Gambling is a process by which an individual bets on an object of value in an attempt to win another object which has a higher value. It is a worldwide phenomenon which ranges from casinos to online gambling. People have mixed views on gambling. Some view it as official revenue which comes into the country whereas a lot of people see it as an unnecessary expenditure. In the stock market, although people keep an eye on stocks and keep on trading, it is not considered gambling since there is always some chance of legal gain. The only similarity between investing and gambling is that both entail choice. One must decide the amount he is willing to gain or lose. The accepted amount for investing is 2% of total savings. Investing across different businesses reduces the risk of loss whereas in gambling one only bets on a single asset or commodity in the hope of winning. Gambling unlike investing is seen as a bad habit which only cuts into one’s expenses. It is a temporary solution to getting one out of poverty but later on can result in debt. In most countries, gambling is seen as a harmless activity. Scratch cards and lottery tickets are perceived as ways of winning a quick dollar. Studies show that people as young as ten years old can become addicted to gambling. People who gamble for fun know that their chance of losing is significantly higher than winning but that is why they bet a lower amount. There have been cases where gambling has become pathological. Research also shows that people who have gambling problems do not play for the fun of it. They play to forget their personal issues which have developed from certain incidents.


Origins of Gambling

Gambling dates back to the time of the ancient Greeks and has gone on since. Poker itself dates back to 3500 BC. In ancient times, a double six on two dice was considered lucky. In ancient civilizations, it was called the ‘throw of Aphrodite’. Most philosophers opposed gambling and tried to put a stop to it but in vain. Ancient Greeks and Romans would bet on animal fights. Checkers was called ‘tilia’ and in Rome it was called the game of twelve dice. The ancient Chinese lotto is similar to today’s lottery where a lucky number is chosen and a winner is announced. It was called the white pigeon ticket. Gambling was also popular in Buddhism and Judaism. References from the Bible show us that auctions also originated when the clothes of Christ were pawned off to the most promising payee. It was thought that these games would show answers to worldly questions and show the people an image of God. Over the years, the number of people who gamble has increase exponentially. The first factor is that due to liberalization laws, gambling has become easier. Skolnick says it is the change in government which has led to its increase since some governments are more liberal than others. People have also capitalized on gambling, making it easier for people to bet, ranging from private betting to casinos and lotteries. A lot of the ancient games required skill and strategy but today the games mainly entail those of luck. According to Freud in the 1960s, gambling was a mental disorder.

Gambling Regulations

In the United States, gambling is monitored at the state level as well as by the central government. In certain states, gambling is illegal and in others it is carefully monitored. The Congress came up with the Commerce Clause whereby gambling is highly regulated. This means that lottery tickets cannot be carted from one state to another, and sports-betting is banned except in certain exceptional cases. Every state has different gambling regulations that determine whether gambling is legal or not and if so how old one must be and what type of gambling is permitted. Age restrictions for casinos may exist due to various reasons and depend on state regulations. In Australia, gambling is not as regulated and many laws have loopholes. Many gambling games such as slots, poker and blackjack and casinos are legal. The Totalisator Agency Board regulates sports betting and there are 3000 official outlets where sports-betting activities can take place. Online gambling, too, is legal. In Australia, in 2001, the Interactive Gambling Act was passed to protect citizens from the hazards of online gambling. Real money provided online to gamble became punishable by law in Australia. In Asia, gambling is abundant in places like India, China and the Philippines. Although the governments try to scrutinize who is gambling and what type of gambling one indulges in, many illegal forms of it have arisen, which are hard to keep a track of.

