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Why Do People Gamble? This Is
What You Need to Know

Why People Gamble

Archeologists excavated the oldest known dice in Egypt, said to date from sometime between 304 and 30 BC. And Ancient Greek and Roman ceramics depict scenes of citizens betting on animal fights.

People who gamble have been around since the dawn of human civilization.

This article aims to provide some introductory answers to the age-old question, “Why do people gamble?”

Why Do People Gamble? Explained

Almost 80 percent of people in the USA will gamble at some point in their lives.

This is because so many people who gamble thrive on the thrill of chance and risk. Simply put, gambling is fun.

We enjoy watching sports games because we want to see which team will win. We get a kick out of bungee jumping and skydiving because there’s a risk (albeit small) of personal injury.

When someone is gambling, the uncertainty of the situation is exciting. “Will I win or will I lose?” they wonder.

In response, their brain produces a surge of the feel-good neurotransmitter dopamine. This naturally produced chemical high is what keeps the punters returning to the card tables and slot machines.

As the BBC reports, people get a buzz from gambling, even when they lose.

When the Urge to Gamble Takes Over

For a small percentage of the population, placing the odd bet can develop into harmful compulsive gambling.

A doctor will diagnose a patient as a compulsive gambler when it's clear that they can’t control the urge to gamble. The habit negatively affects their finances and social life.

Signs of a Compulsive Gambler

If you think you or someone you know is in danger of becoming a compulsive gambler, there are some well-documented signs to look out for.

These signs include:

  • Organizing your day around when you can gamble.
  • Consistently increasing the amount of money you spend on gambling.
  • Making many unsuccessful attempts to stop gambling.
  • Feeling annoyed or angry if people tell you to stop gambling.
  • Chasing losses: trying to recoup your spending by gambling more.
  • Losing friends and family or your job, or failing at school.
  • Borrowing or stealing money to feed your gambling habit.

Finding it hard to ditch a gambling habit?

In the USA, some state governments and several charities offer programs such as addiction support groups. According to the National Council on Problem Gambling, 40 states had publicly funded support services in 2016.

You can also seek help from health professionals like psychologists, psychiatrists, and counselors. Or consider putting a gambling block on your bank account.

Is Gambling Always Harmful?

While gambling undoubtedly has a dark side, it can also bring some unexpected benefits.

Where do people go to gamble? Usually the closest casino. Casinos provide jobs, money, and business opportunities to local communities. And state and federal governments also rely on gambling taxes to provide essential services to their constituents.

Some people supplement their income through gambling. Professional gamblers make their living from games that need skill as well as chance to win, like poker or blackjack. Others carefully research online casino sites to see which ones offer the best casino bonuses.

Research Into Gambling Continues

There is still a long way to go when it comes to understanding all the personal and societal effects of gambling. Most studies lack the rigor needed to draw conclusive results.

So psychologists, social scientists, addiction researchers, and game makers continue to ask the question, Why do people gamble? The answers they find help us to develop more interesting games, combat addiction, and better understand the human need for play.

To learn more about the different types of gambling that are popular today, browse our articles on online gaming.

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