Why Do We Gamble?

It’s no secret that gambling is one of the most exciting leisure activities in today’s time. It originated thousands of years ago, and the latest technological advancements, such as the Internet or the latest software pieces, as well as numerous locations where we can gamble, have made it more accessible than ever.

However, it is the people themselves that have made gambling as popular as it is today, which poses a question — Why do we gamble?

Naturally, we already knew that the main reasons why people gamble are winning money and having fun.

However, to answer the question in more detail and understand the gambling behaviour better, the UK Gambling Commission worked closely with 2CV, a research company, and they have concluded that there are eight different typologies of gambling.

Typology 1 — Joy of the Game

People who fall under the first typology gamble because they simply love the thrill of it. Gambling creates an immediate emotional investment in them and they enjoy the risk gambling brings. To people who gamble because of the joy of the game, money doesn’t come first.

At the same time, gambling is used to make other activities more enjoyable, such as watching a football game, for example.


Typology 2 — Wise Choice

Those who belong to this typology are motivated to partake in gambling activities by routines and patterns they generally stick to. Contrary to those who love gambling, people driven by this typology don’t care much about having fun when playing but are instead entirely focused on winning money.

They rely on their skill and understanding of the game they are playing and are trying to beat the casino or sportsbook by having the edge over the house.


Typology 3 — For the Banter

The third typology is somewhat self-explanatory; it involves people who care more about the opportunity to brag to their friends than winning money. For them, gambling is just a means to an end and another form of competition they can engage in with their friends and demonstrate their knowledge.

Whether it’s gambling on the outcome of the same game as your friends, playing poker against them, or even winning against random people on the Internet, those who play for the banter enjoy knowing they’ve bested those they play against more than they enjoy the money they end up winning.


Typology 4 — To Be Social

As the name suggests, people who fall under this typology gamble for the sake of being social. Contrary to those who play for the banter, people who play to be social look forward to playing alongside their friends or others who play online and even enjoy sharing the knowledge about the game.

While winning money adds additional excitement to it, that is not the primary focus.


Typology 5 — Passing the Time

For those who gamble to pass the time, gambling is just an activity like any other. Some people who fall under this category even enjoy gambling and often think of it as a treat or their ‘me time’ and therefore occasionally buy a lottery ticket or place a bet.

However, regardless of whether gambling is used as an activity to simply pass the time or as an enjoyable leisure activity, money is not the primary focus of gambling for people who fall under this category


Typology 6 — Just What I Do

Just What I Do is a typology that falls under the Habitual category, the same as Passing the Time. However, unlike the previous typology, this one is a long-term habit and occurs on a regular basis. People who fall under this category don’t perceive gambling as such, but more as a hobby they indulge in with little thought.

Whether it’s buying a lotto ticket every week or placing a bet on their favourite team, winning feels exciting for these types of players, but they don’t invest too much time thinking about losing; instead, they just repeat the pattern.


Typology 7 — For the Thrill of It

The seventh typology falls under the Spontaneous category. It involves people who are ‘feeling lucky’ and decide to partake in gambling randomly. These players feel highly influenced at a given moment and have a firm belief they are going to win, which is the main reason behind their gambling.

However, gambling still has to be fun, which is why they often choose a gambling activity they enjoy.


Typology 8 — Money to Burn

People who fall under this typology are most often those who have already won some money beforehand and perceive that additional cash as ‘free’ and use it to make further bets. That can also include some spare change that can be used to buy a lottery ticket, for example, or can come in the form of free spins or credit they can play with.



It is important to note that, quite often, taking part in a gambling activity can be driven by multiple typologies. The research conducted by the UKGC and 2CV included a relatively small number of participants, which is why the UKGC cannot fully profile each of these typologies.

However, while these typologies don’t focus on people but rather the motivation behind gambling, they can be used for future quantitative research and help organisations such as the UKGC understand why people gamble.

Dec 26, 2019