A motivational model of gambling participation is presented. The model comprises five motivational dimensions: the dream of hitting the jackpot and transforming one's life, social rewards, intellectual challenge, mood change induced by playing, and – the fundamental motive for all gambling – the chance of winning. The model is primarily applicable to leisure gambling in contemporary western societies, but also helps us understand problem gambling. The model integrates the wide variety of motives individuals have for gambling and makes it possible to understand the specific appeal of gambling relative to other leisure activities. Gambling taps into human biopsychology, easily evokes powerful psychological processes, and connects with profound cultural meanings.