Customer Loyalty: Win or Lose, it's the Experience that Gamblers Value Most

By Jonathan Barsky Partner, Market Metrix | June 03, 2012

Gambling has existed since ancient times with evidence suggesting that even the earliest caveman was a gambler. Many believe that gambling is taking risks, which is simply an extension of human behavior. But at its heart, gambling is a rather paradoxical behavior because.. most gamblers lose. The pure randomness of gaming -- slots, roulette, craps -- makes no sense unless you believe in luck.

So why do people continue to play when the overwhelming likelihood is that they will lose money? It is widely known that 'the house always wins'. Whether you are gambling on horseracing, blackjack or roulette, the odds will ensure a steady profit for the casino.

Why people gamble

Sociologists believe that people play because it's a social activity. Psychologists say that gambling is a response to feeling lucky or being in a good mood. Economists believe that betting is about people wanting more money, but not understanding they have virtually no chance of actually winning.

When individuals are asked in questionnaires about their reasons for gambling, the answer "to win" or "to win money" is often the most common response. This is natural, since money is the tangible reward of gambling, which makes money "the dominant language of gambling"(i). But everyone with any experience of gambling knows that the motives for participating vary considerably between games and gamblers.

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Despite the growth of the gaming industry in the past 10 years, and the recent challenges of the recession, most gaming research has neglected the primary business aspects of gaming. To help address this gap, we examined several fundamental questions about why people gamble and what makes them return and tell others about their experience. We identified two hypotheses for this research:

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Guest Service: A Culture of YES

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