Inspirational & Insightful Quotations #70 --- Gambling

Quotations on Gambling (Set No. 2)

Ethically, gambling is a direct method by which men injure the property of others. It cherishes and calls into existence the desire to acquire what others possess, and thus leads to a violation of the law of right.

There are but two possible methods by which we can acquire property from others honestly—either by free gift or by rendering an equivalent for what we receive. In gambling, it is received in neither of these ways. The gambler may lay his account with losing a certain sum, but not with freely giving it away; and the only equivalent which he obtains is the chance, as it is called, of depriving another, contrary to his intention, of a part of his property. Nor would the gambler hazard his own at all, but that it is necessary for him to do so in order to get possession of that which is not his. The money lost is lost contrary to the wish, the design, and, consequently, to the proper consent of the persons losing; while the winner holds it by no better tenure, according to the laws of morality, than the thief or the robber.

The gambler, therefore, is guilty of a direct violation of the law of right, in plundering the property of others and reducing them to poverty and wretchedness, and proves himself by such conduct to be devoid of benevolence and humanity. He is a source of evil by his example, as well as by his actions; a corrupter of youth, stealing from them not their property only, but also what is far more valuable, their virtue and their happiness, and doing all in his power to prevent their retreat from the road that inevitably leads to ruin, both of soul and body.

If it be said that every man has an exclusive right to his property, that he can use it as he pleases, I answer, every man holds his property as a steward—first, to God, to whom, as the proprietor of all, he is accountable for the way in which he uses it, and, secondly, to society, for which he must use his property in beneficent ways, in diffusing happiness.

It is on these principles that all good government rests. All jurists agree that a fundamental principle of good government is violated by gambling in any form. The presumption of law is that every man has acquired his property honestly, and it is the policy of every well-regulated government that he shall not be deprived of it without a fair equivalent. This is particularly the case in republics, where all should be independent in the means of substances.

Gambling is the direct cause of embezzlement, insanity, suicide. A prominent, brilliant, educated man takes his own life, and his intimate friends know that he squandered a princely income at the card table, losing thousands of dollars at a single sitting, and then, with financial ruin staring him in the face, sneaked out of life a miserable coward. That is the end of a mere sport whether in walks in the higher or the lower ranges of life.

All legitimate commerce consists in an exchange of values. But when one man bets another that a certain card has a face, or that one horse will trot a mile in fewer seconds than another, and the loser pays the bet, what exchange takes place? The winner gets the loser’s money; the loser gets the experience. This is gambling.

The gambler, acting from the love of excitement as well as from the thirst for gain, makes bets, or forms contracts which amount to bets, with reference to the doctrine of chances only, having no regard to the effect which his transaction will have upon markets by equalizing prices and surpluses. The upright merchant, excluding as far as possible all consideration of mere chance, forms no bargain that is not real and based upon the assurance of a favorable result; his transactions are based upon the actual transfer of merchandise, with reference to the effect of such transfer upon the markets in removing a surplus from one time or place and supplying a deficiency in another. Accidents may falsify his calculations and bring failure and loss, but he engaged in no enterprises that bears hazard upon its face, regarding this as the province of the gambler, Failure, therefore, always takes him by surprise. He shuns danger, while the gambler courts it or deliberately weighs the probability of loss against that of gain. The men who play in public gambling houses only rob one another, and the innocents they can entice; the commercial gambler robs the whole people; every man that eats, drinks, sleeps, travels pays tribute to him.

If, as Carey says, “Society is produced by an exchange of services,” gambling is the very antithesis of society. In fact, it is our chief social peril. It must more and more be considered as one of the great problems of sociology, and be treated from that point of view. …

The normal obtainment of gratification, or of the money which purchases gratification, implies, firstly, that there has been put forth equivalent effort of a kind which, in some way, furthers the general good; and implies, secondly, that those from whom the money is received get, directly or indirectly, equivalent satisfactions. But in gambling the opposite happens. Benefit received does not imply effort put forth; and the happiness of the winner involves the misery of the loser. This kind of action is, therefore, essentially antisocial—scars the sympathies, cultivates a hard egotism, and so produces a general deterioration of character and conduct.

When we learn that the social organism is one; that if any member suffers, the whole body must suffer with it; that if one man in the community is a loser, every other man is a loser also, we shall make quick work in suppressing gambling, and every other antisocial vice.

---W.W. Boyd, St. Louis Republic, St. Louis, Mo., Jan. 22, 1900.

