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Why do we gamble?

The desire for excitement

Games of chance have been around for as long as there have been people. Even our stone age ancestors played with dice and tried their luck at a form of board game. Gambling for money is part of our culture. Games of chance provide us with a change from our everyday lives, fun and entertainment, a brief diversion as well as the prospect of winning and enjoying a pleasant sense of excitement.

The spectrum of emotions and feelings we can experience while gambling is broad. There is the hope of winning on the one side, and the fear of losing on the other. This creates a feeling of excitement that is both pleasant and unpleasant at the same time – a thrill. With the desire to experience this thrill at increasingly shorter intervals comes the increasing risk of developing a gambling addiction.

What's in a word?

In the following video, Professor Rainer Buland, Head of the Institute for Game Research at the Mozarteum University in Salzburg, explains the different meanings behind the German word "Spiel", which translates in English into four different words.

To read the sub-titles in English, please click on the "CC" button on the right of the menu bar.

Anonymous Self-Test

Duration ~ 5 minutes
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