Games and schemes of chance are not in themselves contrary to justice. The Catholic Church recognizes, however, that a variety of social ills can become associated with any form of gambling.
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, forms of gambling “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.” (2413)
In stating our opposition to casino gambling initiatives, we are often questioned about our Church’s involvement in charitable bingo. It is a fact that many of our institutions rely upon this form of fundraising. We would prefer, and in fact have encouraged, our institutions, where feasible, to raise needed funds through alternate forms of fundraising because there are a variety of social ills that can also become associated with charitable bingo.
At the same time, however, charitable bingo benefits the community and involves community members in ways distinct from casino gambling. Bingo games in Ohio use 100% of the net proceeds for charitable purposes. These charities are churches, schools, fraternal groups, youth athletic programs, volunteer fire departments, senior citizen clubs, neighborhood organizations, and various service programs. Thousands of volunteers donate their time to staff such games. Communities have been generally supportive of this form of “lower stakes” charitable fundraising.
Adapted from statements by the Catholic Bishops of Ohio 2006, 2008