The Gemara Sanhedrin 24b discusses why someone who gambles is invalid as a witness. Rami Bar Chama posits it is because the loser in the gamble didn't fully accept to give away his money. When he loses the winner is in effect stealing the loser's money. Most hold that this is only considered stealing on a rabbinic level, because on the biblical level the deal is binding. However, Rav Sheshet holds that someone who gambles is only invalid if he doesn't have another profession because in that case he's not involved with something productive for society. Seemingly, Rav Sheshet holds that occasionally gambling is permitted. Based on other gemara's several rishonim limit this leniency. The halacha codified by the Rama to be lenient is only if the money was placed on the table in advance so that they made an acquisition to the winner beforehand. Also, it is only permitted if the game is one that involves no skill and everyone going in knows that and willing gives up their money. If it involves skill someone involved thinks he's going to win and when he loses doesn't willingly give up the money. Therefore, according to Ashkenazim, some would permit slot machines. However, betting on poker and fantasy sports are certainly forbidden.
- For Sephardim it is forbidden to buy a ticket in the Israeli lottery. For Ashkenazim it is permitted.
- A lottery to win a Sefer Torah, where everyone who joins the lottery knowingly grants the portion of the Sefer Torah that he should get to whomever wins, is permitted even for Sephardim.
- Yabia Omer CM 7:6 quotes Sama 370:3 and Shach 207:18 as holding that it is biblical stealing. On the other hand, he cites Rashi Rosh Hashana 22a, Ran Sanhedrin 24b, Mordechai (Bava Kama n. 46), Bach 207, and Kesot 207:1 as holding that it is only rabbinic stealing.
- This is plain explanation of the Rama. However, the Bach CM 34:26 holds that even according to Rav Sheshet it is forbidden, it is just that the gambler isn't invalidated for testimony unless he doesn't have another profession. Yabia Omer CM 7:6:1 quotes that Ran Sanhedrin 26b, Radvaz (1:359, Leshonot Harambam 73), and Gra end of CM 203 agree with the Bach.
- Tosfot Sanhedrin 25a s.v. kol
- Rashi Sanhedrin 24b s.v. kol
- Halachically Speaking
- Yabia Omer CM 7:6 in disagreement with disagreeing with Yaskil Avdi YD 8:5:3
- Halachically Speaking
- Yabia Omer CM 7:6 quoting the Pri Haaretz 2:15, Birkei Yosef YD 270:3, Zera Avraham YD 6, and Rav Poalim YD 30.