Many moons ago (actually several decades), as a lad I was at campmeeting, and with nothing better to do, I went into the bookstore. On the shelf was a thin book attempting to address various “hot” topics including lotteries.
The author (I forget his name) argued in favour of the official SDA position (no surprise - he was on church payroll) and then addressed some of the objections.
One objection to the gambling prohibition was “but I only buy lottery tickets with my spare money”. The author’s response was “when the ‘work’ remains unfinished, does any believer really have any spare money?” This utter nonsense didn’t set off alarm bells in my adolescent mind, but the memory was filed away for retrieval a couple decades later.
On one hand there is a certain logic to it - if one truly believes that we are in the “last days”, that the SDA church is the “remnant church”, that salvation is dependent upon correctly believing and observing certain teachings like the “sabbath”, that spreading the SDA message not only determines the timing of the second coming, but affects the eternal destinies of those with whom we are in contact, then not only should ever spare moment and every spare dime be devoted to the “work”, but those engaged in the “work” (if they truly believe it and aren’t clergymen for the sake of having a paying career), ought to live on subsistence wages - so that every spare dime beyond what they absolutely “need”, is devoted to the “work”. As an aside, I wonder if the author of this tome donated his royalties to the “work”, or if maybe he used “spare” money for a vacation, a dinner, or tickets to a ball game.
Anyway, I’ll be spending $3 (Canadian) for a Wednesday night’s lottery draw - since I never win, it’s essentially a donation to the general revenues of the province of Quebec, but maybe I’ll win - I have a 1-in-14 million chance (which is better chances than the “sunday law” being enacted). I think I’ll also put down a couple hours work worth on the Canadiens de Montreal to win the Stanley Cup. Since our team isn’t great, we’re currently at +25000, and a $1000 wager will yield a quarter million. Or maybe I’ll bet on NCAA college football. Hockey (played mostly by secular Canadian, European and north US boys) doesn’t have much of a tradition of praying for goals and victory, so I doubt God takes much of an interest in hockey. But with all the praying going on before football games and after touchdowns, certainly achieving correct outcomes of the football games are a major priority for the deities, and therefore maybe betting on college football is just another way of doing the Lord’s work - especially if we bet on God-fearing schools like Texas, Alabama or Georgia, and not those secular left-coast teams like Washington, UCLA or Stanford.
But no worries, if I win back any of my spare money, I won’t sully the conference coffers with any ill-gotten gains.