Discussing the motivations that might lead someone to gamble can be a good way to engage people in conversations about gambling and gambling harm. It can also help to understand the psychological needs that someone may be trying to fulfil if they choose to gamble, which opens up an opportunity to consider safer alternatives for meeting those needs. Common motivations include:



Gambling might be something a person does ‘for a bit of fun,’ as a form of entertainment, or something they see as ‘a little treat.’



Near misses, and mechanics of gambling activities like flashing lights can mean it gives a person a ‘buzz of excitement.’


To escape negative emotions

When a person gambles, they may feel focused or ‘in the zone,’ which can distract them from negative emotions or impacts from trauma they may have experienced in their lives.


To make money

A person might hope that ‘winning big’ will offer an easy way to make money, to escape debt or fund a way out of a difficult life situation.


Feeling lucky

If a person feels that a ‘lucky chance has come my way,’ or they routinely place a certain bet or numbers on the lotto, they may feel they will miss out if they do not participate.


Peer approval

Even if a person is not interested in gambling themselves, they may take part as ‘a way I get to enjoy being with others.’


Fear of missing out

Seeing other people doing or enjoying something, especially on social media, can lead to a fear that ‘I will be the only person who doesn’t have this experience that could make my life better.’


To test their skills

For a person who sees gambling as a matter of skill, they may feel confident that they will win, and see it as ‘an opportunity to test my skills.’