How Is Gambling Viewed in Different Cultures?

As you may already be aware, gambling has different connotations in different parts of the world. Some see it as a vice, others as a harmless form of entertainment. There are even social groups where gambling serves as a sort of rite of passage. What does the world think of gambling?

North America

Modern Americans have many different approaches to gambling. In some states, it is outlawed, while in others it is lauded as the ultimate form of entertainment. It is easy to see why – Europeans that came to the country were Puritans and, as such, were not really keen on games of chance, having a very strict moral and religious code. However, as time passed, it was not just the ‘proper’ people coming to the continent and pretty soon there were games of skill and chance all over the United States and surrounding areas. Try to remember the old Wild West movies. Playing poker for cash was a pretty standard way of making money by challenging Lady Luck. As there were no strict regulations in place, conflicts over winning inevitably ended in fights and death.

Americans are slightly more inclined to partake in betting on sports than they are to play casino games. We are not sure what the logic behind this is, but the general idea seems to be that betting on sports is somehow more responsible than throwing dice or playing cards.


Most Asian countries have a rich gambling culture. China has gone so far as to have superstitions surrounding games of chance and their games are, arguably, some of the most intricate and hard-to-follow in the world. For the Chinese, gambling is not a way to waste money on entertainment, as it is in many parts of the world. Rather, they see it as an investment of sorts.

Japan has always been viewed as a country where everything needs to be regulated strictly, with gambling and alcohol being the only semi-exceptions to the rule. These, for the lack of a better term, vices are there to help a person unwind and blow off some steam. However, just because the culture of risking your money on a game has been present in most of Asia, does not mean that it’s not heavily regulated.


Italy and Norway enjoy casino games, for example, as do Spain and Monaco. Europeans love betting on sports, particularly soccer. Other than that, there’s the lottery, particularly loved by the Irish. In other words, while gambling is sometimes frowned upon, it is alive and well in Europe in all its forms.


There is a new kind of gambling domain that appeared due to globalization and technology – online gambling. The netizens of the world play online casino games and bet on sports, provided they are allowed to do so in their country. Up until then, gambling was not only about taking a risk. It was about the experience and socializing. In many ways, gambling can be compared to drinking. Some do it to have fun, others use it as an escape. Ask yourself this, though: how responsible is it to drink alone at home? Online gambling gives people a similar option, though, to be fair, the sites urge their patrons to play and bet responsibly.