casino culture
n. A culture in which low-percentage money-making schemes — such as high-tech stocks, day trading, lotteries, and domain name speculation — become mainstream investment vehicles.

Example Citations:
For only the second time in my life, I feel — I just know — I can be rich, too. We are programmed from birth to believe this. If we forget it from time to time, there’s a whole casino culture out there to remind us — Las Vegas and Atlantic City, Wall Street, TV commercials, lotteries.
—Paul Farhi, “The Fortunate 500,” The Washington Post, February 28, 1999

“In the 20th century, a prime means of acquiring wealth has been through gambling,” said Boskin. “The numbers racket was hugely popular. Now it’s the lottery. The whole casino culture has crept into society, from boardwalks to our riverboats. Game shows are an extension of this.”
—Kathy McCabe, “Wannabe Tales From the Game Show Wars, From Those Who’ve Been to the Mountain and Sniffed the Big Money,” The Boston Globe, January 30, 2000

Earliest Citation:
The trades take place beneath the incongruously paired pictures of Mahatma Gandhi, the Indian independence leader who eschewed worldly possessions, and Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth.

But the deals are far from godly, critics say. G.S. Patel, former chairman of India’s largest mutual fund, charged in a speech in February that the exchanges were creating “a casino culture.”
—Eileen Alt Powell, “Party’s Over In India As Boom Goes Bust,” The Associated Press, September 28, 1987

Notes:
A nod to subscriber Randall Stebbins for suggesting today's Word Spy.

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