The word lottery means: “a drawing of lots in which prizes are distributed to the winners among persons buying a chance.” A lottery is a means of gambling, and gambling is wrong, dead wrong. Regardless of the form it takes (lottery, bingo, raffle, buying chances, pitching pennies, etc.), gambling is sinful. It violates every principle of truth. In spite of arguments made to say the profits will be used for education or some other good work, it remains a dishonest and damnable venture.There were some in Paul’s day who slanderously accused him of saying, “Let us do evil, that good may come” (Romans 3:8). He declared that “damnation is just” for people who think that way! One can never Scripturally do a wrong thing in order that good may be the end result.
A lottery is sinful because it violates the Golden Rule. “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them…” (Matthew 7:12). In gambling, one desires all others to lose while he wins. It is depriving others of the means of their living. It doesn’t matter if they are a willing participant or not, the result is the same. People may agree to commit fornication with each other but their agreement doesn’t make it right! Fornication is sinful, period (I Corinthians 6:18)!
A lottery is sinful because it is not an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay. Gambling is trying to beat someone else out of what they have without having to compensate them for it with honest labor. “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread” (Genesis 3:19). “Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth” (Ephesians 4:28).
A lottery is sinful because it violates the principle of stewardship. “Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful” (I Corinthians 4:2). God has entrusted us with our material possessions. They are not to be squandered and misused on our own lusts. They are to be used to His glory. When a person takes that which should be used in support of his family and “throws it to the wind” on some get-rich-quick scheme, he is not providing for his own (I Timothy 5:8).