The German word "Spiel" might be short and have only one syllable but there’s a whole world of meanings behind it. Normally, a word has one clearly-defined meaning. But the word "Spiel" in German has four different meanings – referred to in game research as the four game forms. The English language is more precise here: it helps us out with four separate words for these four different game forms.
Game research refers to these as move-by-move games, while the general public knows them as card or board games. In such games, players decide on their moves according to the rules of the game.
Researchers use this term to refer to creative games or play such as building games or role playing. It also extends to artistic activities like a play in a theater or “playing” the piano.
This word is used to refer to games in which bets are placed. Players bet, for instance, that a particular number or combination of numbers will be drawn, thrown or otherwise determined. There are many mechanisms for doing so, whereby we generally bet on the result of a game that is determined by chance.
The word sports refers not only to sport in the actual meaning of the word but also to the movement-based games played by children.
The German wordSpiel is used for all four of the activities described above – game, play, gambling and sports. This language “play” demonstrates that there is a risk of addiction in every form of one-sidedness. People can become addicted when they focus solely on one single game form to the exclusion of all other alternatives. This is precisely the goal of responsible gaming and player protection measures: making people aware that gambling is just one possible leisure pursuit and that while they might find it fun and entertaining, they should not forget to maintain the right balance.
The following video offers further insights into the topic of gambling: