In recent years, psychology has been investigating the deeper motivations that lead people to gamble. Although there may be several personal reasons that lead to gambling, there tend to be three overarching reasons present in the vast majority of gamblers.
The pleasure of risk
A major current argues that it is human nature to want to take risks, and it is easy to make the connection as to how this leads people to gamble. Taking risks arouses a positive emotion when waiting for the outcome of the bet. As a result of this effect, prolonged gambling will increase the adrenaline circulating in the body. The adrenaline rush will begin to wear off if no monetary reward is seen, leading to greater risk-taking in an attempt to feel the same effect again. Controlling this effect is what makes the difference from addictive play to conscious play.
A form of escapism
For some, gambling is a form of escapism from real life. The décor of physical casinos and the way online websites are designed to stimulate the senses and minimise negative feelings towards bad outcomes, increasing the chances of returning because one feels comfortable. These aspects combined with the basic mechanism of adrenaline combine to develop a sense of escapism.
Another common reason why people turn to gamble is that it has become a way to be with others. Gambling is an extremely popular social event, with different games suitable for different generations. There may be situations where older people have as their only social opportunity going to bingo with their friends or playing cards. Younger generations might also enjoy more traditional casinos because they offer them the opportunity to play while with friends. Having a collective interest in something like gambling can make someone feel less alone and more like part of a community.
The context of online slots
The whole community aspect of online slots indeed seems to be disappearing, with much more emphasis on playing for risk and feeling the adrenaline rush of winning. However, a certain sociality is spreading with online slots as well, with streamers playing live as hundreds of people interact with them. Of course, it’s not like being in a casino, but it’s also not like being in a bubble in front of a screen.