From a cognitive point of view gambling stimulates areas of the brain devoted to analysis and forecasting.
In natural phenomena or social relations this effort is rewarded by the discovery of rules, more or less correct, that in any case help us to act in conditions of uncertainty.
In the artificial uncertainty produced by gambling, the cognitive effort made by our brain to discover rules is continually denied by events and the search for confirmations is continually stimulated and continually frustrated. It is a cognitive trap generated by the artificial randomness associated with chance phenomena.
The illusion of being able to change one’s own life in times of trouble can push people to play. The probable worsening of the difficulties or the problems dealing with the emotional impact of the winnings can lead to gambling in an unsustainable and irresponsible fashion for long periods of time.