Is Betting with Friends Legal in 2022?

You’re sitting on your living room couch, watching your favorite game unfolding on the television screen right in front of you. You realize that your favourite football team is locking horns with your best friend’s favorite team. You invite your friend, and a few others, to collectively enjoy the game you all have been waiting for, for weeks. To make matters more interesting, you and your best friend get into an interesting argument about who will win. Your other friends convince you both to place bets on your respective teams, because why not? You both agree and the experience has become more interesting now that your money is at stake.

In this scenario, you are engaging in social gambling. Let’s have a definition first!

What Is Social Gambling?

To properly define social gambling is not an easy task. It’s a huge bracket. For our purpose, we’ll just use a concise definition, which goes like – wagering between friends in a non-public area!

There are certain conditions for betting to fall under ‘social gambling’. First, it must take place in a private area, like your home or your car. Also, all the bettors must be non-professional gamblers. In the above-mentioned scenario, if a $10 bet is placed between you and your friend, it falls safely under the social gambling bracket. On the contrary, if you are managing books and involving dozens of people in your locality, it won’t arrive under social gambling but regular gambling.

We can imagine there are millions of dollars that change hands in such small bets every year. But do we know if that seemingly harmless activity comes under the reach of law? Do you ever wonder if betting with friends is legal in your country or state? Is it not allowed without a license from the respective government authorities? What are the conditions? What are the legal aspects of social gambling?

As you can imagine, the laws work differently for social gambling and full-scale professional gambling.

Gambling that is not conducted as a business and involves players, generally friends, who bet on equal terms with each other is also categorized as a gamble. However, the below-mentioned points must apply:

  • The player who wins the bet isn’t entitled to receive anything other than the gambling money in winnings, directly or indirectly.
  • No other person, other than the ones engaged in the particular gamble, receives any benefit from the activity. It also includes benefits of proprietorship or unequal advantage in gambles.

Legally speaking, gambling laws differ from country to country and state to state. Read on to understand different legal aspects associated with social gambling. But first, let’s take a quick look at the historical context of gambling as a fun activity between friends.

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Social Gambling Throughout the History

Gambling is not an alien concept. It has seeped into our culture since prehistoric times. There is ample proof dating back to the Indus Valley Civilization and the Mesopotamian Civilization that betting between friends was a regular practice. It was seen as a game of luck by many cultures while a game of skill by others.

  • In the ancient Indian mythological epic ‘Mahabharata’, there is a mention of a gamble between two cousins, which ends up with the righteous brother losing everything he owned to his paternal cousin.

Hence, in Indian culture, gambling is associated with loose moral ethics and is considered a bad practice. Despite that, it’s a ritual in India to gamble around auspicious festivals such as Holi and Diwali.

  • One of the prominent and quite rich in history and culture – ancient Rome. Many researchers have shown that the commoners engaged in fun gambling during the Gladiator matches. It was legal as well as considered as a great deal of fun and socially healthy activity. Even during the ancient Olympic games, gambling was a regular practice. Everyone, from poor to the rich, was associated with gambling in one way or another.

Let’s take a look at the different laws related to social gambling around the world.

Countries That Permit Social Gambling

Speaking of modern times, there are some countries that have completely illegalized social gambling. It is mostly due to the issues associated with morality and the psychological impacts of losing a gamble. Great Russian novelist, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, related gambling with the psychology of ‘getting rich quick without hard work’.

On the world stage, there is no single international law regarding gambling. It is mostly due to the issues associated with morality and the psychological impacts of losing a gamble and mostly depends on individual countries on the national level and the state level. There is not one single form of gambling and depends upon the scale of the gambling activities as countries forge their laws around it.

India, China, the UK, the US, Finland, and Australia are a few big markets for gambling markets to thrive.

  • In India, the laws are depending upon how large the scale of business is to consider its legality. For example, there are bets placed among friends in WhatsApp groups between friends without any legal issue pestering the participants. However, if gambling is made into a full-scale business, it might not be nicely looked upon by the law authorities.
  • There are countries like Brunei and the United Arab Emirates, where gambling of any form is prohibited due to cultural and religious reasons.
  • North Korea, the hermit kingdom, has also put a ban on gambling unless it’s the foreign tourists doing it.

Gambling Laws Differ According to the Law of the Land

For other countries, the gambling laws are different from state to state.

