What Makes Gambling So Addictive?
Gambling is when money is put on games of chance and the outcome is decided by probabilities usually done with the intent of winning money. It is a high-risk thing to do with a chance of yielding high returns. Many forms of gambling exist as almost anything that can have different outcomes can be gambled upon. Casinos are popular venues for gambling, where games such as Blackjack, Baccarat, Poker, and Roulette are widely played. Some games are exclusively dependent on probability and chance while some are affected by the decision of players.
High risk games tend to convince players into thinking that their own skills and abilities play a huge part in driving the results of the game. This effect is exponential, the more that the players think they are in control, the more enthralled by it they are. Another factor that makes players addicted is the excitement factor that winning gives. The risk vs. return factor of gambling triggers the reward system of the brain and gives players a rush of excitement. It is quite similar to the release of dopamine caused when taking drugs.
The temptation of becoming rich and winning a fortune overnight is also a factor which makes gambling so addictive. Many people dream about being rich and fantasize about living the luxurious life, some choose to work hard to achieve that goal while gambling addicts usually want to take the shortcut to achieve that dream. Greed is definitely a huge factor when it comes to gambling addiction.
Gambler’s fallacy: where gamblers think that the more times that they lose a gamble, the odds of them winning will increase. Unfortunately, this is totally untrue as the outcome of each game is totally independent and has nothing to do with the prior games. The probability of winning or losing is exactly the same as all the previous games. For example, imagine rolling a dice. The odds of rolling a six is 1/6. If you manage to roll the number six for 10 times in a row, that does not increase the chance of rolling a six higher than 1/6. However, gamblers will often convince themselves that because of previous losses their next games will sooner or later “balance” out, letting them win. This illusion is a factor that makes them hooked on gambling.
Another factor that contributes to gambling addiction is loss aversion. People react more to losing compared to winnings of the same amount. There is more impact to a person when $50 is lost compared to when $50 is won or gained. This causes gamblers to continue putting in money in a futile attempt to try and win back the money that they have lost even though they have already lost a huge amount of money. This is done to try and soothe the exasperation and dismay caused by the previous losses by gaining a win. Gamblers will become increasingly desperate to make up for their losses and it turns into a vicious cycle that few manage to escape from.
Gambling is a slippery slope that once fallen into becomes hard to escape from. It is important to have self-control and knowledge prior to engaging in such activities.