Is it In Our Biology to Take Risks? Gambling as an Example

When was the last time you took a risk? If you are like most people, risk-taking is something you avoid at work, at home, and in social settings. Yet even as many people term themselves risk-averse, casinos have witnessed an influx of players. Reputable online operators like Wazamba have been registering hundreds of thousands of new players every year. And these players do not just sign up and forget about these accounts. Instead, they play games often, with many becoming pros in different niches. So, what’s the link between risk-taking behavior and human biology in casino settings? Let’s find out:

Why People Take Risks

Casino games come in different forms, but the main categories are games of chance and games of skill. In games of chance, players depend on pure luck to win. In games of skill, they can tweak the odds to favor them, e.g., bluffing in poker. But regardless of the game category, there is always a high risk. So, why do people go ahead with wagers?


Casino settings have always been designed to tug at people’s feel-good hormones. The architecture and sounds transport people to happier mental spaces, enabling them to let loose and forget about their worries. In these states of mind, people feel powerful and capable of anything. So, even when the odds may not favor them, like a bad poker hand, they are willing to continue with a wager!

So, how does this tie to our psychology? Numerous studies have shown that people tend to be more trusting and open to new experiences when they are happy. That’s why people often make huge decisions when they receive good news, maybe booking a cruise when they get a promotion or proposing to a partner when they finally hit their weight loss goal. The same effect is evident in casinos, as their designs elicit happiness in players!


Have you ever been chased during a hide-and-seek game or gone rafting down a river? When humans engage in adrenaline-inducing activities that activate their fight or flight responses, they feel more alive. Of course, some activities are dangerous, such as driving above speed limits on the highway. As such, humans have learned to find activities that balance the thrill and safety of others.

And what better way to achieve this than by playing casino games? As stated earlier, all casino games carry risk, even if players can somehow use their skills to enhance their winning chances. Thanks to this knowledge, many people find casino games exhilarating as they cannot tell if they will win or lose.

To make the adrenaline rush even more pronounced, players often have money on the line. So, if they lose, they not only lose a game but also money. The adrenaline that comes from placing a wager is so high that many people continuously seek it.

Now, let’s tie this with psychology. Scientists have found that people love taking risks in the face of ambiguity. For example, if people don’t know what is in a forest, they might explore it just to find out, even if it might be risky. In the same way, the random number generation in casinos makes predictions impossible. And players enjoy this as it increases the risks.


People who like trading stocks do so continuously despite the risks. The same goes for people who enjoy bungee jumping, trading forex, or sailing the seas. While these activities carry risks, the combination of dopamine and adrenaline that follows successful undertakings outweighs the risks. As such, people get into the habit of engaging in these activities, as is the case with casino games.

So, what’s the answer for risk-takers? Risk can be good or bad, depending on how you approach it. In casino games, the best approach lies in minimizing the risk by having a clear spending plan, learning the rules of the game, practicing the game, and taking frequent breaks to refresh your mind. You will still take risks, but the consequences will be manageable.

Written by Austin Crane

Austin is the principle web director for Untamed Science and Stone Age Man. He is also the web-director of the series for the High School biology, Middle Grades Science and Elementary Science content. When Austin isn't making amazing content for the web, he's out on his mountain bike or in a canoe.

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