The attitude of taking something from someone else in order to enhance our own position – the essence of gambling – leads us away from the giving path of Christ and toward the taking path of the adversary.
The act of taking or trying to take something from someone else without giving value in return is destructive of spiritual sensitivities.
Gambling tends to corrupt its participants. Its philosophy of something for nothing undermines the virtues of work, industry, thrift and service to others. — Elder Dallin H. Oaks, Ricks College Devotional, January 6, 1987; Church News, February 14, 1998, p. 5
As it has been throughout its history, the church is against gambling in any form. “Some of our young people start by playing poker. They get the taste of getting something for nothing.” Even if the only money involved is an entry free, it is still gambling.
“One of our young men recently said, ‘Pay five bucks to see a movie, pay five bucks to play poker – it is the same idea.’ It is not the same idea. In one case, you get something for which you pay. In the other case, only one picks up the winnings and the others are left empty-handed.
“The pursuit of a game of chance may seem like harmless fun. But there attaches to it an intensity that actually shows on the faces of those who are playing. And in all too many cases this practice, which appears innocent, can lead to an actual addition. The church has been and is now opposed to this practice.” — President Gordon B. Hinckley, Priesthood Conference Talk, April 3, 2005, Deseret News
Gambling is quickly becoming a worldwide scourge that is robbing many of the desire to work for what they receive and to contribute to society in meaningful ways. Gambling, according to the Community Newspaper Holdings Inc., News Service, now consumes more than twice the amount of money Americans spend on movies, music CDs and other mainstream entertainment staples, such as sporting events and concerts.
The official stamp of government approval for things such as lotteries, combined with easy access to Internet gambling sites and glamorized poker tournaments on television networks, have erased much of the moral stigma that once was attached to games of chance. Pew Research Center found that only 28% of Americans now find anything morally objectionable about it.
This means that members of the Church today, and particularly young members, need courage to stand against what is quickly becoming a socially acceptable practice, much as they need courage to hold true to the teachings in the Word of Wisdom and to obey the commandments. They must be prepared to hold true to their standards even in social settings where other people present find nothing wrong with games of chance. — “Gambling’s tide,” Church News, June 3, 2006, p. 16