Gambling has been around as long as we have –in fact, there are some pieces of evidence which suggest that people used to gamble as early as the Paleolithic period. It seems that people are very fond of risking and spending their hard-earned money, hence gambling’s long tradition. However, how does gambling, or more specifically, how does sports betting fare when it meets religion? How have religions around the world accepted this worldwide phenomenon, that is now easier than ever, due to the multitude of betting sites on the Internet, that make it easy to bet from the comfort of one’s home?
Is gambling sinful?
This is a very tricky question to answer, as it cannot be answered simply. Most of the major religions do not explicitly state that they forbid gambling –Islam and Hinduism are more or less tolerant of it, Catholicism and Judaism allow it, up to a certain point and with certain limitations, but other religions, like Orthodox Christianity, strongly oppose the notion of gambling. Most of the oppositions and restrictions that are imposed by these religions stem from the fact that in gambling, it is very easy to take money from someone, which is the opposite of the love that these religions preach. However, that makes things easier when it comes to betting.
Are things any different when it comes to betting?
When sports betting is concerned, things might not be so grim. Arguably, betting on sports is a far milder form of gambling, and therefore, less liable for religious criticism. Betting on sports does not possess some of the elements that classic gambling games like poker, roulette, and others possess. No single player takes the money of another player directly so that the moral element is somewhat protected in this scenario.
How religions across the world react to sports betting
Precisely because of its tricky nature, it is very difficult for people, let alone entire religions, to have a unified opinion about it. This is the very problem that has existed for millennia, and will continue to exist for one simple reason –it is profitable. If there is a possibility that, for example, a church may benefit from the betting of its members, it will be far more tolerant of their betting on sports.
How should religious people approach sports betting?
The nature of betting is tricky, which is exactly why great minds, both religious and non-religious, have considered it. If we are certain that we know what we are doing when betting, it will be very difficult to cross any potential boundaries that religion puts up. Arguably, this is one of the safest forms of gambling a person can do, both morally and financially. However, as is the case with anything that carries a risk for danger, exercising caution is well-advised.