Gambling 2019-11-14T13:30:37+00:00


Gambling has had many distinct meanings depending upon the cultural and historical context where it is used. Additionally:

  • The outcome of the wager is typically evident within a Brief Time Period
  • The Principal intent of this bet is to win additional money or material goods

This definition of gambling usually excludes:

  • Emotional or physical risk-taking where what is being risked isn’t money or material goods (e.g., skydiving, running for office, asking someone for a date, etc.,. )
  • Purchasing insurance, as the primary purpose of this purchase is to safeguard against loss, rather than to collect or acquire
  • All kinds of long term investment (stock market, real estate) with positive expected returns and economic utility
  • Beginning a new business, as time and effort are also being wagered and the outcome Isn’t established in a short time period
  • Situations in which the possibility of winning additional money or material goods is a secondary or incidental reason for your wager/purchase (e.g., Purchasing a raffle ticket to support a worthy cause)

Gambling varies in four dimensions:

1. What’s being wagered (money or material goods).

2. Just how much is being wagered?

3. The predictability of the event. For several things such as lotteries, slot machines, and bingo, the results are unpredictable and random. No skill or system will provide you a benefit. For other items such as sports betting and horse racing, then there’s some predictability to the result. In this circumstance, greater understanding and ability give someone an advantage over other bettors.

4. The ‘expected value’, positive or negative mathematical expectation.


Legal Aspects

Because religious authorities generally frown on gambling to some extent, and because of various perceived social costs, most legal jurisdictions censure gambling to some degree. Islamic nations officially prohibit gambling; many other countries regulate it. Specifically, in almost all circumstances – and perhaps all cases – the law doesn’t comprehend wagers as contracts, and views any consequent losses as debts of honor, unenforceable by legal procedure. Thus organized crime often takes over the enforcement of large gambling debts, sometimes using violent procedures.

Because contracts of insurance have many features in common with wagers, legislation generally makes a distinction, typically defining any agreement in which either of those parties has an interest in the outcome bet upon. Thus a bet on whether one’s house will burn down becomes a contract of insurance, as one has an independent interest in the security of someone’s home.

Additionally, many jurisdictions, local in addition to national, either ban or heavily control (license) gambling. Such involvement frequently brings the activity under even more severe moral censure and leads to calls for increased regulation. Conversely, the close involvement of governments (through regulation and gambling taxation) has led to a close connection between many governments and gambling institutions, where legal gambling offers much government revenue.

There’s generally legislation requesting that the odds in gambling machines are fair (i.e. statistically random), to prevent manufacturers from making some high-payoff results impossible (since these have an extremely low likelihood, this could very easily pass unnoticed).

Psychological Aspects

Though many participate in gambling as a kind of recreation or even as a means to gain an income, gambling, like any behavior which involves variation in brain chemistry, can become a psychologically addictive and harmful behavior in some individuals. On account of this negative connotation of the term “gambling”, casinos and race tracks often use the euphemism “gaming” to describe the recreational gambling activities they offer.

The Russian author Dostoevsky is depicted in his short story The Gambler the psychological implications of gambling and how gambling can affect gamblers. He also associates gambling and the notion of “getting rich quickly”, suggesting that Russians may have a specific affinity for gambling.

Help for Addictive Gamblers

Many organizations exist to help individuals with a gambling addiction. They include Gamblers Anonymous and Gambler’s Help (Australia).

Kinds of gambling

Casino games

“Beatable” casino games

With appropriate strategy, an intelligent player can create a positive mathematical expectation.

  • Poker (also called a game of skill)
  • Blackjack — with card counting
  • Video poker with all the appropriate paytable or progressive jackpot
  • Pai Gow Poker and Tiles — player-dealt
  • Sports gambling
  • Horse racing (parimutuel)
  • Slot machines — only linked, multi-player jackpots whose prizes have reached a specific stage

“Unbeatable” casino games

These have a negative expectation, players as a group will lose in the long term (unless they cheat).

