The Gambling Fascination

It may come as no real surprise, but there is certainly a fascination element to gambling in all its forms that makes it so attractive to people. There are those that enjoy indulging in the occasional flutter and others that like to bet regularly on all manner of things.

There are many that oppose all forms of gambling from political lobbyists to religious and moral crusaders. Some would have it banished in all its forms from our modern, enlightened society.

So what is so appealing about gambling? This article takes a look at the fascination of gambling and explores what it is that attracts so many people to its participation.

Historic Origins

When you look back on historical records of human civilization, even before the concept of money as an exchange mechanism existed, people took risks and gambled with a wide range of commodities including their very lives. In early civilizations, life itself was a day to day risk, with the threat of attack from wild animals or rival tribes a constant worry.

People risked their lives when hunting their food, because one wrong move could turn the tables and render the hunter the main course on a large, hungry animal's menu.

As civilization moved forward and people began living in more stable environments, the risk of being killed by a wild animal became less of a hazard. In its place, warring factions became a deadly game played by the wealthy landowners and monarchs in which ordinary people became the expendable pawns, with the spoils going to the victorious.

In less deadly circumstances, we know from early records that people gambled on all manner of events as far back as biblical times. These included the outcome of public events, for example the often parodied Roman gladiator tournaments or slaves being pitted against lions in the coliseums of the day.

So risk-taking is nothing new. Experts believe it is a natural part of our makeup and an instinctive program designed to force our ancestors to take risks in order to survive.

Why is Gambling so Exciting?

It doesn't take a lot of imagination to figure out that there is an incredible amount of excitement attached to the anticipation of winning a large sum of money on the outcome of an event. It's why casinos are so popular and attract millions of people through their doors every year.

It's hard to remain unemotional when you are standing by a roulette table where you have just placed some chips and the wheel is spinning with the ball bouncing around before it comes to rest on what you hope will be your number. It's just a part of human nature to become exciting at the prospect of getting something large in exchange for something small.

What's So Appealing About Gambling?

It is quite a common ponderance for many to wonder what is so appealing about gambling and what happens in a person's mind to amplify that appeal?

A big part of gambling's attraction is that it's often seen as an easy way to get a lot of money for a small outlay. This fact is borne out by the popularity of national or state lotteries. The first prize can be huge for a relatively tiny stake, yet even though people are well aware the odds of winning the first prize are astronomical, they would rather spend their dollar on a lottery ticket than spend it at the racecourse.

This could be explained by the fact that even though the odds are much more down to earth with most forms of sports betting, the potential winnings are low in comparison to the value of the stake. Most people appear to prefer to accept the tiniest chance of winning a huge jackpot in preference to a more realistic winning chance where the prize is not so exciting.

Just for Fun

Then there is the purely entertainment element to gambling's appeal. Many people enjoy getting together with friends around a table to play cards for low stakes. Others like to visit casinos to play blackjack or craps where there is some participant involvement in the game with a cash prize at the end of it for the winner.

This is gambling for enjoyment, where the fascination is not so much focused on the big win, but on the potential for smaller or incremental wins over time. There is an element of skill in the betting strategy for some games such as blackjack which appeals to those who like to get interactive with their game and feel like they have some small control over the game's outcome.

As long as there is a chance for winning more than they are staking on a bet, people will gamble. It's part of our nature and provides us with an outlet for our need to improve in some way.

Whether that's the right channel for that particular need is subject to debate. But for the most part and where it does not become a social problem, the fascination for gambling will continue for as long as we exist in our present form.