This thesis examines the recent popularity of gambling and the reasons that people choose to gamble. Television has now devoted at least five shows to Texas Hold'em Poker. This is an important phenomenon because gambling, which has often been seen as a deviant activity, is now a mainstream activity that takes place in homes, bars, and casinos across America. This thesis focuses on the reasons behind the popularity and how it became a legitimate activity. It will also look at the reasons that people choose to gamble and why it is such a popular activity. I draw from functionalist, conflict, and symbolic interactionists to help me understand gambling in America. Through participant observation and interviews, my research looks at college students and their involvement in gambling as well as people of all ages who participate in free poker tournaments. My research will show that the two main reasons people choose to gamble are based on the opportunity to make money and the social interactions that gambling provide.


Nurse, Anne M.


Sociology and Anthropology

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis

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