How Culture and Beliefs Play a Role in Gambling Game Preference
Gambling games have existed around the world for centuries. While the likes of blackjack, roulette, and poker have been glamorized through Hollywood movies, many of these games have deep roots in cultures and traditions around the world. Of course, the global gambling industry has become massive, but the historical side of the activity has altered gambling preferences around the world.
Much of the emphasis in Europe and the United States is either on big jackpots or skill-based games, where players can effectively ‘beat’ the house and ascend in social standing. In Asia, there are many different, more culturally tied, gambling preferences. So, how have different cultures and beliefs played a role in which games are popular across the vast continent?
The setting in Japan
The essence of ‘luck’ is a primary driver across many Asian gambling scenes, but platforms have been sure to adhere to the specific market of Japan. Just as the gambling game of pachinko on land is very much a Japanese activity, the online gambling platform Casino Gods in Japan has leaned into the nation’s embrace of multiple beliefs and overall acceptance of gods and deities. The platform even features its own ‘Recommended By Gods’ section, which features games with deities from Greek, Norse, Egyptian, Chinese, Mayan, Aztec, and Roman mythologies.
Japan is somewhat of a different case regarding its beliefs and religions. While people aren’t formally brought up into any particular religion, most households have some form of religious ties, with there being a diverse variety of religions present and often overlapping in overall Japanese culture. The traditional Shintō gods are followed by many, but the religion coexists with Christianity, Buddhism, some more ancient practices, and 19th Century ‘new’ religions.
Religion is very varied, without one single religion being overly dominant, and yet beliefs run deep through the culture. As mentioned before, another staple of Japanese society is the gambling game of pachinko. While returns are exchanged for prizes rather than money, pachinko sees over $200 billion spent on it each year across Japan, per Business Insider. The vertical pinball gambling game, of sorts, also plays like a slot machine, with luck being the emphasis of the game. So, in turn, both diverse beliefs and a preference for luck have driven the online offering.
Beliefs and cultures driving gambling preference
India has become a hotbed of online card players since the internet has become widely accessible across the subcontinent. Such is the progress of the online gambling sector, the region is now being touted as a colossal market for the activity. In terms of Indian tradition and culture, during the Diwali festival, it is commonplace for families to come together to play several card games, often for money, setting gambling card games as a type of tradition. Through this, card games become normalized and associated with enjoyment during each celebration.
In Western gambling circles, the Chinese audience is well-known for its affinity for gambling. This is because the notion of luck and similar superstitions relay a much heavier sense of identification within the culture. In the belief that fate is predetermined by their ancestors, according to Psychology Today, playing gambling games to see one’s good fortune has become traditional in itself.
It’s why casinos in Macau and Las Vegas have leaned so heavily on baccarat and VIP baccarat, despite the former preference of famous games like blackjack and roulette, as baccarat is luck-based rather than a skill-based. Of course, the traditional game of Mahjong is the most commonly associated gambling game in Chinese culture. Still, when other gambling games are available, Chinese players gravitate to the luck-based offerings due to their cultural beliefs.
Asia presents several examples of how cultures and beliefs, no matter how diverse, can influence the preferences in gambling for players.