Gambling Basics

Gambling is essentially the wagering of something of worth or value for an unknown future with an unpredictable outcome, often with an unsure outcome. Gambling therefore requires three components to be present in its study: risk, consideration, and a reward. The study of gambling as a whole can also include other related issues such as historical case studies and research, social and legal aspects of gambling, and more. The discipline of gambling has become increasingly sophisticated over time, and many areas of it have been successfully integrated into mainstream business practices.


Historically, there were very few laws against gambling and there was very little regulation of the industry, as most state governments passed laws either limiting gambling or making it illegal to run gambling facilities. Today, in order to regulate the industry there are at least eleven different types of gambling commissions that exist, each enforcing their own laws against certain activities within the gambling industry. In some cases, the laws will coincide with the powers that be of the states, while in other states, the laws may overlap with those of the commission.

The most common form of legal gambling is lotteries, which may be operated by anyone legally present in a community, such as a county, state, or nation. Many people enjoy winning lotteries and many states make it legal to operate lotteries, so long as they abide by the local and state laws. In the United States, lotteries are frequently operated by local governments, though state lotteries are not necessarily illegal. A few states, however, have made it illegal to operate electronic or lottery gambling, depending on whether the game is being operated for revenue generation (e.g., by local casinos) or for “entertainment purposes.” Many states also have made it illegal to operate video gaming machines, although these have become increasingly popular over the last decade or so.

Online gambling is becoming increasing popular in the United States. One reason is that it is very convenient for gamblers to access online gambling websites without having to leave home, so it may appeal to those who want to avoid the “fuss” that can occur when going to a land-based casino. Internet gambling games allow gamblers to make wagers without ever leaving their living rooms. One drawback to online gambling is that there are hundreds of sites where you can gamble, so it can be difficult to find the right site. If you have difficulties finding a site that is right for you, some casinos offer “Internet only” specials that let you play the game for less money.

There are several different types of gambling games that are legal in some states but illegal in others. Gambling games may include bingo (which is available in almost all U.S. states), video poker, horse racing, slot machines, poker, blackjack, craps, and other card games. Many state lotteries will allow card players to wager only a single wager per game. In a way, the law helps protect the card players from “edge gaming,” which may occur when a player knows that he has an excellent chance of winning a card game but decides to bet anyway. The law generally does not apply to betting on horse racing, though the laws may be altered to allow this activity in the future.

Gambling problems have been around since the beginning of recorded human history. Today, many states have various gambling prevention commissions to address these problems. A few examples of problems that are addressed by gambling commissions include but are not limited to: alcoholism, gambling addiction, violence, theft, fraud, sales of counterfeit goods, public nuisance, traffic violations, sales to minors, gambling-related crimes, sales to non-residents, sales to families, sex tourism, and credit card fraud. The Florida Commission on Gambling Services is responsible for overseeing the licensing of all gaming agents and managers and for ensuring that no illegal gambling activity takes place within the state.