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probably back-formation from gambler, probably alteration of obsolete gamner, from obsolete gamen to play 1772


intransitive verb
b : to bet on an uncertain outcome
transitive verb
  • 1: to risk by gambling : wager
  • 2: venture, hazard


Gambling is the wagering of money or something of material value (referred to as "the stakes") on an event with an uncertain outcome with the primary intent of winning additional money and/or material goods. Typically, the outcome of the wager is evident within a short period.

The term gaming in this context typically refers to instances in which the activity has been specifically permitted by law. The two words are not mutually exclusive; i.e., a “gaming” company offers (legal) “gambling” activities to the public. This distinction is not universally observed in the English-speaking world, however. For instance, in the UK, the regulator of gambling activities is called the Gambling Commission (not the Gaming Commission). Also, the word gaming is frequently used to describe activities that do not involve wagering, especially online. Gambling is a major international commercial activity, with the legal gambling market totalling an estimated $335 billion in 2009.[1]