from The Watchtower, 15 July 1989, p30
Is it appropriate for a Christian to buy lottery tickets if the proceeds go to a charity?
Some people have reasoned that being involved in a lottery is not wrong or bad because the cost of a ticket (chance) may be small, because those participating do so willingly, and because some of the proceeds may be used for a charitable purpose, such as helping the poor. How valid is such reasoning?
While some claim that buying a lottery ticket is simple, low-cost entertainment, there is no denying the greed factor. If a Christian felt any impulse to ‘take a chance’ in a lottery, he should think seriously about the greed on which the lottery is based. Ephesians 5:3 says that ‘greediness should not even be mentioned among us,’ much less given in to by a Christian.
Even if the cost of a lottery ticket would not significantly harm someone’s personal or family finances, that does not mean that others are not harmed. Why so? Because almost anyone buying a lottery ticket would like to win. From where would his prize money come? If his ticket cost ten pesos and the prize is a million pesos, that means that he takes the ticket money from a hundred thousand other people. Does that harmonize with God’s counsel against coveting others’ valuables? (Deuteronomy 5:21)
Moreover, his winning will probably be publicized, moving many to begin playing the lottery or buying more tickets, even if they cannot afford this.
If a Christian genuinely wants to help the poor, handicapped, or elderly, he certainly can do so directly or in a way that does not involve gambling.