  • In the United States of America, there is a separate law for gambling. But the range of legality of different types of gambling mostly differs from state to state.
  • In Japan, gambling was illegal for a long time, but recently, many casinos have shown up in the country and sports betting has been legalized.

However, one thing to keep in mind is that the type of gambling decides whether the practice is legal or not in the said country or state.

When it comes to social gambling, it might be illegal in many countries but small bets placed between friends are hard to trace, and hence, they take place very frequently between friends or a group of friends, even in the places where gambling is illegal.

We believe that gambling is present everywhere in one form or another. As we mentioned above, it is almost impossible to keep a tab on social gambling that takes place behind closed doors in private properties. Hence, it might be a good option to regulate the gambling practices so that it remains under the legal jurisdictions.

Why Is It Important Whether Something Qualifies as “Social Gambling”?

It is important to be able to distinguish between social gambling and full-blown professional gambling due to a number of reasons. One of the key reasons is the law being drastically different between different forms of gambling.

For example, in the state of Nevada, the USA, several types of social gambling are legal, while others are not. Gambling in social gatherings such as private poker sessions and social clubs between friends is largely considered harmless. On the other hand, if the same group of friends indulges in different social gambling such as private animal fights, these activities fall under illegal social gambling and can lead to arrest and punishment as per the law.

Hence, before one decides to go for the ‘quick money’ route via social gambling, one must first learn the difference between permissible social gambling and illegal social gambling. This single factor can decide whether you go home with money or jail time.

More Countries Are Legalizing Social Gambling

However, as social gambling becomes more widespread, many countries have taken steps to legalize all social gambling. On February 14, 2022, the Singapore parliament brought a new bill to legalize social gambling in a historic step. While it was not completely illegal prior to the new legislation, it did not come under any government jurisdiction. But after forging a law on social gambling, it has become more important for the residents of Singapore to learn what actually qualifies as social gambling. The laws will be clearly mentioned and gambling is permissible within those set parameters. Not adhering to them could mean the violation of the law and the gambler can face punishment.

Hence, one needs to understand the law related to social gambling in their own country, or state as the rules and regulations are prone to vary.

Let’s have a look into a hypothetical scenario:

  • For example, imagine you are sitting in a pub, watching a football game with a friend of yours. You both decide to spice things up and place $10 bets on your respective teams. In this scenario, you are not in a private space, but a public space with lots of people around. That’s fine in the eyes of law.
  • However, in another scenario, a few other watchers, complete strangers to you, decide to join in on the betting fun and chip in $10 bills each. Now that’s not private social gambling anymore and now it has become a ‘business’ and hence, the easy rules of social gambling might not apply in this situation.

Thus, it further becomes more important to draw a clear line between harmless social gambling and ‘gambling’ to avoid legal consequences.

Speaking of consequences, let’s see what can be the consequences of seemingly fun and harmless social gambling?

What Are the Consequences If You Are Betting with Friends?

Gambling, whether social or regular, is not really considered an ideal and moral thing to do. In case you have decided to not heed the advice of your well-wishers and are going to gamble your money with your friends to your heart’s content, the consequences can be not so fun. Apart from legal impacts, which are few in the case of social gambling, there are more emotional effects that can influence a person badly – sometimes, financially, or mentally.

Psychological Consequences of Social Gambling

Gambling is fun, there is no denying that. However, every fun thing in this world comes with its own set of consequences. No matter how harmless a good round of social gambling seems, there are some psychological wrecks that come with this habit that can affect a person’s everyday life.

Let’s take a story as an example. Peter is addicted to social gambling. He invites his friends over during a baseball game and encourages everyone to bet money. He is too confident in his abilities to predict the outcome of the game and therefore, he bets a huge amount. But as it turns out, this was one of those rare times when he was wrong! Now, unable to digest his loss, the alpha within Peter strikes and he refuses to pay. This leads to an argument and then to a fight. It doesn’t end well for any party. The friendships have ended and Peter feels depressed for days. If the situation spirals out of control, it can also lead Peter to appear in front of the court.

Social gambling might lead to such levels where a person doesn’t need to find work anymore and wait for the next opportunity to gamble some money. Also, if a person gets addicted to gambling of any form, it results in helplessness and anxiety. Sometimes, in many witnessed cases, individuals fall into clinical depression and seek sanctuary in rehabilitation centers.

Another reason many cultures and countries have illegalized gambling is due to it being a rabbit hole of sorts. Once a person finds pleasure in an apparently harmless activity such as social gambling, it usually leads them on a downward spiral and it becomes a never-ending chain that requires too much willpower and determination to break.

