Should Christians Bet on Sports?

Contributing Writer
Should Christians Bet on Sports?

Globally, sports revenue can range in the billions to possibly trillions of dollars. Personally, I am a huge sports fan, with football being my number one. Even though as a NY Giants fan, this last decade has produced little to cheer about, I still enjoy watching the games. What has been true for a very long time is if there is a game being played, then chances are someone is betting on it. 

Sports betting became legal in Nevada in 1931 and for many decades, that was the only state in the US where sports betting was legal. That has now changed, and sports betting has grown nationwide. Sports betting is now legal in 38 states and according to Sports Pro Media, legal sports books in the US handled $93.2 billion in sports bets in 2022 and generated revenues of $7.5 billion dollars.

As a fan of all sports and as a Christian, how do we handle this? Is betting on sports something that Christians should engage in?

Does the Bible Say Betting on Sports Is a Sin?

Sports betting falls into one of those gray areas that we wrestle with in Christianity. To define it accurately, betting on sports is gambling – it is no different from buying a lottery ticket or going to a casino. While many would want to condemn it right away, there are no specific verses in the Bible that explicitly state “thou shalt not gamble.”

Now before you go run off and place your bet, there are some warnings Scripture does give us, which can help shape how you think about betting on sports and whether you should take part in it. Before I give you my recommendation as to whether you should do this, let me first help you approach this subject with a Biblical point of view.

3 Warnings from Scripture about Gambling

1. The Deception of Quick Riches

“Dishonest money dwindles away, but whoever gathers money little by little makes it grow” (Proverbs 13:11).

“The stingy are eager to get rich, and are unaware that poverty awaits them” (Proverbs 28:22).

Most people who engage in gambling are looking to capture a quick score. They bet a smaller amount of money hoping to collect a bigger pay day in return. While some people try to attach some level of science to sports betting, the reality is there really isn’t any. This is not a game of skill, it is a game of odds and luck because you are dealing with how humans will perform at any given moment.

However, the possibility of winning quick money is appealing to many people. Unfortunately, the problem with money that comes in quickly is it usually goes out just as quickly.   

2. Falling Victim to the Love of Money

“Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs” (1 Timothy 6:9-10).

When you bet on sports, you are potentially feeding into the love of money. For some, it might seem more subtle, but for others it becomes clear. There are different ways to build wealth, but this is not the best option to do it. People who see this as their way to achieve financial gain set themselves up for ruin. Too many people have gambled and lost, finding themselves in a place of financial destruction.

3. The Probability of Becoming Addicted  

“Do not join those who drink too much wine
or gorge themselves on meat,
for drunkards and gluttons become poor,
and drowsiness clothes them in rags”

(Proverbs 23:20-21).

“’I have the right to do anything,’ you say — but not everything is beneficial. ‘I have the right to do anything’ — but I will not be mastered by anything” (1 Corinthians 6:12).

Betting on sports and all gambling has an addictive nature to it. I don’t believe most people set out to become addicted to betting on sports or any type of gambling. They may begin innocently, but then suddenly find themselves betting more and more. Often this happens either because they won and want to win more, or they lost and want to recoup their losses. Either of these scenarios can form an addictive pattern in you.

This is the danger associated with betting on sports; it seeks to lure you in and become your master. When you become mastered by this (or anything) then it leads to sinful behavior.

What if You Just Bet on Sports for Fun?

Here is where this line can become a little blurry and where betting on sports can fall into that gray area where people will have different convictions. For example, some Christians don’t have a problem with drinking alcohol. They feel they are responsible and since they don’t get drunk in the process, then it is okay.

They may view gambling in the same way. For them, it may be just another form of entertainment. In their mind, they only bet with money they can afford to lose, and they feel they do it responsibly. In their view, betting $50 on a game may not differ from spending $50 on a ribeye steak, or even $200 to attend the sporting event.

For some people, this will be a clear black-and-white issue and for others, it won’t be. While you may have the “right” to do it, you must ask yourself, is it truly beneficial for you and is it mastering you? Your answers to this question will tell you if you should take part.

Should Christians Participate in Fantasy Sports?

How do fantasy sports or fantasy sports leagues, which generated over $9 billion dollars in 2023 according to, fit into this sports betting picture?

While many fantasy sports leagues have entry fees for participation, this is a little different from sports betting. If you have ever played in any sports league, there is generally a cost of admission. Fantasy sports leagues in that regard are no different. While some have higher prices to join, I would not put it in the category of betting on sports.

How Do You Decide What to Do on the Issue?

Whether Christians should bet on sports really comes down to what is the intention of your heart. If you view it as trying to get rich, trying to score, or you bet money you really can’t afford to lose, then you are addicted and in your case, this behavior is sinful.

However, since the Bible does not expressly say don’t bet on sports, some Christians may have a different view on this topic. Before I give you my recommendation, here is one last thing to consider. With the availability of sports betting literally at your fingertips, the possibility of becoming addicted is fairly high. For that reason, the wisdom here would be to avoid doing it. Not because it is inherently sinful, but because it could be.

My recommendation would be to watch the game, enjoy the game, just don’t bet on the game.

Related article: Is Gambling a Sin?

Photo credit: ©Getty Images/Wavebreakmedia

Clarence Haynes 1200x1200Clarence L. Haynes Jr. is a speaker, Bible teacher, and co-founder of The Bible Study Club.  He is the author of The Pursuit of Purpose which will help you understand how God leads you into his will. His most recent book is The Pursuit of Victory: How To Conquer Your Greatest Challenges and Win In Your Christian Life. This book will teach you how to put the pieces together so you can live a victorious Christian life and finally become the man or woman of God that you truly desire to be. Clarence is also committed to helping 10,000 people learn how to study the Bible and has just released his first Bible study course called Bible Study Basics. To learn more about his ministry please visit