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Kong Vang
Roberta Wolfson
Writ 2
6 June 2016
Two Perspective of Gambling
Gaming started way before colonies were established in the Americas, and eventually
were brought over by colonist settlers to cope with the new environment. Dice and card games
were the popular games at first and eventually switch over to horse racing (Munting). These were
the most popular games during the time because people could gamble in these games, which
meant that money or material goods were at stake. Whether they were betting money or playing
it for fun it was a great way to pass time. Time passes so rapidly we dont have time to reflect on
it. Thus, looking back in history we can see the changes that occurred and how gambling has
changed. Although there were changes, the main goal of gambling remained the same which was
to win more money then what each gambler had initially started with. Statically the game never
changed and historically gambling rebuilt itself and recreated new game. In this essay, a
comparative analysis of Muntings history book, An Economic and Social History of Gambling
in Britain and the USA, and Haighs statistical book, Mathematics in Everyday Life, shows that
the mathematics disciplinary approach is more effective at providing mathematical evidence that
supports gambling, than the historical approach because there are equations and solutions to
show the probability that a gambler will win or lose when gambling, which cannot be explained
by historians and their writing.
In the mathematics field, scholars rely on mathematical equations model to help explain
the turnout rates of winning when gambling. Gambling is mainly based on chance because there

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are many different ways to rearrange the numbers in lotteries. As Haigh states, In late 2015, the
format changed to 6/59; Formula (7.1) leads to to N2= 13,983,816 different choices (133-151).
These model provides an answer for gambling which is unclear to most people because they
dont take the time into understanding the concepts. Instead people are interested in winning the
jackpot. Everyone has the same opportunity, and they have over 13 million ways to pick the six
number to enter into the lottery, but three must be correct to win. It might be reasonable to say
that the chances of winning is less than one percent. This brings up the question of how much
lottery tickets a gambler would invest in to win, assuming that he might have the chance. In
general, the equations used in Haighs book Mathematics in Everyday life contains very simple
equations with a few variables which can be substituted for specific numbers and solved easily.
The unknown variable are usually what is used to describe the probability and transcribe into a
percentage. Anyone is capable of computing these equations to determine if their chances are
higher or lower to determine if they want to gamble. Also the reader can work the equations
backwards before gambling to see if the odds are against them. Mathematics provides an
equation so that we can solve it by ourselves and notice the gambling outcome before its too
late. Since mathematics is a numerical language it makes it easier for readers to compare and
relate the outcome, since math is used in our everyday life. Numbers are tangible and represented
by equations whereas writing is only conveyed through words and text. Mathematics have a ton
of equations used to solve and predict the outcome of an event. In these equations provided by
Haigh it deals with gambling. There are many games associated with gambling, however almost
all of them depend on luck and chance. Mathematics scholar uses equations in this academic
discipline to showcase the importance of math, and how gamblers can avoid gambling when they
know for sure that they will lose in the long run.

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Mathematics also use visually representation, such as tables and chart to show the
different input and output values which show a similar trend in almost all gambling. Charts
contains the right amount of information a reader wants. There are very little text and most of the
tables have labeled axis showing what represented. For example, the table 7.1 in Mathematics in
Everyday Life Compares the values obtained when there were 49 numbers and 59 numbers. In
this discipline, charts are provided for people who learns better with visual aids. When they see
the chart they can relate to it or refer back to it if necessary. Charts are easy to read, but in order
to understand it one must approach it differently. Usually when looking at a table it may be clear
what it is trying to convey, however there is another aspect that charts can explain. Charts can
explain a trend. In this chart from Mathematics in Everyday Life the chances of winning is very
small, but as number moves up the probability increases. The trend for gambling usually result in
losing, however a gambler who has won more than what they started with can cash out. Trends
are useful for gamblers and non-gamblers. In this case it shows that if they get at least one digit
correct their chances is greatly enhance, however if they miss two number their chances drop
significantly. Therefore, charts provide very good visual aid and illustrates a trend that is directly
related to the equations only apparent in mathematics discipline.
Furthermore, the math discipline provides examples that best illustrates the equations to
show that the equation hold true. Although equations and charts are there for visual aids,
examples provides a better understanding and piece the puzzle together. For this purpose, horse
race was a way to gamble. Bets were put on horses to see which one finished the race first.
Haighs uses this example to explain it, Suzie has 319 in her purse: she stakes 105, 84, 70
and 60 on those horses respectively; whichever wins, she will be paid 420, a profit of 32% on
her total stake (133-151). Examples are used to illustrate what one would encounter in real life.

