The question of what constitutes gambling is as difficult to answer as the number of gamblers that dispute the very idea of gambling. Gambling refers to a number of practices, activities, and events that have no direct relationship to gambling or gaming, but that are used by some gamblers in order to beat the odds or to borrow money that they don’t have. Gambling can be confined to specific games like cribbage or blackjack or can be used to refer to all activities of chance. In some regards it is a subset of sport betting. Some people believe that gaming is not gambling because there are some games where you can win a substantial amount of money, for example, horse races and poker.
There are two main views on what constitutes gambling. Those who support legalized gambling argue that a person can gamble on a race track, a slot machine, a bingo card game, or even a video game; however, this view is considered a minority viewpoint by the majority of the American public and is rejected by most supporters of legalized gambling because gambling takes away from the participant’s chance to enjoy their leisure time. The second main argument against gambling involves those who feel that all gambling involves cheating, that a gambler cannot lose more than they put up, or that a player can lose everything they own if they do not practice discipline and careful planning.
The Bible, in particular, appears to support what some modern-day Gamblers feel is an acceptable view on what constitutes gambling. The Bible, after all, does not mention any game that was not associated with Deutero-Christian times, which would make it impossible for games such as cribbage or dominoes to have existed during this time period. The Bible does, however, describe games such as fishing, cockfighting, gambling, bardic music, and cockfights as being conducted by persons under the auspices of “religion”. This could easily apply to the early church, which often required followers to partake in the rites and ceremonies of their religion in order to be valid.
What makes this view more plausible is the way that the Bible describes players in those same religions as being free with their monies. God, in the Bible, does not require a person to work. One Timothy stated, regarding gambling, that gambling had nothing to do with a person’s work ethic. This idea may seem strange, since the Ephesians teaches one to work and to pursue happiness. However, the Ephesians teaches that it is not the way things happen to you, but how you handle them afterwards that counts. This, then, clearly states that a person’s work ethic has very little to do with winning, while gambling has a great deal to do with winning and losing.
The Romans, according to the Bible, were no different. As Romans, they also had to engage in gambling in order to satisfy their need for wealth. The reason that gambling is associated with riches in the Roman world is not because of its relation to the size of the bank account. No, it is because the Romans, like the Greeks and the Jews before them, considered themselves to be rich by nature. They simply enjoyed the things that they possessed. And just like the Greeks and the Jews, the Romans believed that they were God’s chosen people, bearing the title “God is my giver.”
It was in the year 1 Corinthians that the Holy Roman Emperor, Commodus, was challenged by an unknown individual. The man said that he had heard of Commodus placing treasures into holy vessels in a temple. So Commodus went to Rome to search for out more about the man who had requested that all treasures are placed in that vessel. He did find out that the man who placed the treasures there was a very rich layman by the name of Matthew, who lived in Nazareth, England.
Matthew, in fact, acted as a sort of emissary from Jesus, traveling to the home of Matthew’s uncle, Luke, and reporting back to the Roman general, Crassus. Luke, in turn, who was in Jerusalem at the time, was very annoyed that Jesus had traveled so far to visit his uncle, and so he sent an army after him. With the help of Antony, a very wealthy and powerful man, Matthew managed to defeat the enemy and bring him to justice, although not before suffering some slight injuries. So what constitutes gambling then? Gambling can be defined as a game of chance (albeit a high probability one) in which the outcome depends on luck, chance or even chance itself.
In essence, then, gambling is about placing your possessions, your money, and your reputation in the hands of someone else. It is about deciding that fate is going to decide how much wealth you have, and what happens to those possessions in the future. Gambling, therefore, is a form of self-fulfilling prophecy – if you bet your money on someone else’s win, then you will get what you put in. But if you choose to stake your own personal fate, by gambling responsibly, then you are engaging in what is known as “fair value”.