Behind the Human Urge to Gamble
Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal, a legendary Las Vegas casino operator played by the actor Robert De Niro in the movie "Casino," said this about gambling in a 1997 PBS Frontline
interview: “I don’t agree with the premise or the concept it’s entertainment.”
Then why do human beings gamble? This study by Dr. John Nyman of the University of Minnesota School of Public Health finds that people gamble for two reasons: the possibility of getting something for nothing and the need to escape, which includes the human desire for an intense high or buzz.
Something for Nothing - A Model of Gambling Behavior
Three in four casino patrons say they go to casinos to win money, not for entertainment
Despite claims from casino operators that people go to casinos to have fun and for entertainment, this study proves winning money is the most important reason why people say they visit a casino. Three in four casino patrons say they go primarily to win "a really large amount of money," according to a Roper survey referenced in the article below, which is troubling, considering how casinos are designed to make players lose.
3 in 4 Say They Go to Casinos to Win Money
Winners and losers feel the sad reality of the Lottery
With Lottery jackpots reaching unthinkable highs recently, more and more players are buying tickets to try their shot at, sometimes, upwards of $1 billion. Unfortunately, the historic problems with the Lottery continue to worsen. More and more, it is the poor who are buying tickets- not as a cheap source of entertainment- but as a last resort, blowing what little money they have. Furthermore, even if one hits that nearly-impossible jackpot, the result is not as joyous as you might think- one-third of all Lottery jackpot winners declare bankruptcy, the majority say their lives have not improved since winning the jackpot, and new studies show that recent Lottery winners have lower happiness levels than those who have recently become quadriplegic. This op-ed from CNN
details the sad reality of today's Lottery.
2013 The big swindle- In lotteries, the poor are the biggest losers
Electronic Gaming Machines and Domestic Violence
For several years the relation between various gambling venues and domestic violence has been established in several studies. This particular study investigates the relation between electronic gambling machines and domestic violence reports by postal codes in Australia.
The study used police recorded domestic violence reports per 10,000 population in relation to electronic gaming machines per 10,000 by postal code. The researchers found that postal codes with no EMGs had 20% fewer family incidents per 10,000 and 30% fewer assaults. Around the world approximately 30% of women suffer domestic abuse during their lifetime. Gambling is an under-researched factor in domestic violence. For those researching domestic violence, gambling is a “hidden” factor.
What it says for all of us is that the presence of a casino is as important as the presence of good schools for the well-being and social health of our families, especially if a member of the family is a gambler.
Francis Markham, Bruce Doran, and Martin Young, “The relationship between electronic gaming machine accessibility and police-recorded domestic violence: A spatio-temporal analysis of 654 postcodes in Victoria, Australia, 2005-2014,” http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/
June 22, 2016.