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As I may make a free gift of my own property to another if I choose, so I may agree with another to hand over to him a sum of money if the issue of a game of cards is other than I expect, while he agrees to do the same in my favour in the contrary event.Theologians commonly require four conditions so that gaming may not be illicit.There must be no fraud in the transaction, although the usual ruses of the game may be allowed.It is unlawful, accordingly, to mark the cards, but it is permissible to conceal carefully from an opponent the number of trump cards one holds.Two of the oldest (41, 42) among the so-called canons of the Apostles forbade games of chance under pain of excommunication to clergy and laity alike.The 79th canon of the Council of Elvira (306) decreed that one of the faithful who had been guilty of gambling might be, on amendment, restored to communion after the lapse of a year.In the United States the subject lies outside the province of the Federal Government, but many of the States make gambling a penal offence when the bet is upon an election, a horse-race, or a game of chance.Betting contracts and securities given upon a bet are often made void.

It is obvious that the moral aspect of the question is not essentially different if for a game of chance is substituted a horse-race, a football or cricket match, or the price of stock or produce at some future date.The issue must depend on chance, as in dice, or partly on chance, partly on skill, as in whist.Moreover, in ordinary parlance, a person who plays for small stakes to give zest to the game is not said to gamble; gambling connotes playing for high stakes.Although the issue in these cases seldom depends upon chance, still the moral aspect of betting upon it is the same in so far as the issue is unknown or uncertain to the parties who make the contract.Time bargains, difference transactions, options, and other speculative dealings on the exchanges, which are so common nowadays, add to the malice of gambling special evils of their own.

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