Are these board games considered as gambling?

A. Checkers?

B. Four in a row?

C. Othello?

Edit: Would it be appropriate to allow children (ages < 18) to play these board games? (On the computer or tablet devices, etc.) Do they lend themselves to gambling (on line or otherwise) like poker?

  • 4
    It is unclear what you are asking here. People can gamble using pretty much any game in the world if they want to.
    – GendoIkari
    May 2, 2014 at 3:17
  • 2
    Do you mean gambling as in taking a chance, or gambling as in betting money? Generally any game involves taking chances, but betting money is situational. Of the games you list none involve betting in the rules, but there are always ways to introduce it. May 2, 2014 at 3:30
  • 3
    "Considered" by whom? There are neo-puritans who say anything they do not understand is sinful; but most people would think persuading teenagers to play these games an achievement, let alone allowing them. May 2, 2014 at 19:54
  • Given your update, it sounds like this question would be better asked in the parenting stack exchange. It is really just a matter of opinion what games are appropriate for what kids. But there's nothing inherent in the games that is more gambling-like than any other game.
    – GendoIkari
    May 4, 2014 at 21:23

1 Answer 1


I am not a lawyer, and have experience only in Ontario, but under Ontario law wagering on games of skill is not gambling. In a well-known case from the 1960's or early 1970's, in which the St. Clair Bridge Studio was defending itself against charges of running a gambling house, barrister and bridge player Eric Murray in his winning defence argued that bridge is a game of chance only as played by the justices of the Ontario Superior Court, in chambers. This despite the obvious fact that there clearly is a substantial element of luck in the cards dealt to each side on every particular deal.

As all of Chequers, Othello and Four in a Row are games with absolutely no element of chance whatever, and perfect information, under Ontario Law I believe none of them would be regarded as games of chance for which wagering would be prohibited.

  • This is a hoary perennial, and everyone in any court system has a favourite story. Mine is the publican hauled before London magistrates for allowing darts to be played in his bar. When the bench doubted whether he could prove it was truly a game of skill, he set up a dartboard in court and scored triple twenty three times. May 2, 2014 at 19:38

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