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A bet may be defined as the backing of an affirmation or forecast by offering to forfeit, in case of an adverse issue, a sum of money or article of value to one who, by accepting, maintains the opposite and backs his opinion by a corresponding stipulation.
Although there are no Federal Statutes in the United States on this matter, many of the states make it a penal offence when the bet is upon a horse-race, or an election, or a game of hazard. Betting contracts are also frequently made void. Similarly in Great Britain betting in streets and public places, and the keeping of betting houses are forbidden by law, and wagering contracts are null and void. Such laws are just and useful, inasmuch as they serve to keep within the bounds of decency the dangerous habit of gambling, and the many evils which are usually associated with it.
Although betting is to be discouraged as being fraught with danger, and although it may be morally wrong, still in particular cases it is not necessarily so. As I may give the money of which I have the free disposal to another, so there is nothing in sound morals to prevent me from entering into a contract with another to hand over to him a sum of money if an assertion be found to be true, or if a certain event come to pass, with the stipulation that he is to do the same in my favour if the event be otherwise.
This may be an innocent form of recreation, or a ready way of settling a dispute. However, the practice is very liable to abuse, and that it may be morally justifiable theologians require the following conditions:
LEHMKUHL, Theologia Moralis (Freiburg, 1898), I, n, 1138; BALLERINI, Opus Morale (Prato, 1892), III, 788.
APA citation. (1907). Betting. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02539a.htm
MLA citation. "Betting." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 2. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907. <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02539a.htm>.
Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Vivek Gilbert John Fernandez. Dedicated to all those who work with addicts of one form or another.
Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. 1907. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York.
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