  • Baccarat
  • Craps
  • Roulette (unless physical prediction is used)
  • Keno
  • Casino War
  • Faro (All but extinct)
  • Pachinko
  • Sic Bo
  • Let It Ride
  • 3-card Poker
  • 4-card poker
  • Red Dog
  • Pyramid Poker
  • Caribbean Stud Poker
  • Spanish 21 — without counting

Non-casino gambling games

  • Lottery
  • Mahjong
  • Fan-Tan
  • Dice-based
  • Backgammon
  • Liar’s dice
  • Passe-dix
  • Hazard
  • Threes
  • Card matches
  • Liar’s poker
  • Bridge
  • Basset
  • Lansquenet
  • Piquet
  • Place
  • Coin-tossing
  • Head and TailTwo-up (Australian casinos offer versions of two-up)
  • Confidence tricks
  • Three card Monte
  • The game match
  • Carnival Games
  • The Razzle
  • Hanky Pank
  • Penny Falls
  • Six-Cat
  • The Swinger
  • The Push-up Bottle
  • The Nail Joint
  • Con Games (in bars)
  • Put and Take
  • The Smack
  • The Drunken Mitt

Fixed-odds gambling

Fixed-odds gambling and Parimutuel betting frequently occur at or about the following types of events:

  • Horse racing (see below)
  • Greyhound racing
  • Jai Alai
  • Golf
  • Tennis
  • Cricket
  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Ice hockey
  • Rugby (League and Union)
  • Snooker
  • Motor Racing
  • Boxing
  • Darts

Also, many bookmakers offer fixed odds on several non-sports associated results, as an instance, the direction and extent of movement of various financial indices, whether snow will fall on Christmas Day in a given area, the winner of television competitions like Big Brother, etc.. Interactive prediction markets also offer to trade on these results, with “shares” of results trading on an open marketplace.

See Sports betting below.

Gambling on horse races

Among the most widespread forms of gambling involves betting on horse races, most commonly on races between thoroughbreds or between Standardbreds.

In Canada and America, the most Frequent Kinds of bet on horse races include:

  • Grow — to succeed the bettor must pick the horse that wins the race.
  • Position — that the bettor must pick a horse which finishes either first or second.
  • Prove — that the bettor must pick a horse which finishes first, second or third party.
  • Exacta, perfecta, or exactor — that the bettor must pick the two horses which finish first and second and specify which will finish first
  • Quinella or quiniela — that the bettor must pick the two horses which finish first and second, but need not specify which will finish first.
  • Trifecta or triactor — that the bettor must pick the three horses that finish first, second, and third and specify which will finish first, second and third.
  • Superfecta — that the bettor must pick the four horses which finish first, second, third and fourth, and specify which will finish first, second, fourth and third.
  • Dual — the bettor must pick the winners of two consecutive races; many race tracks in Canada and the United States take double wagers on the first two races on the program (the daily double) and on the previous two (the late double).
  • Triple — that the bettor must pick the winners of three consecutive races; several tracks offer rolling triples or even triples on any three successive races on the program. Also called pick three.

A box consists of a multiple wagers in which punters bet all possible combinations of a group of horses in the same race. A key involves making multiple wagers with a single horse in one race bet in one position with all possible combinations of other selected horses in one race.

Here the bettor picks a horse and bets it will win and makes an additional bet that it will show, so that theoretically if the horse runs third it will at least pay back the two bets. The Canadian and American equivalent is the bet across (short for across the board): the bettor bets equal sums on the horse to win, place, and show.

In Canada and the United States punters make exotic wagers on horses running on the same track on the same program. This bet also includes subsidiary wagers on smaller combinations of the chosen horses; for instance, if only two of the four horses win, the bettor still collects for their double.

A parlay (US) or the accumulator (UK) consists of a series of bets in which bettors stake the winnings from one race to another in order until either the bettor loses or the series completes successfully.


Sports Betting

In Canada and the United States the most popular sports bets include:

  • Against the spread – the bettor wagers either that the favored team will win by a specified number of points or it will not. Giving the points involves betting the favorite, and taking the points means betting the underdog.
  • Against the odds – the most popular types of bets against odds comprise simple bets that a team will win and over-under (bets on the total points, runs, or goals scored by both teams). In making an over-under bet, the bettor wagers that the total will exceed or fall short of a total specified by the bookmaker.
  • Against a combination of odds and spread

A teaser is one type of parlay where the bettor can alter the point spreads on the two games in the bet.


