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May 1968

Gambling and the Gambler: A Review and Preliminary Findings

Author Affiliations

Los Angeles
From the Department of Psychiatry, Neuropsychiatric Institute, Los Angeles.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1968;18(5):617-630. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1968.01740050105018

GAMBLING is one of the most frequent of man's endeavors. In various forms it occurs universally in all cultures, all ages, and is participated in widely by those of all societies and social strata. Anthropological studies reveal its frequent occurrence in the most primitive of societies, and our modern games of chance are frequently more sophisticated versions of games once played by our forebears. Gambling is held to have originated in primitive man's fascination with divination and primitive justice since, for the archaic mind, nothing, especially an uncertain event, is without cause and effect.1 Here unpredictable events are determined by supernatural agencies to which one can magically appeal for favor or decision. This is illustrated in the indentification of criminals by the casting of lots or by nut spinning in some precivilized cultures.1

The best, as well as the worst,

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