Gambling, in the literal sense, is playing a game involving monetary wagers. The simplest form is wagering on the result of a coin flip: either you guess correctly and you win the amount of your wager (plus you have your wager returned), or you guess correctly and lose the amount of your wager.
Gambling in a broader sense is not restricted to money. For instance, giving up some immediate equity for long-term equity in a chess game is, in this loose sense, gambling. (If this involves a sacrifice in material, this is called a gambit; although these words are similar, there is apparently no etymological relationship.)
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