The History of Gambling and Its Intersection with Technology, Religion, Medical Science, and Metaphors

  • Peter Ferentzy
  • Nigel E. Turner


In this chapter, we offer a brief history of gambling and then discuss the intersection of pathological gambling with technology, religion, and science. While technological innovations, assisted by the development of probability theory helped to make gambling a more profitable industry, other historical currents were at work. Substance use and abuse, the temperance movement, and moral panics in general—all of these had key roles to play in the evolution of pathological gambling as an idea. Chronic drunkenness was our first widely recognized (and medicalized) addiction, followed by addictions to opiates and other substances—all of which set the stage for the recognition of behavioral addictions such as pathological gambling. We end with a discussion of metaphor, shedding light on questions concerning the literal veracity of psychobehavioral disease constructs. We argue that metaphor is endemic to all human conceptualization and that this on its own need not invalidate disease conceptions of behavior such as pathological gambling.


History Technology Luck Medical science Temperance Metaphors 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Ferentzy
    • 1
  • Nigel E. Turner
    • 2
  1. 1.Center for Addiction and Mental HealthTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Centre for Addiction and Mental HealthTorontoCanada

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