A definition of Gambling

What is gambling? Most of my friends describe gambling as “taking risk for money”. But “taking risk for money” doesn’t differentiate gambling from many other risky activities. Gambling is something distinct from simply taking risks, and gambling is usually not entrepreneurial (although so called “professional” gamblers would have you believe something else). Gambling usually involves taking risk with monetary consequences. How do I define gambling?

Gambling is wagering stakes on an event or game. Let’s break this definition into its constituent parts. The first word, wagering, is a key component of gambling. Wagering is what makes gambling distinct from other types of competitions, whether they be sports or other games. The wagers must also be for stakes of value, and not just “friendly wagers”. Monetary instruments are the most common stakes, but the stakes can be anything of value (positive or negative). The events and games which gambling is based on can be essentially anything, since essentially everything in life has some degree of uncertainty.

A bet is the act of placing a wager.




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