Here I would like to ask the Catholic viewpoint on gambling.

For example, let's say if I were a Catholic single-parent mother of meager means who hoped to win in a lottery. Would participating in State Lottery amount to sinning?

I realize that there may not be any official sources that discuss this particular scenario, so to put it in another way, is gambling always a sin according to Catholicism?

The second question is, would gambling doom the individual to an eternity in hell?

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    As already mentioned in the answer, the Catholic Church does not teach that gambling is always sinful. On the other hand, if you gamble with money that you are obliged to use for other purposes, such as your own or your family's support, then your intentional failure to meet that obligation would be sinful. Nov 24, 2017 at 19:13

2 Answers 2


Is gambling always a sin according to Catholicism?

The short answer is no.

In its moral aspect, although gambling usually has a bad meaning, yet we may apply to it what was said about betting. On certain conditions, and apart from excess or scandal, it is not sinful to stake money on the issue of a game of chance any more than it is sinful to insure one's property against risk, or deal in futures on the produce market. - Catholic Encyclopedia

There is at least one patron saints of gambling: St. Cajetan.

St. Cajetan (known as St. Cayetano in Spanish-speaking countries) is the Patron Saint of Gamblers. Cajetan, born in 1480, was a lawyer and the son of a wealthy family. Driven by a desire to reform the Church, he traveled to Rome, became a priest, and founded a religious order. He used his family fortune to create hospitals that served both the physical and moral needs of the poor. He also established pawn shops and credit unions to provide loans to the poor.

Cajetan's connection to gambling is obscure. Popular lore says the people would ask him for a favor, and bet him a rosary that he couldn't come through. Since he always came through, he was able to get people to pray more. Based on what I know of saints, this feels like a pious retrofitting of a reason to a patronage, and it just doesn't sound likely.

It's more probable that his loans helped people get out from under the predatory interest rates of loan sharks, and many of the these loans were the result of gambling debts. Then, as now, a compulsive gambler could destroy his family, so it seems more likely that Cajetan probably helped problem gamblers get back on the right path both financially and morally. - Who Is The Patron Saint of Gaming?

  • For what it's worth, Wikipedia says that St. Cajetan is also the patron saint of non-gamblers. Nov 28, 2017 at 3:58

I do not believe Catholics believe that gambling is necessarily sinful. Some monastic orders might outlaw the practice for spiritual reasons. We should be looking to become more Christ like, and not necessarily looking to accumulate worldly goods. So a preoccupation with gambling or financial gain may be sinful, but a specific act of occasional gambling is probably not.

As for an "eternity in hell", Catholics believe any sin, even mortal sin like murder, are forgiven if the person is repentant.

The Catholic Encyclopedia does have an interesting entry on gambling, see http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06375b.htm

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