Gambling is a universal thing, limited by no boundaries of time, locality or legal enactment. It is the risking or winning of anything by mere hazard, a gain for which there has been no equivalent rendered. Under whatever name this sin presents itself it would seem to have as parents a wild desire to get money quickly and in large amounts, and in that wish for excitement, which is a part of our very nature. The emotions and agitations which gambling produces grow into a perfect frenzy, blazing up finally into a consuming fire which burns up the man. What is to be condemned is the spirit that wants wealth and plenty of it, for its own sake, and that desires to have it without working for it. And it is this spirit that fans the passion of gambling, until all other pursuits become insane. Warmth will no longer suffice; it must be a blaze. A pleasing glow does not satisfy; it must be the swoon of a wild intoxication. The professional man finds the routine of his office irksome and the gambling workman rebels against the treadmill character of his daily task.

Unwilling to acknowledge themselves slaves to this passion, men please that they indulge in it simply for relaxation, for amusement. Relaxation and recreation should fit for subsequent labor, a plea that will hardly hold if applied to gambling. Thoughtless people often try their luck, as they say, “just for the fun of the thing.” But it is fun that often ends in earnest. If I want amusement, why should I sit down to play with dynamite? If I want recreation, why should I toy with lightning? It is one of two things—sinful daring or foolish folly. Why should I place myself under the power of forces over which I have no control? Hell is full of the victims of amusements declared by their votaries to be perfectly harmless.

Gambling, in any and every form, is not honest commerce. It is not clean money; it renders no equivalent for what it takes; it is simple robbery. One can come lawfully into the possession of what belongs to another in two ways—by gift or by purchase. Gambling is neither, and after all has been said that can be said, it remains true that it is robbery. You may mutually agree that it shall be so. I say that makes no difference whatever. No agreement among any number of persons can make cheating and stealing honest and lawful. The design of gambling is to enable one person to secure another’s property without giving him value for it. If the victim agrees to that, he is a fool; if the victim becomes a winner, he becomes also a thief.

When the gambler proceeds to carry out his sinful desire to possess himself of his neighbor’s property without any equivalent, then he becomes, in plain language, a thief. It makes little difference whether one puts his hand in your pocket and steals your cash, or holds you up on the highway and makes you deliver at the pistol’s mouth, or passes a counterfeit bill on you with other good money, or induces you, by any sort of specious reasoning, to put your good gold on a table and then rakes it into his drawer, without giving you any value for it, he is a robber. And if you win, you are the robber, the thief.

Gambling is always associated with other vices. Indeed, it is generally resorted to avert the exposure of other vices. It diseases the mind, unfitting it for the responsibilities of life. It is the enemy of all domestic habits, and destroys all true affection between human beings. It is the parent and fellow and partner of every vice which pollutes the heart and injures society. It is the close friend of all evil.

---Albert H. Studebacker, Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Brooklyn, N.Y., Jan. 28, 1901.

Laws which turn citizens into beggars at fortune’s gate, waiting for something to turn up, inevitably destroy the industrial morale without which no prosperity can be maintained. Reason uses luck as one factor in life, but depends more on controlled forces. Reason expects to get the breaks some time, but prepares to utilize the slightest break for the biggest accomplishment.

Lady Luck always promises more than she gives. A lottery shortcut to city prosperity is another will-o’-the wisp. It will be another tax on the people. And who will pay for all this? The wealthy who can afford it? Will not rather the poor of the city, seeking escape from the drab misery of their lot, seek sudden happiness by buying lottery chances out of the pittance they now receive from the public as home relief? So we collect our tax mostly from the poor, adding economic corruption to the poverty they already enjoy.

---Mark Wayne Williams, The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Brooklyn, N.Y., Sept. 24, 1934.

Gambling is one of the common and universally practiced vices of depraved human character. It is born of avarice and dishonesty. You find it wherever sin abounds. It consists in betting or gaming for money or something else of value without giving in return any equivalent. In whatever degree it may exist or to whatever extent it may be carried on, it is a sin against good morals. It is an insidious species of stealing, is a kind of conspiracy into which men voluntarily enter for the deliberate purpose of attempting through some trick or device to rob one another of their money. It makes no sort of difference if they do consent to it and take their chances with their own free will, it is nothing but stealing. ...

When once drawn into the vortex of this whirlpool the most debauching influences are brought to bear on the moral sense of men to induce them to try their luck at the tables. When this step is taken they appear to be seized with an infatuation for the game that knows no restraint. Reason seems to become dethroned, a sort of paralysis settles down upon the function of conscience.

—George C. Rankin, Houston Daily Post, Houston, Texas, Oct. 15, 1894.


