Gambling as a Tool for Decision-Making

Who says gambling should be confined only in casinos and other gaming areas, or venues that are meant just for gambling activities? Gamblers have not always played for money or other forms of material gain, or for mere entertainment or thrills. In fact, it can also be found in everyday life, with gambling instruments commonly used as tools for decision-making. We all have encountered people who use games of chance to settle disputes or make decisions for us, as if to leave everything to Lady Luck.

It may even be us who participate in these kinds of decision-making. An example of this is the drawing of straws or sticks, with the one holding the shortest piece the winner or the loser in the draw, depending on the conditions that were set prior to the draw. Even in the ancient times, leaders of nations have used gambling to settle disputes. In 1,000 A.D., the Norwegian and Swedish kings were fighting over which country could rightfully claim the district of Hising. The two royal rulers eventually decided to settle the issue by rolling a pair of dice, the winner being the one who garnered more points. Norway won the game in the end with the Swedish king accepting the outcome peacefully.

In Greek mythology, the gods Zeus, Poseidon and Hades were said to decide on how to divide the universe among them by rolling dice. While the three divine brothers had equal power over the earth, the throw of the dice decided that Zeus should be the ruler of the sky, while Poseidon owned the sea and Hades the underworld.

To determine who should be tasked with clearing the table, people from Greenland have invented a game of chance involving a board with a finger that rotates. Whoever gets pointed at by the finger will be the one to do so.

Gambling has also been used for decision-making by some biblical characters. It was said that after Jesus Christ died on the cross, the soldiers that were guarding him gambled for possession of his robes. The term “lot,” which occasionally appears in the Bible, has been said to refer to chance, or to gambling. The outcome brought about by chance is believed to be their God’s way of communicating to them. Thus, the Israelites divided Canaan, or God’s promised land, by lot. Through the use of games of chance, they believed it was God who was making the decision for them.

It is true that we have the power to make decisions instead of depending on pure luck. But sometimes we find ourselves unable to make choices, especially in cases when everything else is equal. Why not leave the final say to chance? So in times when it is virtually impossible to make a decision, gambling may help you arrive at a course of action. So flip a coin?