Types of Gambling

There are many types of gambling. Some games include poker, blackjack, gin, rummy, spades and slots. There are three main categories of gambling games, divided into two sub categories each. They are Casino Games, Table Games and Online Games. The sub categories include online, sports betting, casinos, lotteries, special events and miscellaneous gambling games. Casinos can be classified into Type A and Type B. Type A casinos consist of those with slot machines and jackpot machines and run by other casinos. Type B casinos can offer up to three gaming tables along with the machines. With the advent of technology, online gambling is becoming a phenomenon no one can escape from. This includes gambling websites, or pay-and-win strategies which the developers employ in order to tempt people to gamble. People who do not wish to travel in order to gamble use these sites to pay via credit card and indulge in gambling. In online gambling a large amount of people can play such games and connect to a gambling community online. Card games are also popular in gambling. Each culture has adapted card games to its own rules but technically there are standardized sets of rules that apply. A single player card game is known as ‘solitaire’ or a patience game. Multiplayer card games like blackjack, poker and rummy put restrictions on the number of players that can play. In gambling, people employ what is called a ‘confidence trick’ where they cheat others after winning their trust. It entails three main stages, the approach, the build-up and the win. Dice games such as Backgammon, Bear, Beefie and Bunko are also popular casino games. Roulette also counts as one of the top played casino games.

Non Casino Gambling

Non Casino gambling is mainly gambling done outside casinos. This can entail sports betting, card games, dice games and private parties which have gambling games. It also includes online gambling where a customer sits at home, pays a fee and can gamble on online gambling sites. Poker is a popular game which can be played inside or outside a casino since it simply involves a deck of cards. Games like rummy, bluff, backgammon, and go fish only require a set of dice where people bet on a certain number and allot some amount of money to be won or lost. Card games involve some sort of skill or expertise and most times use a board. Trick taking games are games where each player bets on the value of a certain card dealt to him and using his expertise, tricks others into giving him the winning card. A popular version of this game is spades. Games like rummy or match making card games are those in which cards of a particular suit must be matched or won by a person before his adversary. The groups are called melds and one must win all cards of a certain group in order to win the game. Shedding card games are those in which the player must lose all his cards before the others. Games like Old maid fall into this category. Accumulating games are just the opposite, in which a player must win all the cards in order to be declared the victor. Dice games like bear, backgammon, and Balut are harmless party games and do not involve any money, or a very minor amount which the person can afford to lose. Non casino gaming generally does not lead to a gambling problem- only a sense of fair play and in some cases, minor trickery.


A bet can be defined as a situation where one can predict rightly or wrongly the outcome of a certain event. In gambling it generally means wagering some amount of money in which the victor takes home the spoils. The most popular form of this is sports-betting, which can either be done in person, like when one is attending the races, over the phone, where one consults ‘sportbooks’ and places his bet on a particular team during a specific event, or even online, when a person creates an account and bets on their team of choice electronically. There are many types of bets. A straight bet is one in which the odds are given and one places his wager on that particular team. A point spread bet is one where the person votes for two teams, one weaker than the other. In order for the person to win the bet, the winning team has to win by more than the point spread for the favorite team and less for the underdog team. The money line is the opposite of a point spread, in which the less favored team has to win by more points than the team on which more money is being bet. The total bet is one in which the person bets on the total value of points including overtime. The over and under is where the odds maker sets up a number of points and the person betting has to bet that both teams score a total number of points greater or smaller than the number set by him. Other types of bets are the parlay or if wager where the person bets on multiple games and the exotic bets where people bet on unlikely events which would happen during the game.

Staking Systems In Gambling

Staking plans in gambling require the bet maker, or the bettor, to have experience and be regimented in the betting process. They can be used to make a profit or a loss where the bettor either gains or loses money. A successful staking plan takes into account the losses, but these losses are minor and would be accumulated over a period of time. There is a plethora of staking plans one can choose from and make bets based on that particular plan. A serious bettor is one who bets an amount having a significant impact on his income and cannot lose too large an amount on the bet. There are three betting systems: The Progressive betting system, the 1-10 betting system and the flat betting system. The progressive system means that an individual places a certain amount and raises or lowers the stakes every time he wins or loses a bet. It has dire consequences in the long run where bets are placed up to 128 times the original amount in the case of a loss. The 1-10 unit system is a far safer option where one or ten units are bet in the case of a favorable outcome. A two unit bet is when the team has a seventy percent chance of losing. This system is based on probabilities and has been an issue of contention over a long time. A bettor employing this staking system should be disciplined and willing to lose money, or use another system with which he is more relaxed. The flat staking system is the one in which the bettor is at his most advantageous position. In this he risks the same amount of money as others and has an equal chance or winning or losing the bet. The conclusion of this bet is based on pure skill and dexterity of the bettor.

