Gambling is a popular pastime for millions of people all over the world. Whether it’s betting on sports, playing casino games, or buying lottery tickets, most adults have gambled at some point in their lives. Even in countries where gambling is illegal or heavily restricted, it remains highly popular, and the question of whether it’s human nature to gamble is often asked.
This article is written by Jacek Michałski, a Polish gambling expert who has done a lot of research into the topic of whether gambling is inherent human nature. For more information on his work, you can read his profile.
The History of Gambling
No one really knows for sure when gambling as a hobby first started in Poland or anywhere else, but taking risks is certainly part of human nature. Our early ancestors would have to take risks each day to find food, find a mate, and avoid predators. While it might not be the same as playing casino games like ruletka casino, escaping from a predator or catching a meal would be just as thrilling. In that sense, risk is a natural part of our lives, and calculating risk is an important ability that is necessary for any species to survive.
Over time, risk has become less of a factor in our lives, and as we’ve built societies, we’ve looked for other ways to get excitement and thrills. Gambling has existed before our recorded history, but the earliest known records of gambling that we have date back to 3000 BC. Archaeologists have uncovered a set of six-sided die, used for gambling and playing games, from a site in Mesopotamia, the birthplace of civilization.
Gambling was also very popular in ancient China, where people bet on fighting animals and later invented dominos and other types of games. China is also where the first playing cards were created in the 9th Century AD, and these were originally printed onto small wood blocks.
Gambling was also highly popular throughout Europe, and in 1638, the first real casino was established in Venice. Known as the Ridotto, it’s still intact today and was a huge hit with the wealthy lords at the time. The Ridotto eventually inspired a lot of similar buildings across the continent, and casinos soon became a popular spot for all kinds of people across the world.
Europe was also the birthplace of many of the most popular games played in casinos today. Blackjack, Roulette, Baccarat, and others came from France, while bingo is a game inspired by the Italian lottery. Meanwhile, Poker is inspired by the Persian game of As-Nas, and many more games also originated in the far east.
It’s unknown whether gambling spread with the spread of humans around the globe or if it occurred independently in multiple societies throughout history. What we do know is that humans love to gamble and have been doing so for as far back as the records go.
Gambling and Addiction
While gambling is a fun and exciting pastime, it can also develop into an addiction in some people. The act of making a gamble, especially a winning one, is a feeling of elation like no other. On the opposite side of the coin, losing a large sum of money is a horrible experience that can easily lead to anger and depression. This contrast of emotions is why gambling is so fun and why it can also be incredibly addictive.
Our brains can become addicted to the positive sensations that come from winning, forcing us into a constant loop of playing. This leads to the idea that gambling is inherent in human behavior, as our brains will reward us for taking risks that pay off.
However, the more people play, the less effective the sensation becomes despite their brain always needing to feel more. At the same time, gambling can be very dangerous, as there’s always a chance you’ll lose money. Gambling addicts can quickly lose all their money and incur big debts if they don’t get the help they need.
Gambling today is almost unrecognizable to the games that our ancestors used to play, yet the fundamental aspects are the same. Our brains are wired to reward risk-taking behavior, and the feeling that comes with landing a win is hard to beat. For that reason, gambling will always be a part of society because it’s a big part of human nature too.