Legal Consequences

Some countries have extremely stringent laws for gambling while other countries are a bit lenient on the same.

Let’s consider some rules around the world:

  • In Islam religion, gambling of any form is strictly prohibited. Hence, in Islamic countries such as the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan, there are strict laws that prohibit gambling of any sort, even if it’s between friends in a game of cards. The violators of the laws can be subjected to one year or more in prison.
  • In UAE, if someone is found to be gambling even one Dirham, they will have to pay a fine or face imprisonment. The fine begins with $50,000. That’s too much cost for a small moment of pleasure.
  • In India, if you are found to be indulging in illegal social gambling activities, you can be imprisoned for 3 months or slapped with a fine or both.
  • In the west, such as Europe and the USA, the laws are much easier, there are consequences depending upon the local law bodies.

Hence, it further becomes more critical for you to understand the ‘permissible’ social gambling. You need to draw a line that keeps you from wandering into illegal territory, in case you don’t want to be labeled as a criminal.

Social Consequences

Many cultures have looked down on gambling as an immoral practice. While the state laws can be different, the cultural practices work differently. They believe that gambling can lead to more crimes such as prostitution, drug trafficking and human exploitation. We have seen enough Hollywood films where the main bad guy begins with a small social gambling practice and ends up owning crime syndicates.

So, even if your state or country law allows gambling, your society may not be as kind to you. For example, while India has legalized gambling to some extent, India is also home to the third-largest Muslim population in the world. So even if a Muslim indulges in social gambling permissible by the law, his family won’t appreciate it. It can lead to banishment from society among other social troubles. This is because Islam strictly prohibits gambling.

The consequences of social gambling might be overlooked by many but one needs to be aware of the negative impacts it can have on their lives.

How to Bet on Sports with Friends?

If we keep the legal and social inhibitions behind, betting is quite a lot of fun. While gambling big with professional bookkeepers might not be as fun as it sounds, placing small bets between your friend circle can heighten the enjoyment you are gaining from the game. There are multiple types of betting that you can indulge in during live games. You can win the bragging rights, a couple of beers, or a $10 fresh bill, depending upon the wagers.

We have brought to you some interesting ways to place bets with your friends during your favorite game.

Winner/Loser Bet

This is the most common, playful and harmless bet there is. It depends on the outcome of the game. One team wins and one team loses, that happens in every game. What also happens is that every group of friends has at least one person who doesn’t like the team that all others do. Hence, to place a bet on which team will emerge victoriously can be quite fun.

For example, let’s say Manchester is playing with Chelsea in the English premier league final. You and your roommate support different teams. You declare Chelsea as the winner while your friend is certain about Manchester’s victory. You place bets, which can be anything from petty cash, to the next round of drinks to the next supply of groceries. It can be fun, depending on how ‘honest’ your friend is when it comes to sticking to promises.

Play Outcome Bet

This type of bet is a bit more specific. Let’s consider the same scenario again. You are supporting Chelsea while your friend is still thinking Manchester will win the league. In the play outcome bet, you can choose a player and place your bet on him. For example, your friend says Ronaldo will score a goal within the next 15 minutes. If he doesn’t, you win. If he does, you lose.

This is the simplest and perhaps one of the most common ways to bet on sports. This type of bet is more fun in a way that it offers enjoyment throughout the game. So, while the winner/loser bet can only be placed once in a game, the play outcome bet can run throughout the match.

Player Bet

This is another more popular way of betting with your friends during a sports game. It’s more like a play outcome bet in a way. In this bet, you can choose one player each and bet on which of them will score the most. For instance, you’re watching an India vs Australia cricket match with your friend. You choose Virat Kohli as your player and your friend chooses David Warner. Whoever scores more runs will decide who’s the winner of the bet between you and your friend.

There are multiple wagers you can place between you and your friend. You can bet on whoever loses will cook tonight, will play for the next bar outing, or will clean the entire house. It’s all good fun!

Now that we have had an introduction to how sports betting with friends can be done, let’s take a look at the fun ways for betting with friends on sports.

Fun Ways to Bet on Sports with Your Friends

Most people find it very convenient to refer to online sportsbooks in order to place bets on sports. While this way is more organized, clear and preferred by the more professional bettors who aim at winning big amounts, betting with your friends adds a social charm to it. It’s definitely good entertainment, betting on your highly anticipated game with your favourite people in the world, but it’s largely disorganized. There are no clear rules and people might refuse to honour their bets and refuse to pay.

