Why Do So Many People Gamble in Casinos?

Crowd at Casino Gambling, Colored Casino Dice
It’s the same as asking why do people watch movies in the cinema or why do people go to baseball games?

All of the most popular forms of entertainment are available to us in different formats. We can watch games and movies on TV or over the Internet. We can play games and make our own movies.

And yet millions of people choose to pay extra every year for the experience of sitting with a crowd of strangers – not interacting with them – instead of saving money.

Gambling and playing casino games is different from watching a movie or a baseball game in one way. Players can win money at the casino. I’ll begin there.

You Can Win Money Anywhere – So Why Play in a Casino?

When I ask people why they enjoy gambling in a casino the most popular answer is because I might win. And everyone wants to beat the house.

Many people feel guilty taking money from their friends. But they don’t mind winning big jackpots from the house. Everyone gladly accepts the casino’s money because they know the casino is gladly accepting theirs.

Arrow Sign with Casino TextBut though winning money in a guilt-free environment is a great enticement, it’s an illusion. The house edge all but guarantees that the casino makes a profit. So all the players’ winnings must come from somewhere else – namely, other players.

You’re still taking money from your neighbors but it doesn’t feel like you are. Millions of people gamble at home on an occasional and sometimes regular basis.

But even those people enjoy beating the house more than they enjoy beating their friends in a weekly poker game.

This is the same attitude found among people gambling for real money through online casinos, bookmakers, and at racetracks. No one sees their wins as coming from other players’ losses. The wins are always paid by the house.

The Thrill of the Crowd Has Its Own Appeal

The best casinos are crowded at peak times. Everyone seems to be having fun. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement.

This is a natural emotional response for us. It explains why people enjoy watching movies in a cinema and baseball games in a crowded stadium. It’s not just about being there but about being there with the crowd.

It’s like walking around at a festival or sitting along the side of a street watching the parade.

Playing in a crowded casino makes us feel like we’re doing the same thing everyone is doing and they’re all having fun.

You feed off the emotional vibes of other people. If the crowd is angry all of its members are likely to be angry. If the crowd is happy and excited then everyone is likely to be happy and excited.

When people are in crowds they feel like they are a part of something, a member of a group. This is why some people who struggle with loneliness sometimes spend a lot of time in shopping malls. The feeling of being with others doesn’t work for everyone but it comes from the need to feel like you belong to a group.

Casinos Offer Greater Variety and Quality of Games

You can play virtually every kind of game you find in a casino in your own home. You can buy tables for baccarat, blackjack, craps, poker, and roulette online. You can buy cards and chips.

Split Image of Blackjack Casino Game and Slot Machines in Casino

But it would be expensive to buy all these games for your basement. And most people don’t have enough room in their homes for so many game tables. If you want to run a casino you need a lot of space.

And there are thousands of slot machine games on the market. You can find a lot of slot games at online casinos but you’re only playing at one console – your computer – when you play from home.

In a casino you can move around, hear other games all around you, and scan through a sea of gaming machines without having to search through them in an app or web directory.

If you want to play one of the newer games on the tall, narrow consoles or in a network console you must play at a casino. No online casino or PC gaming disk gives you that kind of experience.

Casinos Offer Some Things for Free

In all honesty they’re not really free things but you don’t have to pay for them up front.

Casino freebies include food and beverages, a warm dry place to sit during a storm, and a safe environment to get away from the world.

Someone pays for all that and of course it’s the players who do. But the price of admission to a casino is free and the casino does what it can to make you feel comfortable.

Players who join the reward clubs earn points from the money they spend and they can use those points to pay for things.

People Have More Control Over Their Money

This may seem counter-intuitive according to one person who answered a question on Quora, he began visiting his local casino just to get out of the house. He never takes more than $20 with him. He can play games for hours.

In one night, he said, he built his stake up to more than $200. He added “I played it until it was gone. I lost $8. I don’t see it as losing $220.”

We’ve all heard heart-breaking stories about people who gamble too much and lose money they shouldn’t. But the decision of how much you spend and lose in the casino is yours. For the price of a cheap lunch one man spent 7 hours in a casino.

Slot Machine Floor Inside Casino, Hand Holding Out Wallet

Most people go to the casino with a budget. Either they only play with cash in hand or they know how much money they’ll take out of the bank. If you’re gambling online or playing the lottery you can lose track of how much you’ve spent very quickly.

Online casinos provide players with account dashboards and they make us go through extra steps to transfer money into those accounts. But once the money is there getting it back takes more time than putting it in.

It’s not the same experience as taking $100 into a land-based experience. This is why it’s important to choose trustworthy online casinos but land-based casinos don’t take your cash and make you wait days or weeks to get it back.

Casino Resort Food is Usually Very Good and Inexpensive

You can easily bust your wallet by ordering an expensive meal at a casino restaurant. Some of the best casino restaurants in the world charge more for a meal than most players lose in a night of gambling.

But people love those buffets at the big casinos. I’ve eaten at the sandwich shops in some smaller, local casinos. The food was edible but nothing to remember.

A good casino buffet offers a lot of food. It’s prepared better and of higher quality than you’ll get at a cafeteria. And it’s affordable, especially with reward club points and discounts.

I’ve gone to casinos just for the food. I have friends who say the same thing. And I’ve chatted with people in casino buffet lines who said they were on their lunch breaks from work.

Some casinos serve great, affordable food and they know that even if you came only for the food this time you’ll be back. They’ll have many more chances to get you to play games.

Players Can Live a Larger Than Life Experience

It is exciting like in the movies to walk around a busy, crowded casino. People really do stand at the gaming tables and yell when someone wins. They applaud when a slot machine player wins a jackpot.

Poker Chips, Stack of Money, Guy Jumping with Joy

You may not feel like George Clooney or Robert Downey, Jr. beating the house but playing in a real casino can be every bit as exciting as watching people do it in movies on a big screen.

It’s all about enjoying the fantasy experience. We know the games in movies are rigged for the plot. We know the house stacks the odds against us when we play.

But it feels like you’re part of something big, something the whole world is watching when you’re there.


For most players the local casino is a better choice for where to spend their free time and money than the local shopping mall or movie theater.

Casinos provide a social crowd environment that comes without any obligations. You don’t have to pay dues, carry placards, or vote for someone else’s favorite candidate.

A casino is also a place where someone will occasionally cater to your needs. They’ll bring you food and beverages or cook a meal you want. It’s not the same thing you’ll find at home or in other entertainment venues.

People love to gamble in casinos because the experience is unique and they enjoy it.