In today’s society, we are not unfamiliar with seeing the evolution of certain words and how they can go from having a positive to a negative connotation. One that hits particularly close to home for anyone in this industry is of course the word “Gambling”.
What used to be known as a fun thing has over the years become shunned and I would say that the reason is of course the commercialization of it. Casinos and other companies are making hundreds of millions on gambling and players are winning a ton as well.On the other side, there are players who unfortunately have gone the opposite way with personal bankruptcy and even addiction.
As we have now entered the year 2023 (crazy, right?), the way the word is used has changed. It has reached the point that casinos and other types of companies whose main business is gambling, have to be very careful of how and when to use the word, especially in marketing.
So the question is, has Gambling become a dirty word?
What Does the Word Gambling Mean?
There’s no denying that gambling is one of mankind’s oldest activities, as evidenced by writings and tools found in tombs and other places all across the world. So let’s start from the beginning and look at the origin and definition of the word which looks like this.
- Gamble (v.)
“Risk something of value on a game of chance,” 1726 (implied in gambling), from a dialectal survival of Middle English gammlen, variant of gamenen “to play, jest, be merry,” from Old English gamenian “to play, joke, pun,” from gamen (see game (n.)), with form as in fumble, etc.
Or possibly gamble is from a derivative of gamel “to play games” (1590s), itself likely a frequentative from game.
What Is the True Meaning of Gambling?
Gambling simply means that you’re willing to risk something you value in the hope of getting something of even greater value.
In order for gambling to be gambling, it requires 3 different elements:
- Consideration – The amount/wager you are willing to bet
- Risk – It all comes down to chance
- Prize – If you are successful, you should get rewarded
The outcome of the bet is most often immediate, for example a spin on a slot, a roll of dice, what team wins or even what horse crosses the goal line first. However, there can also be a delayed outcome for example when you bet on a league winner etc.
Difference Between Gambling and Gaming
As you have probably seen, the word “Gaming” is often used instead of “Gambling”. Media often use it depending on what tone they want their article to have as it is a very effective tool to use when you want to shift the perception of what’s being discussed.
Gaming can also be used to get around the laws around casino marketing that are getting tougher and tougher.
Fact is that regardless of how you see it, the two are different things.
- Gaming – Requires knowledge and skill to play. The gameplay involves coming up with solutions to challenges posed by the developers of example Playstation games.
- Gambling – Instead of skills, gambling comes down to probability and luck. Basically the player has to bet money on a game of chances or bet on sporting events.
If you ask most people, the difference between the two comes down to the financial aspect.
Gambling in Life
Gambling doesn’t only happen at a casino or sports betting but also in life itself. I would go as far as to say people gamble every single day of their life. Let’s say that I am interested in a girl and I decide to approach her and ask her out on a date. That’s taking a gamble.
Take More Risks
When you are driving your car, sometimes you drive faster because you’re in a hurry to get somewhere. You might even run a red light (which of course was yellow at the time). Again, you’re gambling that you won’t get caught by the cops or get in an accident.
There are so many situations in life where if you take a closer look at it, you are taking a gamble. Everyone knows this and most often taking risks is even encouraged. In other words the act of gambling is never negative in those types of situations.
Playing On Your Phone
Do you have games on your phones that you have downloaded? Of course you do and mobile gaming is a HUGE industry. Even though most of them are free to play, a lot of times you are encouraged to make in-game purchases with money in order to get the full experience or simply to improve game performance.
There’s clearly money involved and often a lot of it although perhaps in smaller sums, it’s never considered gambling. Yes, I know it’s a slightly different situation but it’s such a big industry now and users are spending a lot of money. The difference is that these fees are hidden inside the game, which is how they trick people into buying even though it’s supposedly “free”.
At least casinos are upfront about the use of money.
The Line Is as Gray as Ever
Another thing that has grayed the line between gaming and gambling is the legalization of sports betting. Or even social betting for that matter considering you can even bet on presidential elections and Oscar winners.
People have grown up playing and watching sports and are now betting on them. The difference is that people still view sports betting and casinos as two different things, where gambling at a casino is still considered the more negative of the two.
There’s no doubt that the difference between gambling and gaming has diminished over the last decade or so.
I think it’s time for casino players to reclaim the word gambling and for the world to be ok with using it. It may be an effective tool for the media and others to call it gaming due to the need to please everyone by being politically correct.
Don’t get me wrong, responsible gambling is incredibly important and that players can seek help if they need to. Click here to read more about it.
However, it doesn’t really matter what you call it. Fact is that anyone that actually plays at a casino knows exactly what they are doing. It shouldn’t be a bad thing and it’s time to call it what it is, which is G-A-M-B-L-I-N-G.