5 Forms of Gambling in Animal Crossing

Animal Crossing New Horizons Box

Animal Crossing: New Horizons has become the most popular video game of 2020. Partially propelled by a very timely release, this Nintendo Switch game is a big hit among many age demographics.

Assuming you haven’t played Animal Crossing yet, you might think of it as strictly a video game. However, it has some interesting gambling aspects that make it worth checking out.

Sure, you won’t find slot machines or blackjack tables in New Horizons. But as I’ll cover here, you can gamble in unique ways through this game.

What Is Animal Crossing?

Until New Horizons came out, I’d never heard of Animal Crossing. I was surprised to know that Animal Crossing is actually a series of games that dates back to 2001.

Here are the titles in this series:

  • Animal Crossing (2001)
  • Wild World (2005)
  • City Folk (2008)
  • New Leaf (2012)
  • Happy Home Designer (2015)
  • Amiibo Festival (2015)
  • New Leaf – Welcome Amiibo (2016)
  • Pocket Camp (2017)
  • New Horizons (2020)

All of these games have been successful in their own right. However, none of them have reached the immense popularity of Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

Developed by Nintendo, this series consists of social simulation games. It sees you control a human character who interacts with various talking animals throughout the island.

In New Horizons, you complete tasks that allow you to collect bells and Nook Miles. Bells serve as the game’s currency, while miles allow you to both purchase items and fly to new islands.

Why Is Animal Crossing so Popular?

Upon first opening Animal Crossing: New Horizons, you might feel like it’s merely a kid’s game. It features cartoonish graphics, characters with oversized heads, and a low-risk gameplay model.

However, New Horizons offers plenty of elements that appeal to adults as well. It involves completing tasks for money, interacting with villagers and animals, recruiting new villagers, and inviting friends to your island.

Perhaps most importantly, Animal Crossing lets you design the island to your liking. You can places houses, create waterfalls, put up streetlamps, and decorate the inside of your home.

These actions only scratch the surface of what’s available in terms of design. But they give you an idea of the limitless possibilities with this game.

Screenshot From Animal Crossing New Horizons

One downside to New Horizons is that you can only develop one island per game copy. Assuming multiple accounts use your Nintendo Switch, then you also have to share the same island.

This aspect can create problems regarding the design aspect. Some players may want to the island to go a certain direction (e.g. theme park), while others might a have different vision (e.g. mostly wilderness).

You also have to compete for resources, such minerals in rocks and DIY recipes. Certain resources are only available in limited capacity each day.

Overall, though, most people can look past these downsides to what’s an overall enjoyable game. Islands typically feature enough resources and DIY recipes that players won’t be fighting over them.

5 Ways to Gamble Through This Game

New Horizons offers a little something for everybody, including gamblers. Here are five fun ways to gamble your time and/or bells.

1 – Buying and Selling Turnips

You can buy turnips from a character named Daisy Mae at the “Stalk Market.” She visits your island every Sunday. You can sell the turnips in Nook’s Cranny from Monday through Saturday. The price you get for turnips changes twice each day.

Therefore, you never know how much you’ll be able to sell these crops for. You could get less than you paid for them or much more.

Assuming you wait too long to sell, the turnips will rot and be worth much less. Therefore, you can’t wait forever just to get the price you want.

The big gamble here is that you’re spending bells on an item that could be worth less in the future. I liken this aspect to making an early week NFL wager or a futures bet.

2 – The Wisp Challenge

Wisp is a ghost that flies around the island on some nights. Assuming you talk to him, you’ll scare the poor fellow and cause five parts of him to fly around different areas of the island.

Wisp asks you to search for his pieces so that he can become whole again. He’ll offer you a reward if you’re able to find all five parts.

You’re strictly gambling your time in this case. You’ll likely spend 10 to 15 minutes searching for and finding all five pieces. Sometimes, the last one or two parts can take a while to locate.

The value of the items that Wisp gives you vary greatly. You might get a worthless boot one time or a piece of gold the next.

3 – Flower Breeding

New Horizons features many different types of flowers. However, you don’t start out with all of the flowers on your island.

The flowers depend upon the island you choose and the hemisphere. When going to new islands (covered in point #5), you can dig up non-native flowers and bring them back home. They can potentially spawn into a new color.

You can also buy seeds at Nook’s Cranny for red, white, and yellow flowers. Planting them in specific patterns gives you an opportunity to breed new flowers.

For example, you might get a blue wind flower after planting two windflowers next to each other. The rarest breed that can spawn is the gold flower.

Breeding requires time, bells, and Nook Miles (when flying to other islands). You may get valuable flowers as a result of your gamble.

4 – Fishing

Fishing is by far the most lucrative gamble in this game. It’s akin to playing real money poker against bad players when you’re extremely skilled.

Of course, even the greatest poker players don’t always win. You may not always feel like a winner after fishing either.

The good news is that each fish you catch is worth something, from 120 bells for a common Sea Bass to 13,000 for a rare Whale Shark.

First off, though, you need to master fishing. You might grow frustrated at first when trying to get down the timing and making sure fish don’t get away.

Even when you do become an expert angler, your pole could snap (forcing you to make a new one) or you’ll go through long stretches of catching Sea Bass. Fishing is another time gamble that becomes tedious when you do it for too long.

5 – Island Hopping

You can fly to remote islands (not inhabited by your online friends) by using Nook Miles tickets. Each ticket costs a hefty 2,000 miles.

You shouldn’t have much trouble purchasing these tickets after you’ve been playing for a while. But 2,000 miles becomes a significant investment early on in the game, when you’ve haven’t completed many tasks.

Screenshot From Animal Crossing Video Game

The benefit to buying tickets and island hopping is that you can find some useful and lucrative resources. Tarantula and Scorpion Islands give you an opportunity catch dozens of creatures that sell for thousands of bells each.

The gamble here is that you’ll spend 2,000 Nook Miles and be flown to a basic location with standard resources. As long as you rob the island blind of everything it’s worth, though, you should still find the cost worthwhile.


Most Animal Crossing: New Horizons players focus on the tasks and design elements. But as you can see, there are also enjoyable aspects similar to gambling in a casino.

Turnips present the most gambling-like element of New Horizons. You buy these crops for the chance that they’ll be worth more later.

The Wisp challenge and fishing both force you to gamble time in hopes of a rewarding prize. Flower breeding and island hopping require you to risk bells and/or miles to the cause.

Assuming you’re looking for some low-key forms of gambling in a video game, then you might want to try New Horizons.