Gambling 101


Gambling is an important commercial activity around the world. In 2009, the legal gambling industry generated $335 billion in revenues. People gamble in many different ways. For example, a marble game player may wager on the marbles he will win, or a Magic: The Gathering player may stake collectible game pieces. Regardless of the form of gambling, it’s important to know the odds and when to quit.

Gambling is a profitable business for state and local governments. In fiscal year 2020, state and local governments collected about $30 billion from gambling, which represents 1 percent of their general revenue. This amount does not include revenue from tribal casinos, which some states collect through revenue-sharing agreements. Lotteries contributed approximately two-thirds of that money, while casino gambling and video games brought in another $300 million. Parimututal wagering brought in less than $200 million per adult.

If your child is showing signs of gambling, it’s important to understand the risk involved and the odds involved. Children should be told that the odds of winning are very low. They should compare the odds of winning with the chances of winning the lottery, which is one in 15 million. If you suspect that your child has a gambling problem, seek help from a psychologist or problem gambling service. There are also 24-hour hotlines and web chat services available for teenagers and their parents.

Legalized gambling is a growing business in the United States. According to the U.S. General Accounting Office, there are now casinos and Indian tribal gaming within every state except Utah and Hawaii. It is estimated that more than a quarter of American adults participate in gambling.