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What do people get out of gambling? A look into gambling motivators

December 9 Sandra Wong

Recently I have been looking deep into the motivators of a gambler in order to find game design mechanics to ‘influence’ this behavior. In this post I will share some general gambling motivational insights, and in a future post, I will specifically look at a particular type of casino game such as slots or poker and how it pertains to social or real money casino.

Why do people gamble?

What motivates people to gamble is different from person to person. Rarely it’s one reason, but a combination of multiple reasons. A better question to ask rather than ‘Why do people gamble?’ is ‘What do people get out of gambling?’. These questions virtually result in the same answers, but the latter I find is more helpful in trying to pinpoint motivators.

Understanding why people gamble is the first step in changing or influencing this behavior.

What do people get out of gambling?

I believe it is safe to say that no one wants to lose. Everyone has the desire to win so let’s start, for simplicity sake, with concluding that winning is the common motivator for all players. People play games to win something. So let’s explore this ‘something’? I call these individual win motivators ‘winning elements’.

Winning elements are essentially positive results to why one may play/gamble and they include:

  • Entertainment (Having fun)

  • Leisure (Past time, kill boredom)

  • Feel Good (Pride, Confidence)

  • Escapism (Vacation, Zone out)

  • Socialization (Be a part of the excitement)

  • Financial gain (Money, Status)

  • Mastery (Skills, Level up)

So you can see there are many different reasons for why people may gamble, and these reasons can also change depending on other external & internal circumstances and motivators. What motivates one player may not necessarily motivate another.

In future posts, I will look into the different gambler types, how gender plays a role in behavior as well as how slots producers and manufacturers can use these findings in their casino business.

Stay in touch with me for more on the business of gambling on Twitter@astrogurl.


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