From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishgamblegam‧ble1 /ˈɡæmbəl/ ●●○ verb [intransitive, transitive] 1 DGGto risk money or possessions on the result of something such as a card game or a race, when you do not know for certain what the result will be → bet Their religion forbids them to drink or gamble.gamble on Jack loves gambling on the horses.2 RISKto do something that involves a lot of risk, and that will not succeed unless things happen the way you would like them togamble on They’re gambling on Johnson being fit for Saturday’s game.gamble something on something Potter gambled everything on his new play being a hit.gamble that She was gambling that he wouldn’t read it too carefully.gamble with We can’t relax our safety standards – we’d be gambling with people’s lives. —gambler noun [countable] Stevens was a compulsive gambler.THESAURUSgamble to try to win money, for example by playing cards or guessing which horse will win a raceEddie loved to gamble, and would spend most evenings at the roulette table.A growing number of people are gambling online.bet/have a bet to try to win money by guessing who will win a race or gameHe liked to smoke, drink, and bet on horses.Jerry bet $1000 on the game.We had a bet on the Irish team to win.put £10/$20 etc on something to gamble £10, $20 etc on the horse or team that you think will win a race or competitionI put $100 on the Cowboys to win.have a flutter British English informal to gamble a small amount of money, especially on the result of a horse race – used especially when someone does not gamble very oftenI’m not a heavy gambler, but I like to have a flutter from time to time.I had a little flutter on the Grand National and won £5.play for money to gamble money on the result of a game which you are playing‘Are we playing for money here, gentlemen?’ he said as he approached the pool table.You’re allowed to play cards in the bar, but not for money.back to gamble money on a particular horse, team etc that you think will win a race or competitionWhen I back a horse, it always seems to finish second. → gamble something ↔ away→ See Verb table
Examples from the Corpusgamble• Being of very modest means, but having some contacts upon the turf, he attempted to increase his wages by gambling.• At the trial, defense attorney Neal gambled by calling no defense witnesses.• By appealing directly to his fellow-citizens and banking on a generous response, the President may just have gambled correctly.• I let them gamble for the criminals' belongings.• We won $700 gambling in Las Vegas.• By converting pounds to other currencies investors are gambling that the pound will fall.gamble on• He is on probation for illegally gambling on a college basketball game.• We're gambling on the weather being nice for our outdoor wedding.gamble that• The tradition of gambling that had been associated with brutal sports came to be centred on horse-racing and later football.• Aides are gambling that his broken promise of a tax cut on the middle class was never taken seriously.• Are they willing to gamble that history will not repeat itself?• Moved by the pleas of the stranded workmen, Ellis gambled that it could.• Given the current mood, it is a gamble that Mr Barak might easily lose.• The indexes came crashing down, making losers out of many neophyte capitalists gambling that prices would shoot up for ever.• By converting pounds to other currencies investors are gambling that the pound will fall.• A lay-up, it should be said, was jargon for a gamble that was sure to succeed. gamblegamble2 noun [singular] RISKan action or plan that involves a risk but that you hope will succeed It was a big gamble for her to leave the band and go solo.gamble on The gamble on the harvest had paid off (=succeeded). Ellen had to admit the gamble had paid off (=succeeded). In a depressed market, we cannot afford to take a gamble on a new product.COLLOCATIONSverbstake a gambleThe publishers took a gamble on an unknown author, and the books have sold well.a gamble pays off (=succeeds)She gave up a career in law to become an actor, but the gamble has paid off.adjectivesa big gambleIt's a big gamble for any presenter to leave such a successful show.a huge gambleGiving him the job seemed like a huge gamble at the time.a calculated gamble (=one in which you consider the risks very carefully)He made a calculated gamble that an early election would return his party to power.a desperate gambleThe parents took a desperate gamble by throwing their baby out of the burning building.a political gambleHis determination to go ahead with the plan, despite the unrest, was a huge political gamble.phrasesbe a bit of a gamble (=involve a small amount of risk)It was a bit of a gamble putting him on the field, but he played well.be something of a gamble (=involve an amount of risk)A few years ago, launching a weekly magazine for men would have been something of a gamble.
Examples from the Corpusgamble• It is always a little bit of a gamble..• The city's decision to not ration water during the summer was a gamble that paid off.• Smith's mini gamble paid off for two ends later he stole a single to tie the score at 1-1.• At the moment, that gamble seems to be paying off.• And the gamble seems to have paid off.• As it happened, the gamble paid off handsomely.• On Tuesday night, the gamble paid off.• The Union gamble had paid off.It was a ... gamble• It was a gamble of sorts on both sides.• It was a gamble, that the economy could grow fast enough to sustain the repayments.• It was a brave gamble, and in the end they lost it.• It was a considerable gamble, for no existing system seemed adequate to the size of the project.• It was all a gamble, Hong Kong reckoned.• It was time to gamble again.From Longman Business Dictionarygamblegam‧ble1 /ˈgæmbəl/ verb [intransitive, transitive]1FINANCEto risk money on the stockmarket or a new business activity in the hope of making a profitgamble onThe company is gambling on a new clothing line expanding its business.gamble something on somethingThe Hollywood studio gambled £20 million on making the most expensive black-and-white film ever.gamble withThe two men gambled with £6,000 of their savings to establish a research company.2to risk money on the result of something uncertain such as a card game or raceWhile on Madeira, he gambled at the island’s casino.→ See Verb tablegamblegamble2 noun [countable usually singular]FINANCE an action or plan that involves a risk but that you hope will succeedAll stock exchange investment is a gamble.The board decided to embark on aggressive overseas expansion, the biggest gamble it had ever taken.Origin gamble1 (1700-1800) game