Gambling vs. Betting: What is really the difference?

  (photo credit: INGIMAGE)
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)

Gambling … Betting … Sometimes, it is hard to tell one from the other.

Oh, wait, did I say sometimes? Absolutely every time. We see the terms used interchangeably online, social media, and even offline. I bet you make the same mistake, too.

Nowadays, it's a common theme; even bettors and gamblers don't know which side they belong to.

For example, do we call it betting or gambling when you roll a dice with your friends? What about when you visit the site of a judi bola agen Sbobet? I bet you aren’t sure.

To clear the confusion, we created this guide.

What is gambling?

I bet someone has used the phrase ‘That’s a gamble’ around you before. Maybe to describe an action or a decision you made. If you can flashback to the time, you’ll remember the event was somewhat an uncertain one. Like refusing to repair the lock to your main entrance door. In the context of that, it can be said that you’ve taken a gamble on your home security. Based on this, we can say that ‘gambling’ is the act of taking a risk on an event with an uncertain outcome.

As you might guess, that's close to the term's actual definition on According to Wiki, ‘gambling’ is wagering something of value ("the stakes") on an event with an uncertain outcome with the intent of winning something else of value. 

With gambling, the wager's outcome is often immediate, such as a single roll of dice, a spin of a roulette wheel, or a horse crossing the finish line.

What is betting?

In contrast, ‘Betting’ refers to an agreement between two parties, where one party makes a prediction and loses or wins money based on those predictions. If the bettor wins, the other party has to forfeit the wagered amount as per the agreement.

Based on this definition, we commonly see games like sports betting or horse racing being categorized as 'betting' activities. Because they involve an agreement between the bettor (player) and the bet maker (bookie).

Gambling vs. Betting: What are the differences?

Granted, it would take a lot of understanding to differentiate betting from gambling truly. But we hope we've provided enough information to help you.

Having said that, we can conclude that gambling and betting are such ‘close’ activities that only a fine line separates them. So, where’s the line?

The line of separation comes from the amount of 'risk' involved. Whereas in gambling, a player might play based on hopes that their wagered outcome will come to pass. Betting involves a strategic selection of events and outcomes backed by data, research, and the player's thought process.

To put it simply, whereas both betting and gambling are games of risks, betting is a little bit less risky because of the involvement of skills and knowledge.

As one gambler rightly puts it on Quora, “everything you do in gambling depends on luck or chance. Gambling has got nothing to do with human skills. Betting, however, can be a game of skills." 

And they’re right. 

Think about it, do you need any skill to roll a dice on an online casino site? Of course not. Also, does skill play a part in turning a roulette wheel on an online casino site? Of course not.

What about playing games of poker? Yeah, you need skills for those. Meaning that poker qualifies for a betting game, whereas dice rolling and roulette are more in the gambling class.

Gambling vs. Betting: What are the similarities?

Even from the definitions, one can tell that both game types have so much in common.

  • Both betting and gambling involve wagering money on the outcome of an uncertain event. 
  • Both game types involve a certain amount of risk. That is, they’re both games of chance, even though one might be a bit less ‘chancey’ than the other.
  • Both involve three major elements: wager, risk/chance, and the prize.


Only a fine line separates betting from gambling, which is why many people simply refer to betting as a form of gambling.

To know which one you’re doing, simply ask yourself: is my risk based on data/research or gut feeling?

If your answer is the former, then you’re BETTING. But if the latter, then you’re GAMBLING.

This article was written in cooperation with omi88