January 1, 2008
Betting on team sports has become an important service industry in many countries. For example, millions of Britons play the football pools every week. At sports betting, players may beat the bank.
Most jurisdictions in Canada and the United States regard sports betting as illegal (Nevada offers full sports betting and the Canadian provinces offer Sport Select - government-run sports parlay betting). However, millions engage in sports betting despite its illegality.
In Canada and the United States the most popular sports bets include:
against the spread - the bettor wagers either that the favoured team will win by a specified number of points or that it will not. Giving the points involves betting the favourite, and taking the points means betting the underdog. See point spread. A team covers the spread if it wins the game with the score modified by the spread. If Dallas and Washington are playing and the spread is (Dallas -7), then Dallas has to win by at least 8 points to cover. Half-point spreads are also possible and the spread may not change.
against odds - the most popular types of bets against odds comprise simple bets that a team will win and over-under (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 exceed or fall short of a total specified by the bookmaker.
against a combination of odds and spread
In sports betting, a parlay involves a bet that two or more teams will win. In the United States gamblers have made the parlay card one of the most common forms of sports betting: here bettors wager on the outcomes of two or more games. If all their picks win, they collect. Most such betting occurs in workplaces. A teaser is one type of parlay where the bettor can alter the point spreads on the two games in the bet.
January 0, 2008
Gambling has had many different meanings depending on the cultural and historical context in which it is used. Currently, in western society, it generally has an economic definition and meaning and typically refers to "wagering money or something of material value on something with an uncertain outcome in hope of winning additional money or material goods". Furthermore:
the outcome of the wager is typically evident within a short period of time
the primary intent of the bet is to win additional money or material goods
This definition of gambling usually excludes:
emotional or physical risk-taking where what is being risked is not money or material goods (e.g., skydiving, running for office, asking someone for a date, etc.)
buying insurance, as the primary intent of the purchase is to protect against loss, rather than to collect or win
all forms of long-term 'investment' (stock market, real estate) with positive expected returns and economic utility
starting a new business, as time and effort are also being wagered and the outcome is not determined in a short period of time
situations where the possibility of winning additional money or material goods is a secondary or incidental reason for the wager/purchase (e.g., buying a raffle ticket to support a worthy cause)
Gambling varies on four dimensions:
1. What is being wagered (money or material goods).
2. How much is being wagered.
3. The predictability of the event. For some things such as lotteries, slot machines and bingo, the results are random and unpredictable. No skill or system will give you any advantage. For other things such as sports betting and horse racing there is some predictability to the outcome. In this situation greater knowledge and skill gives a person an advantage over other bettors.
4. The 'expected value', the positive or negative mathematical expectation.