Psychological Aspect of Gambling

Gambling has many negative effects such as addiction, debt and poverty. Most of these are caused due to the psychology in which people feel the need to gamble. In a lot of cases, gambling is considered immoral since gambling addicts resort to acts of crime in order to continue and fuel their addiction. Some people also state that gambling is a way in which their problems are forgotten which is why they gamble. People who are lazy and do not want to find work find gambling is an easy way to win money and perceive it as harmless. Churches and other social groups see gambling like Bingo and lotteries as harmless but it can lead to an addiction as stated by many councils. Since the gambler knows that the odds are in the favor of the oddmaker he is mentally prepared to lose some money but then it culminates into a desire to win and he continues to gamble in the hopes of winning some money. A gambler who wins some money on a bet often feels that his chances of winning a larger bet will increase and he will continue to do so until he has won or lost all his money. Sometimes, the gambler may have either lost his job and needs to gamble in order to win money to live, or he would resort to other means of accumulating income. Studies show that 40% of gamblers suffer from depression and need treatment for the same. It leads to anxiety while the person waits to know the outcome of the bet. Gambling has also been known to cause severe panic attacks. Problem gambling has an effect on the individual’s personal life, as his family members may desert him.

Criticisms against Gambling

Gambling has both pros and cons, but the cons far outweigh the pros, be it for casino or non casino gambling. One major criticism of gambling is that the revenue generated by gamblers cuts into the incomes of the lower class who struggle to survive on a daily basis. Some people say that the false sense of security people get from winning a bet causes an addiction. The cuts of money that go into gambling eat into social and developmental aspects like bridges, buildings and social responsibility of the government. The property taxes become higher and it makes it easier for the gambler to get money by continuing to placing bets and indulging in illegal activities. An increase in gambling had been known to lead to an increase in crime. About 7% of problem gamblers are also criminals. It leads to not only personal financial loss but also governmental financial loss. Gambling is a habit which should be indulged in for fun. Casinos fuel a gambler’s addiction by making it legal to enter a casino and place bets. Sometimes even when a friendly bet among friends has been placed, it can sour relationships. Problem gamblers often have a history of broken families where they have been left by their spouses and suffer from clinical depression and have suicidal thoughts. Although there is a chance of gaining something bigger, an object which may have sentimental value to one person may be bet upon, which is not ethical. Problem gambling develops when people spend all their income to travel to gamble, or gamble online and lose a significant amount of money in the process.

Cultural Impact of Gambling

Gambling has existed since the ancient times and people have always resorted to trickery to try and win at gambling. Some people also play on their cultural integrity in order to win people’s trust and win bets. Casinos have spread from Nevada to Macau and many Asians also go to there to indulge in some fun and games. Since the Asian culture generally views gambling as harmless, they are willing to indulge in it once in a while when on holiday. People who live close to casinos tend to do it more often. Research has shown that Caucasians are generally better at gambling, which is why they have the confidence to do it. Asians are safe betters and have adopted this strategy since those times. Asians, on the other hand, have not been exposed to the world of gambling and are just learning the art, therefore gambling more cautiously. Most Asian gambling games depend on skill and not luck. They are based on games like Mahjong and Dice. Asians require some experience in gambling and like skill rather than luck based games. Sports-betting is large in most cultures, depending on the popular sports. In India, there is heavy betting on games like cricket and hockey. In America, professional football and baseball are also occasions for heavy gambling. Although gambling is dangerous it can be pursued as a hobby. Gambling has been portrayed in several books, movies, and television series which have glamorized the idea, especially in places known for gambling, like Las Vegas.


1. Gambling Therapy

2. The History of Gambling

3. The Impact of Gaming on Specific Cultural Groups /impactofgamingonspecificculturalgroups.pdf

4. How Gambling Works

Games | Gambling

QR Code
QR Code gambling (generated for current page)