But what if we say that there are multiple ways to make sports bets with your friends without any such trouble? Let’s take a look at a few fun ways to bet on sports with your friends.

Create a Betting Pool

Creating a betting pool happens to be among the most popular ways to bet with your loved ones. It generally involves a major sporting tournament such as the FIFA World Cup or the Division I Men’s basketball tournament. In such sports events, the fun is generally extracted from the fact that unpredictability levels are too high. The seemingly weaker teams can sometimes upset the powerful teams and it becomes an entertaining and thrilling way to place bets.

To create a betting pool, you need to use the bracket format. The first step is collecting money from all your interested friends. You print off the bracket and list the scoring system on it. Then distribute the printed brackets to your friends. The participants select the winner of every game and they gain money if they are right and lose if they are not. One amazing feature of the betting pool is that the participant who’s on a losing streak initially can make up for it in the later rounds. The deeper we get into the tournament, the bigger the risk and higher the rewards.

There are also multiple other similar ways to go about this system. There is a bidding pool, box pool, lottery pool, etc. available to give you the same high. However, these other ways are not nearly as simple and uncomplicated as a simple betting pool.

Host a Betting Party

Sports betting parties are pretty common worldwide where sports are an essential part of their cultures and everyday lives. In order to go ahead with this kind of party, you need to first inform the guests that there will be betting involved. Hence, the interested participants will bring some extra money to be able to bet. It doesn’t have to mean that everybody that attends the party will have to participate. After all, it’s always nice to have a few spectators.

The best way to initiate a betting party is through prop wagers. Online sportsbooks can be a great help in that. You can find the bets there, depending upon the sport, and offer the bets separately to the guests. Everybody makes a different bet on each preposition. There can be a $5 bet on every bet or there can be a single big bet where everyone pays $25 to enter. There is another way to go about it. All the bets can be offered in a single contest and the guest who correctly guesses most wagers must be declared the winner.

This way, y’all can still enjoy the game while having fun with your friends risking a few dollars.

Use Peer-to-Peer Sports Betting Apps

As we have mentioned earlier, there are countless betting websites that thrive on the ones interested in an online sportsbook. The sportsbook sets a line and you and the fellow bettors decide which line is more beneficial for you.

However, in more recent years, even the online betting market has gotten through a dramatic shift. Peer-to-peer betting apps are the new rage among social gamblers. These apps allow you and your friend to bet on different sides of the lines and try out your individual luck. You can also form groups on the apps which makes it similar to playing fantasy sports. Your group sets wagers through a specific time period to test out who guesses the most lines right.

However, what can be a possible deal-breaker for many bettors is the fact that no real money is on the line in these apps. Additionally, you have to buy that ‘fake’ money through real money from time to time in order to further your usage of the application. This can still be fun in many ways though. But not for sure who are hell-bent on risking some real money for the sake of the hormonal rush attached with gambling.

One upside to peer-to-peer sports betting apps is that it removes all complications involved with hosting a party or printing off brackets. This option is strictly out there for harmless gambling with your closest buddies without any money at stake.

Final Note

Social Gambling, also known as Private Gambling, is a fun activity that has been prevalent in human society since ancient times. But we must keep in mind that everything comes with a cost and gambling is something that is extremely addictive. Gambling addiction is a very real phenomenon that can have social, cultural, psychological, and legal consequences.

Do proper research regarding the gambling laws in your country and state. With that away, gather your best friends, chip in that extra $10 you found in your old trouser, and enjoy some gambling fun!

FAQs

Can you gamble at home with your friends?

Social gambling is largely considered a harmless activity and is lawfully accepted by a majority of countries around the world. However, some countries such as UAE and Bahrain have criminalized every form of gambling.

But for the majority of countries, it is completely legal.

Can you gamble for other people?

Yes, with mutual consent, you can gamble for other people. However, the person you are gambling for should fall under the minimum age required to be legally able to gamble. In short, you can’t gamble for a minor. Otherwise, it should be no problem.

What is the difference between social gambling and normal gambling?

Social gambling generally takes place between two or more friends in a private setting. Regular gambling takes place usually between strangers in a public place or an online platform.

Was gambling permissible in ancient times?

Gambling has a long history. The earliest evidence of social gambling as a pastime, or profession, can be found in the ruins of the Indus Valley Civilization and the ancient Roman Empire.