New publication: Why people gamble

Why people gamble – five motivational dimensions

My article Why people gamble: A model with five motivational dimensions has been published in the journal International Gambling Studies (update: 2013, vol. 13, no. 1, pp 81-97). The conceptual model presented in the article sums up much of what I observed during my year of field studies in Swedish gambling settings, what I have read about motives for gambling in other countries, and some of what I learnt from my two empirical studies involving problem gamblers.
– Update: In less than a year, this article became one of the 10 most viewed articles in International Gambling Studies.


A motivational model of gambling participation is presented. The model comprises five motivational dimensions: the dream of hitting the jackpot and transforming one’s life, social rewards, intellectual challenge, mood change induced by playing, and – the fundamental motive for all gambling – the chance of winning. The model is primarily applicable to leisure gambling in contemporary western societies, but also helps us understand problem gambling. The model integrates the wide variety of motives individuals have for gambling and makes it possible to understand the specific appeal of gambling relative to other leisure activities. Gambling taps into human biopsychology, easily evokes powerful psychological processes, and connects with profound cultural meanings.

Keywords: gambling, problem gambling, motivation, conceptual model, culture

Link to journal article“Post-print” version (free)

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