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Sukhmandir Khalsa

Is It OK to Play the Lottery?

By April 2, 2013

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What does Gurbani, the Sikh scripture and Gurmat, the Sikhism code of conduct or Reht Maryada advise Sikhs about gambling? Does fundraising count as gambling. Is it OK to buy a state lottery ticket to fund public schools, or enter a raffle to sponsor a charitable organization, church or gurdwara?

I think we have to consider the motive for participating in a lottery or raffle, take a close look at whether a budget is adhered to, and consider whether a compulsive desire to play is involved. When making a decision it's important to differentiate between gambling, entertainment, and fund-raising.

These are my thoughts. What are yours? Do you think buying lottery tickets is gambling? Does it matter? Is there a better choice? Tell us what you think.
Gambling With Lottery Numbers

Lottery Numbers
Photo [David Gould / Getty Images]

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April 8, 2010 at 7:41 pm
(1) Connie G. says:

For some people buying lottery tickets is entertainment – for others, it is an addiction. I think the trick is to know what your limits are. Anything that becomes harmful is to be avoided.

April 8, 2010 at 9:33 pm
(2) Barb Rolek says:

I agree with comment #1. I don’t do either — gamble or play the lottery. Not necessarily because I am fundamentally against it, but because I see it as a no-win situation or hardly-ever-win situation. I prefer to put my money to better use — either to feather my own nest or to help someone else out. Just my two cents (which I’m not betting, by the way).

April 8, 2010 at 10:20 pm
(3) Kallie says:

I buy a lottery ticket about twice a year. I look at it as a voluntary contribution to the schools – and also as buying one, two-minute long fantasy about all of the good works I would do with my millions!

As long as you don’t make a habit of buying tickets and you realize the overwhelming likelihood that you won’t win, I don’t think there’s any harm in it.

April 8, 2010 at 10:27 pm
(4) Nessa says:

I think if it’s part of your budget and you consider it just entertainment, that’s one thing. But too many people do think they are going to win and spend money they shouldn’t in the hopes of millions.

I do have a relative who actually won – $5.1 million. But it’s rare.

April 9, 2010 at 3:51 am
(5) Mai Harinder Kaur says:

Does ANYBODY really buy lottery tickets not hoping they have a winner?

April 9, 2010 at 12:08 pm
(6) Jennifer says:

I sell lottery tickets. It is gambling, pure and simple. The people (including myself) are hoping for something for nothing.

The money you spend on lottery goes to me, the retailer (about 7%), the private company contracted to run the game for the state, the state and to pay winning tickets. So, although the money is not wasted, it doesn’t all go to the parks and schools.

We call the lottery the “poor man’s tax” because poor people play it disproportionately more than rich people. Do they budget for it? No. They may not have enough money for their bills, but that’s ok, because the next one will surely be a winner.

Do people ever benefit from winning? We had a scratch ticket winner in our store – $40,000! in January, 2010. After taxes he received a check for $28,000. He still plays the lottery. “Wasn’t once enough?” you think. I guess not.

April 9, 2010 at 1:37 pm
(7) Sukhmandir Kaur says:

I don’t think I’ve ever purchased a ticket but have probably scratched one off by request of someone hoping I’d be good luck (silly) I certainly had no hope or expectation of winning, odds are against it, and I’m a realist. My sister however actually won $100 with her first ticket on the first day of the CA lottery. (Didn’t change my outlook I figure lottery seeded the first tickets released with winners to get people to buy) I’ve often wondered if over the years she bought 100 more tickets and canceled her winnings (Don’t think so). That’s what a lot of people do if they win they just buy more tickets. To me that’s not winning. You only win if you walk away. Jen,
so So true Thanks. Apparently though most people never win at all, there are people who have one more than once. Winning is what makes it addicting. I wonder how many already wealthy people bother with lotteries?

April 2, 2013 at 6:32 pm
(8) caite@a lovely shore breeze says:

I think of a lottery ticket like going to a movie. for my dollar or two, i get to dream about what I would do if I won.

April 2, 2013 at 10:42 pm
(9) Amritpal singh says:

What about buying stocks to make quick money ?

April 3, 2013 at 3:29 am
(10) LifeRamblings says:

I don’t spend money on lottery tickets and I never think of buying one either because the chances of winning are very slim that I feel it is a waste of money and time to even try for the most part.

April 3, 2013 at 8:05 am
(11) Sue St Clair says:

I play about 20 bux worth per month. Not sure about other places but here in Canada the proceeds go to fund charities so I don’t mind losing and occasionally I win small prizes. :)

April 3, 2013 at 10:36 am
(12) aquariann says:

As long as it’s not my money being lost, I don’t have anything against gambling. ;D

April 3, 2013 at 12:24 pm
(13) ❤ Julie Maloney ❤ (@Momspective) says:

I don’t know enough about your culture to say but I do know it’s gambling. My stepfather had a gambling addiction and that was part of it.

April 3, 2013 at 5:04 pm
(14) imaddy says:

I don’t buy lottery tickets. I would rather use my money elsewhere. But if people are not paying their bills and spending it on lottery tickets then I think that is an addiction.

April 5, 2013 at 1:07 am
(15) Gattina says:

I wouldn’t consider playing lottery as a gambling thing ! Most of the people just do it in the hope to win a little bit and some employees of a company play all together for fun. I never played, I am convinced that I will never win, as I never won anything not even a Teddy Bear on a fancy fair.
Mr. G played once a week but since 15 years gave it up too. At least he won back sometimes the ticket price !

August 16, 2013 at 3:41 pm
(16) Wayne Mardis says:

winthelotteryfast.com promotes the Ken Silver Silver Lotto system. You will gain access to a successful lottery system and a tremendous amount of lottery information. The Silver Lotto system has been around since 1991 and has helped many people be successful in the lottery of their choice.

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