Gambling (or betting) is any behaviour involving the risk of money or valuables on the outcome of a game, contest or other event in which the outcome of that activity is partially or totally dependent upon chance.
Though for many it is a form of recreation, gambling, like any behaviour which involves variation in brain chemistry, can become a psychologically addictive and harmful behavior in some people. Reinforcement phenomena may also make gamblers persist in gambling even though they are losing. Because of the negative connotations of the word, casinos and race tracks often use the euphemism "gaming" to describe the recreational gambling activities they offer. Gambling may also refer to engaging in any high-risk behavior.
Gambling games are believed to predate recorded history, with gambling games recorded in virtually all of the ancient civilizations.
Furthermore, gambling is either banned or heavily controlled (licensed) in many jurisdictions. Such regulation generally leads to gambling tourism and illegal gambling. The latter is often controlled through organized crime. Such involvement frequently brings the activity under even more severe moral censure and leads to calls for greater regulation. Conversely, the close involvement in governments (through regulation and gambling taxation) has led to a close connection between many governments and gambling organisations, where legal gambling provides much government revenue.
In addition many bookmakers offer odds on a number of non-sports related outcomes, e.g. the direction of various financial indices, whether snow will fall on Christmas Day, the winner of television competitions such as Big Brother, etc.
Wagering may be conducted in parimutuel pools, or bookmakers may take bets personally. Parimutuel wagers pay off at prices determined by support in the wagering pools, while bookmakers pay off either at the odds offered at the time the bet was taken or at the median odds offered by track bookmakers at the time the race started.
win–to succeed the bettor must pick the horse which wins the race.
place–the bettor must pick a horse which finishes either first or second.
show–the bettor must pick a horse which finishes first, second, or third.
exacta, perfecta, or exactor–the bettor must pick the two horses which finish first and second and specify which will finish first
quinella or quiniela–the bettor must pick the two horses which finish first and second, but need not specify which will finish first.
trifecta or triactor–the bettor must pick the three horses which finish first, second, and third and specify which will finish first and second
double– the bettor must pick the winners of two successive races; most race tracks in Canada and the United States take double wagers on the first two races on the program (the daily double) and on the last two (the late double).
triple–the bettor must pick the winners of three successive races; many tracks offer rolling triples, or triples on any three successive races on the program.
sweep–the bettor must pick the winners of four or more successive races.
Win, place and show wagers are known as straight bets, and the remaining wagers as exotic bets. Bettors usually make multiple wagers on exotic bets. A box is a multiple wager in which all possible combinations of a group of horses in the same race are bet. A key is a multiple wager in which a single horse in one race is bet in one position with all possible combinations of other selected horses in a single race. A wheel consists of betting all horses in one race of a bet involving two or more races. For example a 1-all daily double wheel bets the 1-horse in the first race with every horse in the second.
In Canada and the United States exotic wagers are made on horses running at the same track on the same program. In the United Kingdom bookmakers offer exotic wagers on horses at differenet tracks. The most common is probably the Yankee, in which the bettor tries to pick the winner of four races. This bet also includes subsidiary wagers on smaller combinations of the chosen horses; for example, if only two of the four horses win, the bettor still collects for their double. A Trixie requires trying to pick three winners, and a Canadian or Super Yankee trying to pick five; these also include subsidiary bets. The nap is a term used to mark the best bet of the day.
A parlay (US) or accumulator (UK) is a series of bets in which the winnings from one race are bet on the next in order until either the bettor loses or the series is completed successfully.
In Canada and the United States sports betting is usually illegal (Nevada offers full sports betting and the Canadian provinces offer government-run sports parlay betting). However, millions engage in it despite its illegality.