A scratchcard is a small piece of card where an area has been covered by a substance that can not be viewed but can be scraped off. Under this area are concealed the items/pictures which need to be ‘found’ in order to triumph.

The generic scratchcard requires the player to match three of precisely the same prize amounts. If that is accomplished, they win that amount. Additional Scratchcards involve matching symbols, pictures or phrases.

Scratchcards are a really popular form of gambling due to their low price. On the other hand, the very low cost to buy a scratchcard is offset by the smaller prizes, compared to casino jackpots or lottery wins.

Other Kinds of betting

You could also bet with another person that a statement is either true or untrue or that a specified event will happen (a “back bet”) or will not happen (a “lay bet”) within a predetermined time. This occurs in particular when two people have opposing but strongly-held perspectives on truth or events. Not only do the parties hope to gain from the bet, but they place the bet also to demonstrate their certainty about the matter. Some methods of determining the issue at stake must exist.

Arbitrage betting

Arbitrage betting, deceptively advertised as no-risk or secure betting, is a special case of betting on events offered by betting websites which are not gambling but rather an unusual investment practice.

Staking systems

Plenty of people have formulated staking systems in an attempt to “beat the bookie”, but most still accept that no staking system can make an unprofitable system profitable over time. Widely-used systems comprise:

  • Fixed bets — a traditional system of staking the identical amount on each selection. This method suits conservative punters if the stake remains below 5% of the lender.
  • Fixed gains — that the stakes vary based on the odds to ensure the exact same profit from each winning selection.
    Due-column gambling — A variation on fixed profits betting in which the bettor sets a target profit and then calculates a bet size that will make this profit, adding any losses to the target. By means of example, to make a goal of $100 profit a bettor would wager $50 at odds of 2 to 1. If the next bet is also at odds of 2 to 1, the wager, therefore, becomes $75. This sort of wagering can prove ruinous in the long term.
  • Kelly (best) — that the punter needs to estimate fair odds (in the European/decimal format) and then calculate the stake using: Stake= (Odds/(Fair odds-1)) /(Odds-1) Many times used with a divider (most commonly 4 or 8) depending on your bankroll (for betting)
  • Martingale — A system based on staking enough each time to recoup losses from previous bet(s) until one wins. It’s normally employed to even-money stakes like red/black on roulette. The Martingale guarantees failure in the long term – it could only work if the bettor has an unlimited bankroll, the bookmaker has no limit on the size of bets and neither party ever dies. However, it can typically be used to gain a small win in the brief run, given a bankroll large enough to survive a series of five or six losses.

List of notable wagers

  • Pascal’s bet
  • St. Petersburg paradox
  • The wager in Around the World in Eighty Days
  • Wager between John Pierpoint Morgan and Hugh Cecil Lowther, 5th Earl of Lonsdale on whether a man could walk around the world and Stay unidentified
  • Wager between Julian Simon and Paul Ehrlich on commodity Rates
  • The Yearly Nenana Ice Classic, Once the inhabitants of Alaska, bet on Once the ice will break on the Tanana River.

Associated word usage

  • The English expression “I bet that xxxxx“, meaning “I believe it quite probable the xxxxx“, shouldn’t carry any suggestion of the speaker intending to gamble.
  • The English word hazard originated as Arabic az-zār or al-zār, which meant that a kind of dice game. Compare also the English word “dicey” meaning “risky”.
  • Scientists have dubbed certain random-number-based calculation algorithms the “Monte Carlo method”.
  • Even money, as a gambling term, describes a wagering proposition with even odds – in other words, even if a person loses a bet, one stands to eliminate the identical amount of cash, which the winner of this bet would win (less, of course, the vigorish or “juice”). The saying has come to have meaning in the wider English usage beyond actual gambling, however, as a means of describing an event whose occurrence is about as likely to occur rather than, as in “It’s even money it will rain today”. Compare 50 50.