Understanding Gambling

In this section

Many people find gambling fun and exciting… you never know if you are going to win big! It is important to understand why you never know if you are going to win big. The reason is because all gambling games are influenced by chance. That means the outcome of the games cannot be controlled or predicted with certainty. If a game’s outcome was certain, it wouldn't be gambling.

Gambling games are designed to favour “the house” meaning the game operator or vendor. This is true for casino games, online games, horse racing, bingo, sports and lottery games.


In blackjack, a skilled player can be close to even odds with the house, but the other players at the table can’t be predicted or controlled and their cards and their decision making influence the game outcomes for everyone.
In poker, players face off against each other. The odds of winning cannot be predicted with certainty because players have no control over the cards they are dealt, the cards their opponents are dealt, or the skills and decision making of their opponents.

The Gambling Truth

It is important to understand that although different games have different odds of winning and varying degrees of skill or influence from the player can affect the odds of winning, players are more likely to lose, particularly over time, than they are to win. If that wasn't true, gaming operators and vendors would be out of business.

When players think they are the exception to this truth, they can get themselves into trouble. Faulty thinking about one’s control over gambling outcomes can lead a person to bet more often with more money than they would otherwise. This behaviour tends to lead to bigger losses and more trouble for the player.


  • Having a good understanding of the nature of gambling can help you to make good decisions with your time, energy and money.
  • Your best bet for keeping gambling safe and fun is to use responsible gambling strategies when playing.
    Learn more about responsible gambling tips and strategies.