Gambling is the wagering of money or something of material value (referred to as “the stakes”) on an event with an uncertain outcome with the primary intent of winning additional money and/or material goods. Typically, the outcome of the wager is evident within a short period.

The term gaming[1] in this context typically refers to instances in which the activity has been specifically permitted by law. The two words are not mutually exclusive; i.e., a “gaming” company offers (legal) “gambling” activities to the public[2] and may be regulated by one of many gaming control boards, for example, the Nevada Gaming Control Board. However, this distinction is not universally observed in the English-speaking world. For instance, in the UK, the regulator of gambling activities is called the Gambling Commission (not the Gaming Commission).[3] Also, the word gaming is frequently used to describe activities that do not involve wagering, especially on line.

Studies show that though many people participate in gambling as a form of recreation or even as a means to gain an income, gambling, like any behaviour which involves variation in brain chemistry, can become a psychologically addictive and harmful behaviour in some people. Reinforcement schedules may also make gamblers persist in gambling even after repeated losses.

  1. “United Kingdom Office of Public Sector Information: Definition as Gaming”. Retrieved 2012-09-22.
  2. ^ Humphrey, Chuck. “Gambling Law US”. Gambling Law US. Retrieved 2012-09-22.
  3. ^ “UK Gambling Commission”. Retrieved 2012-09-22.