The Big Why: Why Do People Gamble?

Reasons of gambling habit

Whether it’s out of thrill-seeking or because of DNA, I wanted to find out why people place their bets on gambling.

The data is astounding. According to the Economist, in 2013, US residents gambled away a total of USD 119 billion. Think about that. The top three richest people today on the Forbes’ list are Bill Gates (at a net worth of USD 79.2 billion, Carlos Slim Helu (net worth USD 77.1 billion) and Warren Buffet (net worth USD 72.7 billion.) Each ultra-rich guy makes less than the gambling industry. Of course, the gambling industry comprises numerous entities, but still. That’s a lot. So, it got me thinking. Why do people gamble? Surely, not everyone wins all the time. Or does a major part of the whys consist of one-timer American players?

• Escapism plays a part
• We feel lavish thanks to casinos
• Wishes and dreams are imperative

Other countries with high “money-gambled-away” rates include China (USD 76 billion,) Japan (USD 31.4 billion) and Italy (USD 23.9 billion) to mention some. However, if we count the amounts gambled away per person, the United States is the fifth on the Economist’s list and the ranks are lead by Australia, Singapore and Finland. An expert of H2 Gambling Capital, Simon Holliday, predicts that by 2020, China will become the world’s largest gambling market. Fancy that. And here, we’re talking about everything: live games, Internet casinos, mobile betting sites and so on and so forth.

Why people gamble is usually a combination of five elements

The most obvious reason that people gamble is their friends. People socialize by going out and having a good time with others, and gambling is an activity that is fun, thrilling and can be a great bonding experience. The Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling reports that 80% of Americans gamble in some form, be it scratch cars, poker, sports betting or any other form that comes to mind. All of these can be done – and are more fun – with friends or family. Another reason for gambling is the thrill: we get a surge of dopamine coursing through our veins each time we risk something and wait for it to pay off.

Gambling Addiction

Unfortunately, the third reason as to why people gamble is not a positive one. There are some gamblers out there who spend so much time on, for example, mobile casino gambling sites, that they forget their real life. Some of them even fall into the mistake of overrating their own capabilities, when in fact they are not professional gamblers. They tend to forget about the times they lost and set up a false rate which points to them consistently beating the odds. This is called the Dunning-Kruger Effect. For some, it is the surge of winning (which, let’s face it, is a great feeling) and for some, it is the feat of coming very close to winning, but losing in the end. To each his own, I guess.

Give it a boost!

Fourth, some people simply gamble to add something extra to their lives. Either they want to escape from problems, or the boredom of their everyday life. Gambling also gives hope. Each time someone gambles, they have the amount of money they could win floating in front of their eyes. And with the prospect of that money, come the abundant dreams of what exactly we could do with that money. Holiday in Tahiti, Bugatti Veyron or a new house? I, for one, always take a tour in wonderland when there’s a slight prospect of winning.

Reasons to Gamble

And last, but definitely not least: gambling gives us an ego-boost. More specifically, the surroundings do. (Not counting the obvious boost in self-confidence that we get when we win…) When we arrive in a Las Vegas casino, or walk into a Monaco poker room, everything around us is opulent and sophisticated. The entrance, the service, people’s attires – the whole vibe screams “Being really rich looks exactly like this.” And, the more you gamble, the more perks you get: free tickets to awesome venues, limo rides, complimentary dinners and stays in suites so beautiful you think you have died and gone to heaven. No wonder then, why people love gambling.

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