There are lots of things in life that help us feel happier: being out in the sunshine with our four-legged friends, drinking champagne in luxurious surroundings, speeding downhill on our bike and feeling it pick up speed beneath us… And, according to research, we can add gambling to this list.
You might have thought it was all about winning, but a number of psychological studies suggest it’s not that simple after all. In fact, looking to the evidence, it’s more about the buzz than anything else.
The Feelgood Factor
On the surface, it’s fair to say gambling is about one thing and one thing only: coming away with more money than you had when you started. Yet this simplistic assumption often leads people to ask a glaringly obvious question – if it’s all about being victorious, why do those who lose keep playing?
Recently unveiled research has the answers. According to Mark Griffiths, a psychologist at Nottingham Trent University in the UK, there are actually a whole host of reasons for people to gamble.
In a study of 5,500 participants, the primary driving force for most was – predictably – to ‘win big money’, but it was closely followed by some other more interesting answers, including ‘because it’s fun’ and ‘because it’s exciting’.
As Mr Griffiths explains: “Even when you’re losing while you’re gambling, your body is still producing adrenalin and endorphins. People are buying entertainment.”
Intriguingly, these findings are backed up by an earlier study carried out by the University of Stanford, which showed that although the majority of people (92%) had a ‘loss threshold’ which they wouldn’t exceed, most didn’t particularly mind losing; in fact, it didn’t even impact their overall enjoyment.
Entertainment on sale
What’s important to note about these findings how they paint gambling as a form of entertainment in which players fully understand and appreciate the risk of monetary losses.
In this regard, one could say gambling is little different to any other form of entertainment, in the sense that we also know when we go to the cinema or a bowling alley that we’ll spend money without recouping it, enjoyment being the main aim of the evening.
As study co-author Sridhar Narayanan posits: “People seem to be satisfied with relatively small wins, and will tolerate even smaller losses. They tend to be conscious that, in the long run, they are more likely to lose than win.”
This arguably explains the continual rise in popularity of online gambling outfits. If we look at any feature-packed online enterprise of its kind, we can see how ready people are to partake in this form of entertainment. Enticed in by a plethora of attractive offers, online a casinos allow for people to do their research before they play. For example, a no deposit bonus is a super way to test a casino and whether it’s the right one for you. Most of those who play simply want to enjoy themselves – indeed, for lots of them, winning is an unexpected and pleasant bonus.
Does this mean we’ve been looking at the gambling industry wrong the whole time? One could certainly argue the answer is ‘yes’; that’s what’s being sold is not some unachievable dream after all, but rather just another form of entertainment – one that is proven to bring happiness to many.