Legalized gambling brings with it widespread temptation to people of all ages and classes with the result that legitimate business suffers through embezzlement and other forms of dishonesty; funds which should be devoted to support and education of families are frequently dissipated by gambling losses; lawlessness is encouraged; the jails and penitentiaries and road gangs experience a marked increase in their population, with increased costs to the [state] far greater than whatever monetary revenue may be derived from the taxation of such gambling.

—J.J. Wicker, Religious Herald, Richmond, Va., Nov. 26, 1959.


Betting is wrong, both in principle and in practice. It is based on taking advantage of your neighbor’s ignorance, or on the assumption that the bettor knows more than his partner. It fosters the most indolent egotism and trusts to chance rather than to true knowledge. And, where all is absolute uncertainty, betting involves committing yourself to an opinion when the trust cannot be known. This is demoralizing in the extreme, making a man dishonest and unmerciful and unreal, no longer with the ability to see and to judge according to the principles of life.

—Charles Curtis McIntyre, Salt Lake Herald, Salt Lake City, Utah, Nov. 9, 1908.


Gambling is a perversion of the very motive in life that makes of every activity an adventure, every undertaking a game rather than work, namely the surprise and the fear motives; curiosity, to see what will come; fear of what may come, and the natural feeling of joy and elation at escape from what might have come. But these human emotions can be satisfied and exercised by the normal, natural activities of our work and play life, in hunting, fishing, playing baseball, tennis, football, etc., and in watching these games.

I very much doubt whether the gambler on a football game has the sheer joy in the thrills of the game as the pure sports lover, because the gambler is worried about the money end of it. Sooner of later, the gambler, even though he starts out for the thrills of uncertainty accompanying gambling, winds up money mad.

Clean sports are the salvation of many a boy and many a man, but gambling on sports can besmirch one's attitude toward fairness, toward cleanness, sooner than anything else. ... The bad part about the gambling man is that often he shirks the real things in life about which there are chances--love and marriage and children--for these fake chances on roulette wheels, horse races, and baseball pools, things where there are no chances. They are all fixed. I don't think I am wrong about this. Life must have some thrills in it, but those thrills should not be purchased at the expense of other people's happiness, as the father of the family purchased it if he gambles away the money that should feed his family.

—Paul C. Young, Sabine Index, Many, La., Jan. 5, 1940.


Men who gamble pick their own pockets.

Dallas Morning News, Dallas, Texas, June 6, 1915.


Gambling destroys will power, makes real work seem not worthwhile, destroys all of life's real values. A gambler is mentally a vicious machine and nothing else.

New York American, New York, N.Y., Sept. 5, 1926.


Gambling lures with false promises and destroys in a few weeks or months the work of a lifetime.

And worst of all, it kills ambition. ...

The so-called "bold gambler" is in reality a mental coward. He gambles because he hasn't mental stamina, character, courage to take the slow, hard task of earning and keeping.

There is no such thing as a "lucky gambler." The man that you see accidentally winning today, stupidly spending his gain, is pointed out as the lucky gambler. He may and probably will be in the gutter in a little while. But when that happens your attention isn't called to him. You are shown the next "lucky gambler." Also on his way to the gutter.

Gambling shows weakness; it shows lack of courage to make a real fight. It shows conceit; the man is conceited who thinks he can win where so many others have failed.

New York American, New York, N.Y., Oct. 14, 1928.


A man has ten chances of being struck by lightning to one of drawing a prize in a lottery.

The Religious Telescope, Dayton, Ohio, March 7, 1860.


Covetousness is the desire for that which cannot lawfully be possessed. Gambling is the offspring of the desire to possess that which is unreachable by lawful means. ... Gambling is a purely selfish enterprise; the very essence of gambling is to get something for oneself at the expense of someone else. Thus, it is impossible for the gambler to love the one with whom he gambles even as he loves himself.

Gambling is entirely parasitic. It is completely nonproductive. It creates no new wealth and performs no useful services. It merely redistributes wealth from the possession of the many into the hands of a few.

—Charles A. Edwards, Religious Herald, Richmond, Va., April 9, 1957.


Some advocate that we legalize gambling and reap the benefits of revenue derived from it. To legalize gambling would neither eliminate racketeers nor make them responsible; nor would it bring honest or respectable men into that occupation. The vice of organized gambling is that it involves so much money and such a tremendous profit that it puts into the hands of racketeers enormous sums of money with which to corrupt the community.

