Serious Gambling: Roulette, Cards and Horse Racing
Serious gambling is big business. In the United States, for example, gambling is at least a $40-billion-a-year industry. Casino gambling is the most popular leisure activity—in 1996, nearly thirty million people visited that Mecca of gambling, Las Vegas. The visitors’ average gambling budget for the trip was about $600 and, again on average they spent 4 hours a day gambling. Somewhat sadly, this huge industry is built on the losses of occasional gamblers who know little or nothing about the hard mathematical and psychological facts of the games on which they now and then wager some money.
Serious gambling might, of course, involve some trivial event. Betting on which of two raindrops on the outside of a bus window gets to the bottom first would be a serious enough prospect if the stakes were £10,000. But here, attention will be restricted to horse racing, cards and roulette, because each can be used to illustrate further aspects of the operation of chance, although betting...