Gambling related problems: An international repository

They ask thee concerning wine and the game of hazard (gambling). Say: ‘In both there is great sin and also some advantages for men; but their sin is greater than their advantage.’ (Al Quran 2:220)Please make well referenced contributions in the comment section to make it an international repository, to demonstrate the truth of this verse of the Holy Quran.I have put here an article that in its earlier form, was published in Journal of the Islamic Medical Association of North America:

http://jima.imana.org/

gambling

Gambling: A Correlation between the Holy Quran and Science

Written and collected by Zia H Shah MD, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times

Abstract

There is increasing awareness in the medical community about the prob­lems caused by gambling. Similarities between gambling and drug addictions also are being recognized. The Glorious Quran has informed us about the similarities of the harmful effects of gambling and alcohol. Two verses in the Holy Quran warn about the effects of gambling and contain warnings about alcohol. Though there are minor beneficial effects of gambling, the harmful consequences far outweigh these. Pathologic gambling is an addiction characterized by an irresistible de­sire to gamble frequently with larger amounts of money in spite of repeated losses and mounting debts. The normal social obligations frequently are ignored, and the repeated efforts to stop gambling are not successful. The prevalence of pathologic gambling varies between 2 to 3% in the general population and is increasing with the legalization of gambling and the increasing availability of gambling machines to younger people. There is evidence that gambling is a factor in crime. Counseling is being used as therapy for pathologic gamblers, but this is only a partial solution to the problem. Unless the practice is banned, as is implied by the Quranic verses, the problems associated with gambling are likely to continue.

Key words: Gambling, alcohol, addiction, Islam, Quran, crime.

Discussion

John Daly the number II golf player in USA, in the first decade of 21st century, says he has lost between $50 million and $60 million during 12 years of heavy gambling, and that it has become a problem that could “flat-out ruin him” if he doesn’t bring it under control.

The two-time major champion wrote that he has spent the last 10 years paying off gambling debts with his sponsorship income, hustling appearance money and “running myself ragged doing corporate outings instead of spending time with my family and working on my game.”

“Hour after hour, the blackjack cards flipped past, and still she played. Friday afternoon blurred into Saturday. Through the ringing of slot machines and chatter­ing of coins dropping into tin trays, Catherine Avina heard her name paged. ‘Are you coming home tonight?’ It was her 21-year-old son, Joaquin, on the phone. ‘Probably not,’ she answered. Avina didn’t go to Mystic Lake Casino in Prior Lake, Minn., as much as she escaped to it. That weekend in May 1994, the de­pressed 48-year-old mother of three was escaping the worst news yet she was in danger of being fired after al­most 11 years as an assistant state attor­ney general. On Monday – her fourth straight day at the casino – she dragged herself back to her St. Paul home, broke and more depressed than ever. Two days later, Joaquin confronted his mother about her gambling, and they argued. The next morning, when she didn’t come out of her bedroom, he peeked in. Two empty bottles of antidepressants and a suicide note were near her body. Later the family found debts of more than $7000, and Avina was still making payments for gambling-ad­diction therapy received a year earlier.”[1]

While the details of the story may belong to Catherine Avina, the biography is that of many a gambler. The prob­lems caused by gambling are numerous and pervasive. The Holy Quran drew our attention to the deleterious results of gam­bling 1,400 years ago, at a time when scientific inquiry was absent and human wisdom nebulous. The Holy Quran says in Sura Al-Baqarah in verse number 220:

They ask thee concerning wine and games of chance. Say, ‘In both there is great sin and harm and also some advantages for men; but their sin and harm are greater than their advantage,’ And they ask thee what they should spend. Say, ‘Spend what you can spare.’ Thus does Allah makes His commandments clear to you that you may reflect.

Again in Sura Al-Ma’idah, in verses 91 and 92 it is said: