Is gambling considered righteous or is it a sin?

Are Kshatriyas allowed to gamble?

Do Kshatriyas have accept a gambling invitation compulsarily? (The Mahabaratha answer seems to say so)

Is addiction to gambling righteous?

Who are all the characters from different Hindu stories that gambled?

Please quote different scriptures.

I already asked a question on gambling in Mahabharata, but this is for all other scriptures and Hinduism in general.

  • 2
    Addictions don't have scriptural sanction.
    – user1195
    Commented Oct 11, 2017 at 5:02
  • @moonstar2001 I've been hearing Yudistara gambled cos it was the righteous thing to do (dharma). I just want to know about scriptures that say something about gambling. Like it will lead you to doom or you should not decline an offer to gamble.
    – Notty
    Commented Oct 11, 2017 at 5:29
  • 1
    it is righteous in terms of sportsmanship, camaraderie etc. It is also righteous to the xtent that he was honoring krishna's advice to treat all as he would treat krishna and to not deny anyone just as he wouldnt deny krishna. krishna advised him so to expiate the bloodshed caused during rajasuya. Scriptures do not advocate vices.
    – user1195
    Commented Oct 11, 2017 at 6:17
  • @moonstar2001 Where does Krishna gave this advice to Yudhishthira? Somewhere in the Sabha Parva? Commented Oct 11, 2017 at 6:26
  • hinduism.stackexchange.com/questions/21457/…
    – Notty
    Commented Oct 11, 2017 at 9:47

3 Answers 3


It is described in Rigveda Mandala 10, Sukta 34. You can read HYMN XXXIV. Dice, Etc.

Quoting couple of verses that show the adverse effects of gambling and advice not to gamble.

जाया तप्यते कितवस्य हीना माता पुत्रस्य चरतः क्व स्वित्।
ऋणावा बिभ्यद्धनमिच्छमानोऽन्येषामस्तमुप नक्तमेति॥ १०.०३४.१०

10 The gambler's wife is left forlorn and wretched: the mother mourns the son who wanders homeless.

अक्षैर्मा दीव्यः कृषिमित्कृषस्व वित्ते रमस्व बहु मन्यमानः।
तत्र गावः कितव तत्र जाया तन्मे वि चष्टे सवितायमर्यः॥ १०.०३४.१३

13 Play not with dice: no, cultivate thy corn-land. Enjoy the gain, and deem that wealth sufficient. There are thy cattle there thy wife, O gambler. So this good Savitar himself hath told me.


Gambling is a vice. It is considered as a sin.

As far as a Kshatriya king and gambling is concerned, he should avoid it carefully as one of the vices.

MS 7.45. Let him carefully shun the ten vices, springing from love of pleasure, and the eight, proceeding from wrath, which (all) end in misery.

in the above verse, "He" refers to a King. Now, the ten vices which are mentioned in the following verse, includes among them, gambling.

MS 7.47. Hunting, gambling, sleeping by day, censoriousness, (excess with) women, drunkenness, (an inordinate love for) dancing, singing, and music, and useless travel are the tenfold set (of vices) springing from love of pleasure.

Gambling and betting are criminal offences too and the King should punish the offenders just like he punishes the thieves.

MS 9.221. Gambling and betting let the king exclude from his realm; those two vices cause the destruction of the kingdoms of princes.

MS 9.222. Gambling and betting amount to open theft; the king shall always exert himself in suppressing both (of them).

MS 9.224. Let the king corporally punish all those (persons) who either gamble and bet or afford (an opportunity for it), likewise Sudras who assume the distinctive marks of twice-born (men).

MS 9.228. On every man who addicts himself to that (vice) either secretly or openly, the king may inflict punishment according to his discretion

The only place where i found gambling being allowed is in the following verse:

In the middle of the assembly hall he should erect a gaming table, sprinkle it with water, and place there dice–– they should be in pairs, of Vibhitaka seeds,* and in adequate numbers. Aryas who are upright and honest may gamble there. Weapons contests, dancing, singing, and concerts should not be held without the presence of royal officials.

AD 2.26.8

But, every where else it is mentioned as immoral, a sin, not recommended etc.

Next, sins that make people sordid: gambling; sorcery; living by gleaning on the part of a man who has not established the sacred fires; begging alms food by a man who has returned home from his teacher’s, as well as his residing at his teacher’s house for more than four months;

BD 2.2.24

As an interesting side note it can be mentioned that, as per Manu Smriti, gambling arises from the third ( and the lowest) state of Rajas ( with Sattva= Goodness, Rajas= Passion or activity, Tamas=Inertia , ignorance- the Trigunas).

MS 12.45. Ghallas, Mallas, Natas, men who subsist by despicable occupations and those addicted to gambling and drinking (form) the lowest (order of) conditions caused by Activity.

Abbreviations used:

MS= The Manu Smriti.
AD= Apasthambha Dharmasutras.
BD= Baudhayana Dharmasutras.

  • 2) Kings can't decline a gambling challenge or request according to Dharma. `
    – Notty
    Commented Oct 11, 2017 at 9:44
  • Look here hinduism.stackexchange.com/questions/21457/…
    – Notty
    Commented Oct 11, 2017 at 9:45
  • Gambling itself is against Dharma. For a King too its to be avoided. So initiating a gambling session is Adharma. Now, how should one respond once a gambling session has been initiated is not my concern here. And i can't be wrong as i am quoting from the most authoritative scriptures after the Vedas. @Wally
    – Rickross
    Commented Oct 11, 2017 at 11:38
  • I guess the problem here is that authors of these scriptures have diferrent opinions on gambling. In Mahabaratha it seems to be Dharma to accept a gambling request.
    – Notty
    Commented Oct 12, 2017 at 2:19
  • @Notty after gambling even Yudhishthira admitted that gambling is sin Commented May 29, 2021 at 13:44

Gambling is considered the supreme among cheaters. Hence, if "cheating" is a vice, then "gambling" could be highest among the vices.

द्यूतं छलयतामस्मि ...
BG 10.36 - Among cheaters I am Gambling ...

Same is echoed during Sabha Parva, during Draupadi's insult:

Vidura said,--"Gambling is the root of dissensions. It bringeth about disunion. Its consequences are frightful. ... This fascination (of gambling) that thou has well-devised only leadeth to dire results.

And Vikarna ... the prince said -- 'Ye kings of the earth, ye Kauravas, whether ye answer this question or not, I will say what I regard as just and proper. Ye foremost of men, it hath been said that hunting, drinking, gambling, and too much enjoyment of women, are the four vices of kings.

Gamgling = unprescribed way of taking chances

In old times, gambling used to happen with the games of dices like "dyut". Apart from Yudhishtira, another example is of "Nala-Damayanti", who faced dire consequences of gambling by losing kingdom.
Though it's extended in the similar forms today as well, it's not limited to it.

  • Some people consider short term investment in share market also as gambling.
  • The "Millionaire" games are soft forms of gambling, where the person goes through the mentality of taking chances, though without loosing anything.
  • 2) Kings can't decline a gambling challenge or request according to Dharma. Look at the Mahabaratha gamebling question. hinduism.stackexchange.com/questions/21457/…
    – Notty
    Commented Oct 11, 2017 at 9:49
  • @Wally, I have answered that Qn. As I mentioned there, you have to consider "Dharma = tendency" (broader meaning) and not "Dharma = righteousness" (social meaning).
    – iammilind
    Commented Oct 11, 2017 at 10:05
  • The quotes from Mahabaratha seem to point that it is not tendency. Bhima is about cut hands of Yudhistara when Arjuna stops him saying it's Kyashtiya Dharma so he did it.
    – Notty
    Commented Nov 26, 2017 at 8:43

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