Raffles As Gambling
Raffles are not commonly associated with gambling, but are in fact exactly that; a simple form of gambling. The only real difference between buying a raffle ticket and playing a slot machine is the odds of wining, and how the game is presented. And, one should keep in mind; the odds of winning when playing a slot machine are infinitely better. Raffles are dressed up to seem like more then simply buying a ticket and hoping for the best, but the basis of the system is always the same; the more people buy tickets, the less chance each person has of winning a prize. Raffles, therefore, are similar in a sense to tote betting, which involves bet makers at a race track winning money based on how many others made the same bet, should that bet win. That is to say, the more people that participate, the worse for any individual bet maker.
A coin board involves people buying tickets, with the potential for ticket numbers to match up with prizes. It is unknown which ticket will grant a prize, of course, so each person is essentially gambling on a ticket having any value at all. What makes a coin board stand apart from other forms of raffles is that the prizes are seductively presented on a board, with winning ticket numbers displayed beside each prize.
The prizes may be a large cash sum, or, in days of old, might have been a coin of considerable value, hence the name coin board. The act of displaying the prizes does not make the chance of winning any better, or the process of simply buying a ticket and hoping for the best any different, it is simply a matter of presenting a gambling game in a way that is enticing. What is also most interesting about these games is that they are acceptable in places where other forms of gambling would simply not be.
Another interesting aspect of coin boards is how they evolved over the years. Instead of offering cash prizes, coin boards began to offer merchandise instead. Items of value would be placed on the board, with ticket buyers having the chance to win the object. The prizes are generally of moderate value, but in most cases far less value then the cash previously offered. Those buying tickets, however, are not aware of the exact value of the prizes.
The prizes, therefore, offered a similar allure while reducing the amount having to be paid out by event organisers. Similar tactics can be seen in carnivals, or in old-fashioned video game arcades, where tickets earned at games bought prizes of little monetary value. The trick is to find prizes that have sentimental value, as apposed to real value. A teddy bear sells itself on the cute factor, getting a positive response from almost everyone, depending on the design of the toy. Material and stuffing, however, has very little monetary value, and is not at all expensive. A teddy bear, therefore, is a way to sell stuffing and material at a much higher value then it is worth.