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e Posted - 22 May 2001 21:55

what is the halachic and torah view on gambling?

- 22 May 2001 23:30

In general, it is Assur, the reason being that since each gambler hopes to win the "pot", and receives nothing in return for his money if he loses, therefore, if he loses, he does not wholeheartedly give the money away to the winner. Therefore, the winner is technically stealing the money from the loser, since it was not transferred to him wholeheartedly.

This is called "asmachta" in Gemora language.

However, in a case where the loser willingly loses, it is permitted to play. For example, the lottery. There, the city (or whoever) prints X amount of winning tickets and X amount of losing tickets, knowing full well that someone will win and others will lose, the only question is who. Therefore, they willingly give the winning pot to the winner, since they guaranteed they will get the other money from the losing tickets, which is what they expect.

Lotto is the same thing, since if the prize is not won this week, it is thrown into next week's lotto, so sooner or later it will be given away.

Another heter is if the lottery is going to a Tzedakah, since in that case we assume that even if you lose the money, you will wholeheartedly give it up, since it is going to Tzedakah.

In general, gamblers were looked upon as low and sleazy people, and are officially invalid to be witnesses, since they are "not involved in society" (yishuvo shel olam). The Mordechai writes that gambling is like an addiction, that is very very difficult to break, even if the person wants to.

e Posted - 07 June 2001 16:57

what if u play at a owned by Jew casino a game at a machine- is that halachicly allowed?

MODERATOR Posted - 11 June 2001 23:40

If the machine is such that it is pre-programmed to give out a certain amount of money, it is OK, since the "house" cannot lose. But if it's random, such that more people can win than the "house" would like, or they will win more money than the house would like, then it is prohibited.

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