Gambling is primarily entertainment that brings a lot of different emotions. But, unfortunately, it is true that it can lead to serious harmful behavior. Let’s delve into the psychology to answer top questions about gambling, casino addiction, and to give some tips on healthy gambling habits!
Gambling is primarily entertainment, but unfortunately it can provoke serious harmful behavior. People ask questions such as “Why are some people able to just play and have fun, while others can’t stop playing?” or “How to explain the desire to gamble and why not all people have it? To answer these and other frequently asked questions, we will delve into the psychology of gambling and the psychology of gambling addiction!
Why do people love gambling?
Gambling is a paradoxical behavior. The fact is that most of us know that the casino always wins and still continues to play. Whether you press the “spin” button of the slot machine or place bets at the roulette table, it doesn’t matter; the odds are always carefully calculated for the casino to make a profit. So why do people gamble knowing that they are more likely to lose?
Let’s look at the things that motivate people to start and keep gambling, even if it hurts them:
- Thrill of uncertainty. Unknown outcome is the first and most important aspect of gambling. Our brains are programmed to take pleasure in actions where the end result is unpredictable, and if there is some potential reward, the brain is already jumping for joy and begging for more.
- Escapism. Let’s face it: visiting an online or land-based casino can serve as an escape from everyday life. The glittering casino environment stimulates all kinds of senses, including sight and hearing, making people feel like they are in a different, more exciting world full of big rewards. Who wouldn’t want to visit such a magical place from time to time?
- Socialising. The casino is widespread as a form of socialization. Gambling is something that a large part of the population participates in, either by accident, or often, or excessively. It can be a fun way to spend time with friends or even meet new people.
- Money. Of course, some players play in the casino just for the money. Professionals take part in big tournaments and win huge sums of money, while others gamble to earn additional income. Playing games like poker can actually be lucrative once you master them. However, you should not treat the casino as just a job because gambling is inherently random. Sadly, there is always a chance that you will lose more than you win.
Why are casino games addictive?
It’s okay to enjoy gambling from time to time. The balance of risk and reward keeps the excitement flowing, even if you don’t win every time. However, as with various things or substances that make us feel good, taking too much can mean going from an occasional source of pleasure to an addiction. To understand the psychology of gambling, you need to understand how the brain works when we engage in enjoyable activities.
When our brain releases enough dopamine (a neurotransmitter responsible for motivation, memory, attention and even control of our body movements) we get a feeling of pleasure and tend to repeat the activity that brought us the “hormone of happiness”. When we gamble, dopamine levels get really high, and some studies compare these levels to levels seen in people who use drugs.
When the brain is overstimulated, it strengthens its defense mechanism, reducing the effectiveness of the reward system. The more we play, the more the brain strengthens its defense mechanism, forcing us to increase activity in search of happiness.
To paint a clearer picture of the psychology of gambling addiction, we need to look at the causes, which we have arbitrarily divided into 3 groups:
- Biological (age, gender)
- Psychological (expecting benefits from addiction despite side effects being more common)
- Environmental (interaction with players, cultural acceptance of gambling, family)
Healthy Gambling Habits
Gambling can be a fun way to spend time with friends or alone, but there is a line between fun and challenge. To avoid crossing this line, develop healthy gambling habits that will keep you on the side of the fun. Here are our tips:
- Don’t gamble when you’re stressed. If you are experiencing difficulties, whether emotional or financial, then please do not even think about diving into gambling. Yeah, gambling can definitely provide temporary relief from stress, but definitely not in the long run! In truth, gambling can even make your life situation worse, as you can get into financial trouble.
- Tell yourself that gambling is not your hobby. Addictions sometimes develop simply because we have too much free time. Therefore, it is very important that you find other enjoyable activities to spend it on. It can be anything that has nothing to do with bets.
- Set a budget. Set a fixed budget and stick to it. Don’t make it too lenient to take a significant portion of your paycheck, but don’t make it too strict either because that will make you walk away after just 2 spins. By the way, many online casinos allow their players to set a daily/weekly/monthly budget, preventing them from playing once they have reached it.
- Distribute your bets. Have you set a budget? Learn how to use it. Your bets should be such that you don’t spend everything for a couple of rounds and have more fun.
- Do not borrow money for gambling. Guys, we beg you, refrain from borrowing money that you spend on gambling at any cost. Gambling with other people’s money is a shitty habit that can easily lead to addiction.
- Control your emotions. Learning to control your emotions is extremely important. This will help you refrain from making rash decisions and costly mistakes and manage your bankroll more effectively.
- Keep track of wins/losses. Use your favorite notepad or app, we don’t care, but make sure you keep track of your results! With this, you will learn how effectively you are using your budget, as well as discover patterns in your gaming behavior and decide whether to make any changes.
- Feel free to ask for help. Do you feel like you’re out of control? Seek help immediately! Gambling addiction can be cured. Feel free to ask for help, just because you play casino games too often doesn’t mean you’re a bad person.