Most people are closet gamblers. The intoxicating need to put everything at stake, the associated adrenaline rush, runs strong in most of us. In some it remains stifled while in others this urge manifests in an unbridled fashion. So despite its devastating consequences, why do men as well as women have been drawn towards gambling since time immemorial? Or simply why do people gamble?
One can trace the origin of gambling, in various forms to the very onset of human civilization. Historical records have substantiated the fact that gambling, in its numerous avatars, was an extremely popular practice across various cultures. It was a favorite pastime of the aristocracy where gambling had a distinct snobbish connotation. With time, the popularity of gambling has not waned even a bit which is clearly evidenced by people queuing up in droves to purchase lottery tickets, or at racecourses or thronging casino tables- people are increasingly finding newer and noveler ways to wager their hard earned money. Despite their forlorn chances of winning anything significant or life changing, people keep on gambling and frittering away their money, unabated. How can one explain this incongruous, self-damaging, addictive social behavior of people?
Well money must be the logical answer, but there are myriads of other reasons that drive and compel people to turn into pathological gamblers.
Luck favors the brave but not the foolish – People have this incorrigible belief that lady luck will remain benevolent to them always. They develop gut feelings or instincts about certain numbers and dates, which stems from the irrational notion that luck is engraved in all of us. This false belief leads to false hope which pushes people to gamble.
Man is a social animal. So this never quenching need to socialize is another major reason for gambling. People use gambling as a resort to pick up friends, to expand their social circle or simply to remain socially relevant. People play poker to spend time with their old buddies or make new ones. Peer pressure will sometimes make even a non-gambler to try out his or her luck with the dice and very soon what started simply as fun or a novel experiment will become a raging addiction.
For many, gambling is a major source of entertainment as well as excitement. You will come across plenty of vacation gamblers in Las Vegas, who primarily gamble to keep themselves entertained. Needless to say these recreational gamblers derive plenty of amusement from their gambling endeavors. The thrill, the excitement and the tremendous adrenaline rush one gets while waiting with bated breath for the outcome – all of these make a heady concoction that most of us find irresistible.
It offers a conduit to escape reality. When people find their mundane lives becoming an unbearable routine, they resort to gambling, hoping to be transported to an exciting world of glitz and glamour.
But for most, it is the allure of incredible amounts of easy money that one can accrue with minimum investments and within a short span of time, which is most enticing. Despite overwhelming mathematical odds stacked against you, if you are a hopeless optimist even slim chances of winning will not thwart you from visiting a casino hall, a bookie chamber or from buying a lottery.
It may be a harmless source of entertainment for many, but for some gambling eventually becomes an uncontrollable behavior that causes major disruptions in their lives. In fact “pathological gambling” is recognized as a mental disorder by American Psychiatric Association and it describes a condition where a person loses total control over his or her gambling behavior and that subsequently wrecks his personal and financial effects. Our society is littered with instances of such pathological gamblers. It becomes an all-consuming addiction that over time leaves a person mentally as well as financially broke. Like any other addiction, abstinence and not giving in to your urges is the only potential cure. There may be a multitude of reasons why people gamble but the reason for not gambling, in essence remains simple- your financial and mental sanity.
So next time you feel like rolling the dice, think hard about the possible ramifications of your actions.