Despite the numerous headlines in the Canadian press: Anti-gay religious group gets funding from Canadian government to work in Africa; “Pope Benedict XVI Announces His Resignation,” the Ottawa Citizen and its religious experts ponder the question, Is playing the slot machines a sin?
Even my favourite non-religious expert, CFI board member Kevin Smith, answered the Ottawa Citizen‘s inane question:
As an atheist, I do not relate to sin in the religious sense, a catch-all word to describe unethical behaviour according to a particular dogma. Playing the slots is not unethical. Even though the odds are against a big win, the mathematically challenged person has the right to engage in voluntary taxation. Governments looking to fill their dwindling coffers by tempting the poor with visions of eternal financial freedom are, in my opinion, morally bankrupt.
Catholic priest, Geoff Kerslake, assures us, “The Catholic Church teaches that gambling by itself is not a sin, but gambling can become a serious problem when it gets out of control,” and he resorts, as usual, to the authority of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which warns people not to surrender their “God-given freedom to an addiction” because
“Games of chance (card games, etc.) or wagers are not in themselves contrary to justice. They become morally unacceptable when they deprive someone of what is necessary to provide for his needs and those of others”
There is a relevant question we need to ask ourselves as a society: Is it right as a society that we profit from legalizing and taxing a form of entertainment that we know destroys many lives? The argument that legal gambling provides tax revenue for worthwhile projects is an argument that the ends justify the means — that is a very morally dangerous road to travel down.
“The word “gambling” is not in the Bible, although I’m sure many religious types wish that it was. But is it a sin?”
Citizens with the lowest income, those who can least afford to gamble, are desperate and are the most affected.
playing the slots with money, even only a small amount, that is needed to feed the family, who now must go hungry, is also irresponsible and sinful. So, in answer to your question — playing slots is not inherently sinful, but could be sinful if the playing causes adverse repercussions.