Defining gambling is talking about money or another value that we wager on a specific event. This is the simple definition, but gambling is much more than that. Not knowing the outcome of the event is what makes gambling challenging and allows the creation of stakes, which are nothing more than the odds that we have to win if we get right the outcome of that certain event.
Complicated or fun?
Gambling is fun because we are able to put all of our guessing skills into an exciting high stakes game. We can gamble playing poker, blackjack, roulette or simply guessing who will win the next presidential election. Sometimes we get an immediate result, like when we are playing a casino game, other times we just need to wait until that event to happen to know the outcome of our bet.
The best part is that we can make money while gambling, something that usually doesn’t happen unless we are working. As for what to gamble, we have quite a few options. If we are the casino player type, we can go for table games that include dozens of card games, or electronic games, where we can find the slot machines, video poker, and video bingo. If the casino setting is not our thing, we can find alternative gambling action happening outside, like for example bingo, lotteries, scratchcards and quite a good amount of another set of card games.
But wait, there is more! We have bookmakers that offer fixed odds on sporting or non-sporting events. The dimension of bets in team sports has reached millions of people in quite a few countries, so most likely it’s the most popular form of gambling in the non-casino setting.
A lot has been debated about the legality of gambling, and it makes sense that such debates exist because it involves large sums of money. Gaming companies have the possibility to offer gambling activities to anyone that wants to play, and this has to be regulated by organizations, who are responsible for the fairness of the game.
In this complex world, there are several jurisdictions that have the power to ban gambling from a certain country or region, or to do something equivalent, that is, to legislate a heavy control that makes it impossible for companies to operate. From these limitations, the concept of gambling tourism is born, as well as illegal gambling, that appears where gambling is forbidden.
As it’s easy to understand, governments have a vital role in this process, as gambling means a significant revenue on the form of taxes. The goal of the legislation is not only revenue though, but also fairness for the players, in the sense that is required for the gambling devices to be statistically fair. Only in this way fair payoff results, proportional to the losses, are possible and in a certain way, this is what luck is all about.
With both the entertainment aspect and the legal one well-established, it’s no surprise that gambling has become a major commercial activity worldwide. Values from 2009 mention approximately $350 billion, in 2015 there is an estimate of $450 billion, and in 2019 it’s expected an incredible $500 billion.