Journal of Gambling Studies

, Volume 8, Issue 4, pp 413–420 | Cite as

Commercial gambling and values in American society: The social construction of risk

  • Vicki Abt
  • Martin C. McGurrin


Human existence is rooted in the individual's confrontation with risk from birth through death. Factors beyond individual control constantly produce random threats to the individual's welfare. The anxieties created by these events often cannot be resolved by the individual, but require the explanatory support of cultural values and belief systems. These values and belief systems allow a sense that socially managed activities can reduce adverse consequences to the individual in the face of random circumstances. This paper discusses the relationships among public policy, American values, and gambling as a cultural buffer to existential anxieties caused by chance events.


Adverse Consequence Public Policy Individual Control Belief System Social Construction 
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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vicki Abt
    • 1
  • Martin C. McGurrin
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Sociology and American StudiesPennsylvania State University (Ogontz Campus)Abington
  2. 2.University of PennsylvaniaUSA

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