In Canada and the United States the most popular sports bets are made:
against the spread; that is, the bettor wagers either that the favoured team will win by a specified number of points or that it will not. Betting the favourite is called giving the points and betting the underdog taking the points.
against odds; the most popular types of bets against odds are simple bets that a team will win and over-under bets, which are bets on the total points, runs, or goals scored by both teams. In making an over-under bet, the bettor wagers that the total will be higher or lower than a total specified by the bookmaker.
against a combination of odds and spread
In sports betting a parlay is a bet that two or more teams will all win. In the United States one of the most common forms of sports betting is the parlay card, on which bettors wager on the outcomes of two or more games. If all their picks win, they collect. Most such betting occurs in workplaces.
Due-column betting – A variation on fixed profits betting in which the bettor sets a target profit and then calculates a bet size that will make this profit, adding any losses to the target. For example, to make a target of $100 profit a bettor would wager $50 at odds of 2 to 1. If the bet loses, the target becomes $150. If the next bet is also at odds of 2 to 1, the wager therefore becomes $75. This type of wagering is ruinous in the long run..
Kelly (optimal) – fair odds (in the European/decimal format) need to be estimated by the punter and then the stake can be calculated using
Stake= (Odds/(Fair odds-1))/(Odds-1) Many times used with a divider (most commonly 4 or 8) depending on your bankroll (for betting)
This system was developed for baccarat but is widely recommended for horserace betting. In betting horseraces the stake is further adjusted to allow for inaccuracy in estimating fair odds. Computer simulations suggest that in betting horseraces Kelly betting increases losses during losing streaks, that it fails to demonstrate superiority over fixed stakes betting until large numbers of bets have been made (a drawback in horserace betting because the bettor usually has no reasonable expectation that any betting advantage he or she has will last over a long series of bets), and that its profitability has been exaggerated by the use of inappropriate statistical analyses.
Martingale- A system based on staking enough each time to recover losses from previous bet(s) until you get a winner. A guaranteed way to failure- only way it would work is if you have an unlimited bankroll, your bookamaker has no limit on the size of bets and you are immortal!
Chinese American Problem Gambling Provides information about the Chinese Community Problem Gambling Project in San Francisco, California. Also, provides a problem gambling self-assessment in both Chinese and English. http://www.nicoschc.com/
Female Gamblers Contains articles by women gamblers in recovery. http://www.femalegamblers.org/
Gambling Related Issues Links provided by the Minnesota Institute of Public Health. Includes "Beyond the Odds", their quarterly newsletter on problem and compulsive gambling. http://www.miph.org/gambling/index.html
Know the Odds Education to prevent the harmful effects of problem gambling. Curriculum materials for schools and colleges and free downloadable exercises by schools. http://www.knowodds.org/
North American Training Institute Home Page Specializes in responsible programs for the gaming and wagering industries, professional, accredited training programs, and in senior citizen and adolescent compulsive gambling issues. Includes Wanna Bet? magazine for kids concerned about gambling. http://www.nati.org/
Northern Rivers Gambling Service A counseling service for problem gamblers and their families. Situated in Northern New South Wales, Australia. http://www.nrgs.org.au/
Problem Gambling Hub Providing a hub for the research, treatment, and discussion of problem gambling. A center for the gaming industry and professionals who are concerned with the problem of gambling addiction. http://www.problemgambling.com/
Quit Gambling Home website for author of "A Way to Quit Gambling" for compulsive gambling addiction problem. http://jxc2.tripod.com/index.html
Problem Gambling Diagnosis and treatment of problem gambling. http://www.athealth.com/Consumer/newsletter/FPN_4_7.html
Problem Gambling in Canada Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse provides academic and government reports on problem gambling in Canada. http://www.ccsa.ca/gambgen.htm
Responsible Gambling Council (Ontario) This site is committed to ensuring healthy individuals, families and communities that are free of the personal, social and economic harm resulting from gambling abuse. http://www.responsiblegambling.org/
Wannabet.org Magazine for kids concerned about the dangers of gambling addiction. http://www.wannabet.org/
United Kingdom - GamCare This organization addresses gambling problem issues in the United Kingdom. http://www.gamcare.org.uk/