Q. 1. What does the Catholic Church teach regarding gambling? Is it allowed?
A. 1. In simple words, the Catholic Church teaches that gambling may or may not be sinful.
For example, if you have so much money that you would not miss $20.00 if you gambled it, then you are not sinning.
But if you go out and spend $20.00 on Bingo, knowing that this money shall deprive your family of its basic necessities of life such as food, clothing, rent payment, etc... then you are committing a sin, a mortal sin in some cases. For this reason, many Bishops no longer allow the Church to operate Bingos in their Diocese.
Parents who were spending money on games of chance such as Bingo were the ones who were on welfare, who were using the Food Bank, who were going to the Salvation Army for additional assistance, who were begging from the Church, these same families having their children use the free school lunch program. It had become obvious that their gambling created hardship on their family, especially the children, over and above requiring local parishes and volunteer organization to manage programs that met the needs of the poor (the gamblers).
On the matter of gambling, the Catechism of the Catholic Church states:
"Games of chance (card games, etc.) or wagers are not in themselves contrary to justice. They become morally unacceptable when they deprive someone of what is necessary to provide for his needs and those of others. The passion for gambling risks becoming an enslavement. Unfair wagers and cheating at games constitute grave matter, unless the damage inflicted is so slight that the one who suffers it cannot reasonably consider it significant." [C.C.C. # 2413]