There are many forms of gambling in the world, and putting money down on the outcome of an Australian thoroughbred horse race is definitely one form of gambling.
The Oxford Dictionary defines gambling as “playing games of chance for money” and “taking risky action in the hope of a desired result”.
So is horse racing considered a game of chance?
Not exactly, but it does come under the second definition quoted above about taking risky action (betting money in this case) hoping for the desired outcome.
Games of Chance
Let’s briefly look at some games (and gambling opportunities) that are pure chance.
All you have to do is step foot into a casino and you’re suddenly surrounded by games of chance. Not only are casino games all about chance, but the odds are also stacked in favour of the house. This ensures that the casino wins overall and makes a profit, despite paying out money to some lucky gamblers.
While some systems can be employed to reduce the odds, most are banned in casinos. One of the most well-known systems that’s not allowed is counting cards when playing blackjack. The very reason this practice is banned in all casinos is that a good card counter can actually win and beat the house.
However, even blackjack is still a game of pure chance.
Outside of the casino, another popular bet is placing money down on the lottery, or lotto. The lure here is a huge payday for a very minuscule investment. Winning first division lotto is obviously not impossible (people do win), but the odds stacked against you are in the millions to one.
Lotto is pure chance, and successfully picking 6 from 6 is an incredibly hard thing to pull off.
Horse Race Punting
Chance definitely plays its part in punting on the horses, especially if you’re an amateur, and horse race betting is certainly a form of gambling.
That being said, gambling on the outcome of a horse race actually makes a lot more sense than putting your money down on games of pure chance, such as the lotto and casino games.
Melbourne Cup betting is probably the chanciest of all horse race betting, simply because so many people who never normally even follow racing are putting their money down as part of the day’s celebrations and activities.
Throughout the rest of the year though, both amateur and professional punters alike take to the form guides to educate themselves on the industry, how certain horses are faring, which jockey is riding which horse, checking out track conditions and the list goes on.
In other words, there is a wealth of information to dig into to help punters make the right choices, no matter which type of bet they decide to place.
This alone negates a lot of the “chance” factor, and actually brings effective evaluation into the betting equation.
Professional punters – those are actually live the dream of making a living from their craft – spend countless hours doing research before placing any substantial bets. To be a professional and earn your keep means you have to get it right most of the time, and the very fact that professionals can achieve this proves that horse race betting is not merely a game of chance like casino gaming or playing the lotto.
If all these gambling options were on an equal footing, then “professionals” could also master winning at the casino and winning the lotto, but that’s obviously not the case.
Besides the overall chance factor, we’ve already determined that casinos don’t like you trying gambling systems, whereas, with horse race betting, you’re allowed to try any system you fancy and have loads of historical data and expert tips at your disposal.
Is Punting On Horses Pure Gambling?
To conclude, yes, horse race betting is definitely a form of gambling, but not pure gambling. The fact that it’s not all based on chance alone means you seriously have a better chance of walking away from a winner and making consistent profits if you take advantage of the resources available to you, and you’re willing to do a lot of homework.
Winning takes discipline and knowledge. Arm yourself with both and you could be the next professional punter.