We need to realize that we can never lessen an evil by legalizing it. We need to communicate the idea that we cannot get something for nothing. ...

The most effective deterrent and preventive of gambling is a sensitive Christian conscience.

—Hugh L. Myers, Baptist and Reflector, Nashville, Tenn., Feb. 14, 1963.


All forms of gambling are forms of theft.

—E.D. Head, Baptist Standard, Dallas, Texas, Aug. 29, 1946.


Gambling and theft are brothers. Dishonesty is their mother who gave them birth and encouraged their growth.

—Gloria Young, Baptist Standard, Dallas, Texas, Sept. 22, 1932.


Are you sowing the seeds of gambling? The man who tries to get something without rendering adequate compensation is undermining the very foundation stones of his character. Wrecks of men who have begun that are strewn along the way.

—Henry W. Stough, Dallas Morning News, Dallas, Texas, March 24, 1906.


A gambler has to stifle conscience or it would drive him crazy. That is the reason so many men drink to excess, not to drown sorrow, but to deaden the pain of an accusing conscience. The infatuation which takes possession of a gambler ... drives him further and further into vice.

—Frank L. Smith, Dallas Morning News, Dallas, Texas, May 1, 1893.


Gambling is the staking of property upon mere hazard. The only difference between it and stealing is that in gambling the loser chooses to risk the loss of his property. ... Gambling is stealing. ... If you propose to get property upon any hazard you propose to get it by gambling; and the man who, upon any hazard, wins property is morally a thief and guilty of stealing. He who loses is an accessory to the crime.

—J.E. Starr, The Baptist Chronicle, Alexandria, La., Nov. 27, 1902.


There are several indictments against legalized gambling.

It is not a creative industry.

It shifts but does not produce wealth.

It puts a continuous pressure on honesty. So often the strain is too heavy. The temptation is too great. All serious investigations of the gambling racket bear this out.

It hurts most those who can afford it the least. Too much milk-and-bread money goes into it. The necessities of life are put up in a vain hope of the "big win."

The masses cannot win. Only a few of those who take the risk come out ahead. It teaches a wrong philosophy of life.

It teaches people to believe that there is a good chance to get "easy money."

Legalized gambling makes gambling more dramatic, and this stimulates more illegal gambling.

It has quite a few devotees among good citizens, but it attracts a whole chain of undesirable's to a state and a community. It may stimulate some tourism, but it attracts too many of the wrong kind. It is deceitful as to revenue. What comes into the treasury looks good, but it stimulates too many things that take out of the government's pockets. The net is either inconsequential or nil.

It is a natural for an underworld rendezvous.

—W.R. White, Baptist Standard, Dallas, Texas, Jan. 1, 1964.


Business consists of production and exchange, while gambling consists of hazarding something in possession, on the chance of winning something in another's possession, without imparting anything in lieu thereof. Legitimate transactions and normal business is to produce economically, to exchange equitably--whereby all parties are benefited. But in gambling there is no pretence of production, but only the capture of a pool by superior dexterity at the game. There is the prominent element to gain something for nothing and to avoid by trick or chance the paying value received for what one obtains. ...

It must also be noted that in all legitimate transactions all participants are presumable benefited in proportion to their several equities. That is, each receives, theoretically, the equivalent of what he has produced and added to the sum total to be distributed. In gambling the element of production is absent, while one merely expropriates from another by outwitting him. The one process is wholly beneficent, the other totally baneful. The two processes are morally antithetical.

The fact that the element of chance enters into both does not make them identical, any more than the element of carbon in iron makes it identical with charcoal. Chance is a minor element in normal business, and its entire extinction is the desiratum; while in gambling it is the chief element. ... It can be definitely assumed that any transaction that is void of equal values, either money or merit--and where chance is the main feature, is either gambling or highway robbery. Gambling itself is nothing more nor less than robbery.

—R.M. Boone, The Baptist Chronicle, Alexandria, La., Feb. 1, 1912.


A man [who] thinks he sees a way by which he can more easily obtain a dollar than by honestly earning it ... has opened the gate of temptation and has taken a long step on the road to destruction. The feverish haste to get rich ... and the epidemic for speculation, combined with the increasing distaste for honest toil, is one of the most ominous shadows cast forward in the future progress of our [nation]. ...

The inordinate love of money is, beyond question, the root of much evil, especially under the condition of society ... which gives rise to varied plausible speculations closely allied to gambling–the honesty or morality of which is very questionable. Among these are the species of lottery. ...

Lotteries ... have ever been found disastrous to the people at large and destructive of private morality. ...

