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The Darker Underbelly of Lottery

Lottery is a popular activity in many countries. It draws people like moths to a flame, offering the promise of instant riches in an age of inequality and limited social mobility. The inextricable human impulse to gamble is certainly a factor, but there’s also a darker underbelly: the lie that money will solve all problems.

In a way, lottery players are engaging in the same act of covetousness that the Bible warns against: “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house, his wife, his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that is his.” (Exodus 20:17; Ecclesiastes 5:10). People who play the lottery are drawn in by promises that their lives will be better if they win, but this is empty hope. God wants us to earn our wealth honestly through work and then invest it wisely for his glory, as stated in Proverbs 10:4: “Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth” (ESV).

The average American buys a lottery ticket once or twice a year. While this may seem harmless, it’s actually a costly endeavor: lottery tickets add up to billions in government receipts that could otherwise be used for things like retirement and college tuition. In addition, the average lottery player is disproportionately lower-income, less educated, and nonwhite.

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