My snap answer is the thrill of the unknown and chance at instant monetary gain.
But there is more to it and in this article we will explore the depths of the question.
If we learn why people gamble then we can understand how to help those who need to quit.
We can also help ourselves to know when to stop.
We certainly never gamble as a solution to financial problems. If we gamble to try to solve a financial problem then we are very stupid indeed. Would you jump into the deep sea to learn to swim?
We are never going to say this is a reason to gamble. So what happens inside a gambler's head and what emotions flood the brain? Lets just mention that the industry is growing and there are more people starting to gamble than ever. The industry is worth 460 Billion in 2020. This comes from a gambling population of 4.2 Billion. 460 divided by 4.2 is $109 per person. It’s interesting to think about those numbers. It’s growing too.
Putting your money on the line for fun or other reasons can lead to addiction and ruin your life.
So a deep personal analysis of your gambling should be undertaken regularly. So with the ever increasing number of gamblers the question is even more relevant.
Reasons Why People Gamble: It’s More Than The Money
We have said that trying to solve financial problems by gambling is *ridiculous, but if you have a solid income you can play for money because you can afford to lose. You should never gamble with more than you can afford to lose.
* It is important to remember that many people make vast sums of money gambling. However, the difference between those who do make money and those who don't is based solely on their skill, knowledge, and experience. The naive gambler [which is pretty much all gamblers even though they think they have skill] is that they have no chance of beating the informed, skilled, layer whether bookmaker or individual. It is important to appreciate this distinction between the naive and informed because it would, in my opinion, be foolish not to accept this point. Even bookmakers go out of business do to poor judgement. John McCririck is one example from failed bookie to successful racing pundit.
Some Reasons Why You Might Gamble:
Winning money to have a flashier lifestyle
To feel the winning feeling is a thrill
Improving social skills and passing some time
Using it as a way to cope with a problem
Showing off skills
There is a clear feeling involved with gambling. This comes because you risk something. If you play with fake money it feels completely different. The hormone dopamine gives us a feel good feeling that is addictive and momentarily a good thing. When we win levels increase dramatically, but losing does the opposite. There is always the next bet which could lead to a good feeling- we kid ourselves. As a gambler you need to realise what is happening if you are to control it.
Gambling can be a release, a way of coping with some other problems. A reason people may gamble but it’s not a good reason to play. If you lose the negative feelings will compound and you are even further away from solving your problems.
Note: From my years of gambling I have realised many gamblers struggle with discipline, whether they bet large or small stakes. This is why many never progress from the basic, naive, perspective rather than wishing to learn from valuable experience. Without a willful endeavour to learn and hone your skills you just repeat the same mistakes and lose. It is the same as a student going to college for 30-years and not learning anything. All gamblers need reflexivity, self awareness, and self assessment. If you don't consider gambling with the seriousness of a business you are wasting your time, money and life.
Pros and Cons of Gambling
Non gamblers have a negative connotation associated with it. It does have many negative points enough to stop many from even partaking in a gamble.
Note: In my opinion people who are anti-gambling are as naive as those they watch lose. Why? Because understanding the truth of what gambling involves is actually a skill which can benefit many in life. It is truly naive to think you don't gamble on a day to day basis. These skills can help individuals appreciate risk and opportunity. However, you need the skill to appreciate it's worth. Once again, the naive punter doesn't come close to understanding anything and why for many it is a road to destruction.
We will look at both sides:
Monetary Gain (possibly)
Winning Feeling Dopamine Release
Study Form Learn About Odds and Improving Maths Skills
Meet New People
Entertainment & Casinos Environment
Free Food and Drink
Losing Money (likely)
Depression feeling bad with a big loss
Getting into Debt
Losing Investments (e.g. Property)
Forget what you see at the movies, there are no James Bond moments in your future (this is true, but not impossible because there are people who make millions from gambling).
One day you could potentially turn into a professional gambler but it’s not for most. Even the pros lose big getting to where they are. And there are many who lose a great deal and don’t recover. They lose homes and their marriages fall apart. It quite literally ruins their own life. They lose control of their ability to stop and they are addicted.
They need professional help.
Casino Gambling Vs Online
Visiting a land based casino comes with some perks like free food and drinks give or take. You meet others and can have a fun evening if you play within your rules and don’t deviate. The ambiance is also a reason to visit, casinos are clean and comfortable. You will also feel the vibe of seeing others win and lose. It’s an entirely different experience playing roulette at a proper table than an online game. Online gambling has taken off allowing people to play and place bets on their mobile phones. It has allowed the industry to grow beyond the land based model. Choose your platforms wisely as there are many scammers out there.
Ways To Avoid Gambling Addiction
Understanding why you gamble is a big part of preventing addiction when you understand how you work and what is making you play when you shouldn’t.
Note: Gambling isn't a bad decision if you work on your skills to be a winner. Buying stocks and shares, Bit Coins, Property...everything is a financial risk without skill. Even with vast knowledge there are no guarantees. However, this is a fact about life itself.
Here are some proven tips you should look into and practise to avoid becoming addicted:
Stick to limits: only gamble that which you can afford to lose (no one can afford to lose money). Leave when you are all out. Do not imagine the next deal is a winner (it could be, but I understand the thought process). Find other activities to replace gambling, this can be very refreshing. You can tell yourself you can always return that can help entice you away. Look at seeing other gamblers less or at all. Start a new hobby. Talk to your family about your gambling no matter what stage you are at. Try not to dwell on the past instead see a new future. Don’t repeat negative behaviour by ignoring your mistakes- learn from them. There is a gambling addiction hotline- use it if you need to.
Note: If you don't learn the skills to be an accomplished gambler you shouldn't bet at all. The trouble is that most people do not understand the pros and cons of gambling until it is all consuming. That's why if you have an interest in gambling paper trail or just play with matchsticks. You will learn more from this approach than actually betting money. The mistake most gamblers make is that they think winning and losing is about money. It is all about knowledge, skill and experience.
Can You Get Rich From Gambling?
For the vast majority of punters it's impossible.
Better advice is to see your losses as paying for your entertainment (or paying for your education if you wish to learn).
There are extreme cases whereby professional gamblers like Bill Benter and Edward E Thorpe have come up tops- by a long way. Bill Benter has amassed a Billion from his endeavours on horse racing. But he is a very talented mathematician who was able to create an algorithm to give him better odds on the outcome of a horse race. Anyone who has made money as a professional will tell you you need a game of skill where the odds are not fixed. (Note: fixed odds make life very difficult to win unless you are an expert card counter, which is easy to spot, or a cheat, which is almost impossible in this day and age).
Games like Blackjack and Sports betting or Poker where you play to a great deal on skill offer some hope to the informed gambler.
How good is your poker face?
So the quick answer is no.
Gambling is not just casinos sports and online. You can look at stocks and shares as an alternative way of gambling. Starting a business is also a gamble. You can make a big difference on the outcome compared to the terrible odds of roulette. (Note: and amazingly roulette in the UK is one of the better gambles in most casinos).