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It can be seen here that shell win no matter what she bet since she bets on all the horses.
However, a small amount is deducted from winning and this leaves her with only a little win
over her initial money she started with. The examples are simple and easy to understand.
Examples bridges the equations and charts together. Examples also proves that the equation is
true and allows other people to testify it which is why mathematics is so unique.
In contrast, historian is less effective in talking about gambling because they focus on
chronological events. Chronological events help readers feel as if they were there during the
time. In addition facts are laid out according to the specific dates. They are precise in their dates,
so all the events, places, and people have a date before they are introduce, unless the dates are
uncertain then they estimate when the time took place. Other games based on the chance value
of dealt cards, but this time summing to nine rather than twenty one (baccarat or baccarat,
chemin-de-fer and punto banco), appeared in the nineteenth century (Munting 9). As we can
see, historians state out facts about the games that came before and the games that came after.
There is always a before and after event, so the reader can see the changes in time. Before the
summation of the cards were nine which is small and hard to get and then changed to twenty-one
which was easier to get. Black Jack is the term we used today for twenty-one. In this card game
it is based on chance because a person can get anything lower than twenty-one but nothing above
it. It all depends on the cards, thus the person can either win or lose. Another event includes,
Charles I sanctioned a lottery to fund in part Londons water supply; between 1694 and 1768
five lotteries were used to pay for the building of Westminster Bridge, and one to begin the
library at the British Museum in 1753 (Munting 14). Munting is trying to argue that high
official abuses their power. They use gambling as a way to fund projects. If he did not use the
lottery then there would not be any of these building or architect. Funding the project indirectly

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allowed him to receive money without having to make tax or laws to accumulate money.
Gambling is a way to make money, therefore he used it to fund projects which was able to spread
lottery and gambling since it was supporting government projects. Although chronological events
brings up good facts about the transformation of gambling it is less effective because it cannot be
proven with numerical numbers.
Another less effective evidence used by historians are secondary sources which gives this
discipline credibility in their writing. They use secondary source instead of primary source
because they were not there at the time. Secondary sources best support the idea, since they can
go back and look at what was important and related it to the present day. Munting says, The
sociologist, Otto Newman, estimated that net expenditure on gambling increased in the twenty
years from 1947 to 1967 by 88.5 per cent compared with increases in personal income of 250 per
cent (Newman 1972:62). The evidence is stated directly, followed up with another author to
help address his point. We can see that the main function of this is to show that dates are
important. Even though he had provided us with a lot of dates he also cited another author with
the date which indicates when it was published. This shows that the document was the most
recent one during the time when he wrote the book. This justify that the information was accurate
but it doesnt tell us how many gamblers won or lost when gambling. Historians accounts for
everyone instead of confining to a small group to represent the data which makes it less effective
in talking about gambling and how people win or lose.
Clearly, the mathematics discipline is more effective in that there are multiple equations
illustrated to show that the odds are against the gambler. Nevertheless, anyone can compute the
equations since they are very simple and determine whether they have a greater chance at one
game over the other. This will improve their chances of winning. Mathematics discipline also

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have charts which takes most of the page which it stand out. This gives the reader a visual
understanding of mathematics, since it is a language that uses number instead of words that is not
portrayed in historical discipline. A visual chart helps to identify the apparent trend in the
equations. Although historians have many facts in chronological order and secondary sources, it
does not compare to what is offered in the mathematic discipline

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Work Cited
Haigh, John. Mathematics in everyday life. Cham: Springer, 2016. Web.
Munting, Roger. An economic and social history of gambling in Britain and the USA. New York:
Manchester, 1996. Print.
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