Catholic position on gambling. So, before any further ado, let’s get into it.

The Emergence Of Online Casinos Sparks The Need For Clarity

In years past,, getting into gambling rings and casinos was difficult as you had to physically go there. But now, with the advent of more online casinos and gambling platforms, people have easier access to them. Greater numbers of people are now tempted to join casinos and start winning money than ever before.

This brings us to figure out whether casinos (and gambling in general), are allowed in Catholicism. What happens if a person indulges in gambling? Are they doomed for eternal hell? Catholics believe that if a person repents, then the possibility of eternal hell subsides as long as they don’t go back to doing the same thing over and over again. Does this stand true for gambling? But is gambling even considered a sin in itself?

Is There Any Mention Of Gambling In The Bible?

One of the first things that every practicing Catholic asks is whether there is any mention of gambling in the Bible. This is, of course, a normal and expected question to consider. However, the Bible has no mention of gambling in any direct context.

So, this leaves a gray area for Catholics when it comes to figuring out whether gambling is permitted in their religion or not. And, because the Bible remains silent on the explicit topic of gambling, many lines link to other verses present in the holy scripture.

One of the most commonly addressed verses is the one that stating that the love for money is the root of all evil. Now, people rightly link this to gambling because those who gamble do so with an aim for monetary reward, and they may place their possession and virtue at risk in doing so. Therefore, people tend to characterize gambling as a vice.

Moreover, since the love for money is clearly stated as evil, many deduce that the desire to gamble for excessive amounts of money is itself undesirable. But is it a sin? Well… Kind of. Since there is no clear indication of gambling being labeled as a sin in the Bible, the topic requires some proper exegesis to understand.

Is Gambling Considered A Sin By Catholics?

The next thing we will touch upon is whether gambling is considered a sin by Catholics or not. According to its canons, gambling is a vice, but it is not a sin.

Now, what is a vice anyway?

Let’s get into the details of that.

A vice is an act which is considered immoral and that a person partakes in habitually. We can understand from this is that gambling is frowned upon, but it is not completely disallowed. The morality of gambling has more to do with a person’s character that it has with sinful acts.

But don’t get too giddy upon hearing this. Gambling is still discouraged in many areas. So, even if Catholicism does permit the pastime to a certain extent, that doesn’t mean it’s a great hobby to have. Many people are aware of this, so ridicule for gamblers is still liable to be found in many places, and the reason for the ridicule is valid. It has always had a bad meaning attached to it, so even if you do have the proof of it being allowed, you will still be looked down upon by many for being a gambler.

A Monk Reflects On His Time As A Poker Player

In the video below, we listen to a monk reflect on his prior life as a successful poker player and his monastic view of gambling.

To What Extent Is Gambling Allowed In Catholicism?

Catholicism certainly allows gambling, but the faith only permits it to a certain extent. While the idea of gambling for entertainment is considered not sinful, the activity quickly degenerates into a pathway to sin.

There’s no harm in wanting a bit of entertainment in your life, and gambling may serve this purpose, but it should be limited to the means of entertainment only. Once you start thinking of earning a lot of money through this, you can certainly recognize that you have breached the limit of acceptability.

Since the Bible clearly states that love for money is evil, your intentions matter a lot as you go about gambling. As long as you’re in it for the fun and entertainment, you’re good. However, the second you start thinking of it as something that can earn you a lot of money, then it becomes wrong and a practicing Catholic should restrain themselves so that they do not approach this point.

But that’s not all. One of the major issues when it comes to gambling is that people become addicted to it. The thrill of earning more and more money keeps the person going. However, the house always wins, and the person who continues on their winning streak will always find themselves in the losing spot at the end.

When it comes to the point that a person starts losing more money and come to a point where they’re unable to provide for themselves is when the limitation starts. Enjoying it for the sake of having fun is one thing. But betting your life’s earning on gambling is a risk that is not allowed when it comes to Catholicism.

Bottom Line

All in all, the practice of gambling is not considered a sin under Catholicism as long as you’re aware of your limitations. The minute your greed takes over, and you put yourself at risk, then your actions need to be altered. While there is no particular prohibition on gambling, there are certain limitations that every practicing Catholic must follow.

Therefore, it is essential to understand what your intentions are as you go about gambling. If your intentions to earn more money are greater than your need for entertainment, then you need to retract yourself in order to prevent the sin and difficulty which you can already feel waiting for you.

Originally published at on October 10, 2020.



Gene Botkin

Gene is a graduate student in systems engineering; his research is in AI personalities. Studies theology and philosophy in his free time.