Las Vegas is a running advertisement for behavioral economics. I am pondering whether I still believe what I once wrote about gambling:
Gambling, buying lottery tickets, and other forms of impulsive risk-taking…may contribute to inter-self cooperation. Risk-taking increases the uncertainty of future payoffs; persons who periodically take risks may thus avoid the feeling that their situation is a dead end. The belief that the future is hopeless might disrupt patterns of self-cooperation and break down discipline, as persons who see no hope for the future might have problems constraining themselves from drinking, taking drugs, or engaging in other destructive practices. An impulsive self strong enough to induce a person to take chances may thus indirectly contribute to control other, more dangerous impulses.
Here is the full essay, noting that I have never intuitively understood the attraction of gambling.