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Gambling

The Historical Lottery, The Contemporary Lottery, Extent Of Gambling, Gambling And Organized Crime, Native American Tribal Gambling

Gambling can be defined broadly as participation in any risk-taking activity. In law gambling is defined as a bet or wager (consideration), on a probability game or a sporting event (chance), with the hope of winning a payoff or prize (FCC v. American Broadcasting Co., 347 U.S. 284 (1954)). From a public health perspective, activities such as day trading in stocks, commodities, and futures markets have been said to mimic gambling games.

Gambling has never in law or custom been considered inherently evil (malum in se). Why then is betting—or accepting bets—sometimes considered a crime? Reasons that can be singled out include the belief that gambling undermines the work ethic, is destructive of personality, invites fraud and deception, and engenders social decay. Such a view of gambling, although present in most English-speaking countries, is a minority viewpoint, especially in the United States, where a variety of gambling forms are permitted under differing legal regimes. These include casinos, lotteries, wagering on horse or dog races, electric gaming devices and slot machines, jaialai, and Internet gambling.

JEROME H. SKOLNICK

CASES

California v. Cabazon Band of Mission Indians, 480

U.S. 202 (1987). FCC v. American Broadcasting Co., 347 U.S. 284

(1954). Seminole Tribe of Florida v. Florida, 517 U.S. 44 (1996).

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationCrime and Criminal Law