The Affair Between Religion and Gambling: Hinduism


Posted: August 26, 2015

Updated: December 18, 2023

In order to understand Hinduism’s stance on gambling, we must first look at the belief system as a whole.

Hinduism is one of the most ancient beliefs in the world. According to Kauai’s Hindu Monastery, the religion has no human founder and no starting date, because it “precedes recorded history.” No mobile betting or luxury casinos in the world before man, right? The Hindu faith is built upon one very important concept: our relationship to spiritual issues, like our souls, the cosmos and God define our approach to what kind of people we will be in our everyday lives.

• Karma is taken into account
• Divali: gambling is allowed
• There is a place and time for gambling

What about deities? Well, as Kauai’s Hindu Monastery suggests, members of the Hindu faith believe in one omnipresent “Supreme Being,” who is “both immanent and transcendent, both Creator and Unmanifest Reality.” There are four Vedas, or ancient scriptures and Hinduism preaches that there is a never-ending circle of “creation, preservation and dissolution.” Every soul gets reborn, which is such a hopeful and wonderful concept, isn’t it? Our souls evolve through many births, until all of our karmas are resolved and then we attain moksha, the “liberation from the cycle of rebirth.” Every soul gets liberated. Kauai’s Hindu Monastery also specifies that Hinduism is quite tolerant towards other religions: “no religion teaches the only way to salvation above all others,” and that “all genuine paths are facets of God’s Light, deserving tolerance and understanding.”

What goes around…

Karma. As The Berkeley Center states, “Karma is the Hindu view of causality in which good deeds, words, thoughts, and commands lead to beneficial effects for a person, and bad deeds, words, thoughts, and commands lead to harmful effects.” These effects may, or may not occur in this lifetime, because a soul can be affected by the good or bad deeds of a previous lifetime. So, if you have been winning the jackpot constantly on your mobile casino gambling portal, chances are, you were similar to Mother Theresa in another life. It is also important to note that good karma will lead for you to be reincarnated as a human in your next life, while bad karma will have you end up as an animal or bug. So don’t cheat when you’re playing cards with your friends!!

Hindus also believe, that you can only communicate with divine creatures through rituals, temple worship, personal holy actions and sacraments, because they live in invisible worlds. Kauai’s Hindu Monastery states that a satguru, or “enlightened master” is needed to know the Transcendent Absolute, among other things. Furthermore, “personal discipline, good conduct, purification, pilgrimage, self-inquiry, meditation and surrender in God” are also needed to achieve such heightened knowledge. The fact that all life is sacred and to be loved is also a central part of the religion. People should practise ahimsa, which means that we shouldn’t injury anyone in thought, deed and words.

Religion and Gambling in Hinduism is… complicated

If you thought that the answer here will b a strict “yes” or “no” to gambling, think again. If we look at it from the viewpoint of karma, it seems like we could do some gambling if it doesn’t have a negative effect. Then comes the question: what is the definition of a negative effect? Hindu practices usually prohibit gambling and gambling for fun is frowned upon. However, according to The Life of Hinduism, in North India during the festivities of Divali, gambling is allowed. Even children participate in card games and are given some money. The concept is: it is better that the parents see when their child is gambling. We wish: imagine our moms handing us mobile casino memberships.

By gambling for a couple of weeks during the festivities, as The Life of Hinduism suggests, children will understand “that there is a time and place even for gambling, but it must have certain limitations.” So, the key lies in a clever way to have fun, without any excess. Less strict believers say that one should look at a gamblers motivations and what the end result of his or her practices are. It is through those two things that one can determine whether gambling is wrong of right. So, there you have it: a turmoil of opposing views and compromise.

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