Sometimes I've played the lottery when it gets over $100 million, thinking I could retire on a small fortune and then give tens of millions away to charity, including of course, Christian ones.

Has anyone ever seen a congregation or parachurch organization (pick the Billy Graham Evangelical Association for example) flatly refuse a donation because it came from lottery winnings? I'm actually wondering about the prevalence of such refusals, or denominational / charity by-laws that state up front they would not accept such funds.

I'm not immediately interested in debating the sinfulness of playing the lottery. Although citations of its sinfulness in refusing donations is of course of interest.

  • actually several times in the Bible offerings are refused. God considers the lame blind or as a result of sinful gain unworthy of His use. Saul, Cain, Namen and Malachi are the big examples that come to mind.
    – user4060
    Jun 14, 2013 at 16:04
  • Okay, make that an answer with a few bible verse citations and I'll "accept" it.
    – pterandon
    Jun 14, 2013 at 16:09
  • I'm torn on this one.. i voted it up at first because it seemed like a good question, but seeing the answers come in, I see that it fits the "straw poll" definition, discouraged on all StackExchange sites. See How should we handle “List Questions” for more. I'm keeping my up-vote and not voting to close for now, but it looks like it's encouraging a few "me too!" answers. Jun 15, 2013 at 1:34
  • Um, what? We've got one excellent scholarly biblical one that brings insights I hadnt thought of and two earnest ones. Please don't confuse the appropriate down vote of answer with closing a question.
    – pterandon
    Jun 15, 2013 at 3:32
  • 1
    Meanwhile, keep your day job. "The lottery," as they say, "is a tax on people who are bad at math." Nov 22, 2017 at 13:59

3 Answers 3


The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has an official policy of not accepting any tithing from winnings having to do with gambling, this includes the lottery. Their position on gambling can be found here.

For those that don't want additional information/links the position is this:

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is opposed to gambling, including lotteries sponsored by governments. Church leaders have encouraged Church members to join with others in opposing the legalization and government sponsorship of any form of gambling.


The First Baptist Church of Orange Park in Orange Park, FL refused a $600,000 donation of lottery winnings from one of it's members back in 2008.

14 October, 2018 edit: If the above citation is invalid, here is another report.

  • That webpage is down as of October 14th, 2018: > Error 404 / The case of this missing page is still unsolved ... but don't worry, we have our best investigative reporters tracking down leads. Stay tuned... Oct 15, 2018 at 1:15

Yes. I read about an assembly of God church that refused the donation of a man who won 350 million. I think it was in Virginia but don't remember. The way that they turned it down, however, was so condemning and hurt the man so much, that it led to a downward spiral of the man.

Playing responsibly is not a sin, but refusing a gift in such a way that it destroys a persons life is a sin.

  • Romans 14:1-13 helps in this. There, we find that a weak brother may prefer to eat only vegetables; but since he is doing it to honor Christ, it is acceptable behavior. Another thinks he can eat anything; since he does so based on his liberty in Christ, that position is also acceptable. So if the occasional lottery player has the liberty to play the lottery and give the winnings to the work of God without a bad conscience, then I would find it acceptable. But if he had misgivings, then it would not be of faith, and therefore be sinful for that person (Romans 14:23).
    – Steve
    Nov 22, 2017 at 13:27
  • 3
    Welcome to Christianity.SE. For a quick overview, please take the Site Tour. For more on what this site is all about, see: How we are different than other sites. In particular, this is a Q&A site rather than a discussion site. Though your answer does touch on the question asked, much of it is personal opinion, and doesn't actually answer the question asked. See: What makes a good supported answer? Nov 22, 2017 at 14:09
  • It would help greatly if you could track down a link to support your claim that that this church refused the donation. Nov 24, 2017 at 3:28

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