The great evil of these distributions is the spirit of gambling with its attendant train of evils which this practice engenders: the temptations to dishonesty presented to those who desire to speculation, and have not the means to do so; the misery of those who lose, and the recklessness and dislike to labor introduced into the minds of those who are lucky, or unlucky enough to win large prizes.

—George Q. Cannon, Deseret Evening News, Salt Lake City, Utah, March 6, 1871.


Gambling is a craze to get something for nothing. It neither creates wealth nor character. Gambling is an enemy of proper wealth distribution and honesty. ... There are two legitimate uses of money, one the use of exchange, the other, gifts to worthy objects. Let us remember in gambling there is no gain without an equivalent loss by someone. There is no change of values whatsoever. Commercial gambling does not give the public an even break. All gambling devices are arranges to best and fleece the public, they are timed to take your money and not give value received. When any institution puts a strain upon honesty that institution does not have a right to exist. Any institution which fails to give the public an even break should not have the public approval. ...

Gambling encourages idleness and we all know that an idle brain is the devil's workshop. It encourages people to try to get something for nothing. All gambling and her advocates are deceivers, liars, good promisers and poor payers. ...

Gambling leads to stealing. It is not safe to have a person work for you if he gambles. He may take the money from your cash drawer with good intentions of putting it back when he collects from the gambling. ...

Gambling destroys honesty and character.

—O.J. Chastain, Baptist Standard, Dallas, Texas, Jan. 9, 1936.


In gambling, in abusing the blessings, power and influence you possess, you do no good to anybody, and work out your own destruction. ... Stop your gambling and go to work. ... Your life is a poor miserable life of waste, a disgrace to the human family. Go to work, improve the country, build towns and cities, set out shade trees, build school houses and meeting houses. ... Be civil, honest in your dealings, be upright, do not take that which belongs to your neighbor.

—Brigham Young, Deseret Evening News, Salt Lake City, Utah, April 15, 1871.


The time to swear off gambling is before you ever begin it.

—Bert Moses, Lake Charles American-Press, Lake Charles, La., Nov. 7, 1924.


Gambling of any kind is getting something of value without an equivalent. Such a desire in the heart is dishonest and degrading. It is dangerous to character, dangerous to business and dangerous to civil government. Honesty is the desire of the heart to give an equivalent in value for that which is received. An honest laborer has a desire in his heart to give an equivalent in service for his wages or salary. A merchant who is honest has the desire in his heart to give customers an equivalent in valuable goods for what is received from them. There should be no desire in any man's heart to beat anybody out of anything of value. Gambling is continually doing that very thing; and all good people, all honest people, ought to continually frown upon, resist and endeavor to render null all efforts and means thus to rob people. Losses through gambling cause children to suffer, divorces, embezzlements, suicides and all sorts of human misery.

—F.M. McConnell, Baptist Standard, Dallas, Texas, April 20, 1939.


The spirit of gambling, once it has taken hold of a person, is like a narcotic or a liquor in its deadening and maddening effects. The thrill of an occasional win is enough to tide over several substantial losses and, in this way, keep the losing spiral going viciously downward until the participant’s money is all gone. Always there is the thought, the desperate hope, that next time he can beat the game and then he will stop; but next time he loses once more, or, if he should win, there is the untempered greed that won’t let him quit.

—Harold T. Christensen, Relief Society Magazine, Salt Lake City, Utah, August 1945.


Gambling has not one single redeeming trait in it; it has not one generous impulse behind it, not one beneficent result from it. It honeycombs the soul with the basest of passions. It is a vice whose root is greed, whose trunk is cruelty, and whose fruit is fraud.

Gambling is an evil because it undermines self-reliance by leading its devotees to depend for support upon luck and fortune, instead of upon courage and self-reliant effort. This means defeat and despair at last, because fortune is fickle and luck will turn. ...

When luck has turned on one who gambles, it leaves him utterly without resource, for, having habituated himself to depending upon luck and chance, when that fails him he has not the strength of character to win out success by his own efforts, and so goes down to failure and despair.

Again, gambling is an evil because it leads to every other form of vice. Its feverish excitement diseases the mind, corrupts the imagination, weakens the will, prostitutes the affections, and thus utterly unfits one for the serious and noble duties of life. It breaks up home life by undermining habits of domestic constancy and affection.

—John Roach Straton, Christian Index, Atlanta, Ga., Oct. 24, 1918.


The big objection to the slot machine is that so many devotees never seem able to pay their bills.

Clarendon News, Clarendon, Texas, Jan. 18, 1934.

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