The Drive to Gamble: Reasons Behind Our Love of the Bet

The desire to gamble is most likely engraved in our very DNA

Gambling is so much a part of the woven thread of human experience dating back millenia that it would be hard to imagine our lives without it. But there are so many different forms of gambling that it’s interesting to consider what drives each type of wager. With that in mind, we explore the bettor’s mind, and what draws them to different activities when they get the itch to gamble.

Betting on Sports

First of all, look at all the many ways you can risk your money. You may love to follow professional or collegiate sports, and get an added charge out of putting your hard-earned dollars on the teams you feel most confident about. Whether you then watch these events unfold on TV, in person, or at a casino sports book, you have an extra reason to root, to care who wins. Of course, it’s about the money, but it also almost makes you part of the team, in a way, so it’s a way to get a vicarious thrill out of a career that most of us can only dream about in real life.

Ticket to Paradise: Lotteries

Sports betting allows wagerers to become part of the action

Another popular and easily accessible form of gambling would be lotteries. Besides their proliferation all over the world now, they hold the compelling promise of a life-changing, enormous win for an extremely small investment. Everyone likes to think about what they would do if they won $1, $2 or $100 million dollars. Because tickets are usually easy to purchase at a neighborhood store, that just adds to an easy way to stoke a wonderful daydream for the average Joe or Josette.

The Casino Experience

Then, of course, there’s basic casino gambling, whether online or on land. This is designed to stimulate all your senses – did you know there is a whole science to how casinos are designed to do this via sight and sound? – so generally, either excitement and/or escape are the lures. Let’s be honest: nothing beats the enormous thrill of leaving a casino or turning off your mobile device a few hundred – or a few thousand! – dollars ahead. Of course, the converse can also happen, which is why it’s called “gambling,” but most of us have at some point experienced that delicious high, which is why we keep coming back for more.

Casino gambling has always been a popular pastime; we’re guessing this photo might have pre-dated the Bellagio though

But even within a casino, there are different kinds of thrills,  of course. Some people enjoy the random thrill of games like roulette or slots, while others prefer more mentally challenging games like blackjack and especially, of course, poker. But there might be something even more basic that appeals to us about some of these games. Poker, in particular, is essentially a game of war with no bullets, so it must trigger some ancient need in us to defeat opponents who are trying to take our property. That probably is ingrained in our DNA from caveman days!

Games for the Upper Crust

Then there are games that tend mostly to appeal to high rollers, games like baccarat in particular. The whole aura of being in an exclusive room, your every whim catered to, comped suites and meals and often even more luxuries thrown your way, seem to appeal to many wealthy peoples’ egos. It’s almost like they’re saying: “Look at me, I’m so rich, I can afford to lose six figures in a single session and just see it as a good time.”

Life’s a Gamble

The allure of the room itself is sometimes as compelling to a gambler as the actual game

Of course, when you really think about it, every single thing we do involves gambling, even if money per se isn’t at the end of the action. When we cross the street…get on an airplane…or even eat food off a truck, we are pretty much always taking a gamble on our ability to make it through another day in one piece. Maybe gambling with money just encapsulates that basic human need to feel that we are able to overcome odds – sometimes even great odds – to see things go our way.

Here’s to all your bets paying off big time, wherever your gambling may take you.