Whether with real croupiers in the luxurious ambience of a land-based gaming library or in one of the many online casinos within their own four walls: Different forms of gambling are part of everyday life for many people in all corners of the world. The whole thing has developed a lot over the past few years, so that now anyone interested can easily find their potential lucky charm.
But what actually happens in the human brain while gambling? How do scientists explain the psychology of gambling? Is there any way to reduce the risk of addiction? These are just a few of the topics we’ll cover in the next few lines!
Pastime, adrenaline rush, or something else: why do people play?
How many times have you seen an extreme athlete and asked yourself why is he doing it? Much like skydiving or any other terrifying sport, most people play primarily because they enjoy it. In fact, a recent poll confirmed that less than 20% of adults have never gambled in their life. After all, there is nothing wrong with a game of poker with friends, as the financial aspect of gambling is usually completely unimportant.
Reward system in the brain
In fact, the system of rewards in the body works in a very similar way during gambling as it does in extreme sports.
For example, when a person jumps out of a plane, they release unlikely large amounts of the hormone adrenaline. Such an adrenaline rush not only affects the circulatory and other body systems, but also stimulates the reward center in the brain.
As a result, the brain is manipulated in a certain way and the person experiences a strong emotional reward.
Dopamine release: what is it?
The neurotransmitter dopamine works broadly in a very similar way to adrenaline. The chemical substances from the group of neurotransmitters have the task of transmitting the impulse from one brain cell to another. This process takes place in so-called neural synapses. Having a larger amount of dopamine in a synapse ensures that the impulse is transmitted from cell to cell faster, which ultimately improves the perception of a feeling.
To make it easier to understand, let’s take a car on a street as an example. If the road is well maintained, your car can get you from place to place quickly and easily. Otherwise, you will surely have certain problems in achieving the goal.
Gambling Psychology: How To Get Addicted
Scientists have traced the connection between the release of dopamine and the associated feelings of happiness back to the brains of the Stone Age people. Back then, people felt a strong emotional reward for killing an animal and thereby providing the family with enough food.
With alcohol and drug use, the reward center in the brain is manipulated in a certain way. Although these are clearly harmful substances, the consumption of them is associated with an increased release of dopamine. The person then feels a strong emotional reward and strives to repeat this feeling at regular intervals. The consequence of this is a significantly increased risk of addiction.
The happiness hormone dopamine also plays a decisive role in the perception of the feeling conveyed in gambling. According to a scientific study, the dopamine release is equally high in both gains and losses. Accordingly, the gamblers feel happy in both cases, so it is definitely not surprising that the players keep placing bets.
Casinos increase the risk of addiction
Although the processes described above are strong enough in and of themselves to get people to try their luck, casinos use a variety of techniques to make this desire even stronger. The providers use several manipulation techniques to control the subconscious of the players and to increase the dopamine release even before the bet is placed. Some of them are calming colors, dimmed lights, or pleasant music. As a result, the dopamine release is additionally stimulated with every step taken in the casino.
What are the main reasons behind gambling addiction?
In order to bring you as close as possible to the risk of addiction in gambling, we have taken a closer look at the main reasons behind it. We have divided these into three smaller groups, namely: biological, psychological and socio-economic reasons.
Numerous scientific studies have shown that people with abnormally high levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine are at a much greater risk of addiction. However, this is not the only chemical substance whose increased level has a negative impact on the risk of addiction. This also includes serotonin and norepinephrine. Genetic factors also play an important role in the psychology of gambling. According to researchers, there are specific variants of genes that extract these neurotransmitters and are thus linked to gambling addiction.
This group of reasons behind gambling addiction includes the factors that affect people’s psyche. First and foremost are certain marketing techniques that providers use to bring gambling closer to gamblers and thereby increase the risk of addiction. At least as important is the fact that humans are social beings. The younger generations in particular strive to copy the behavior of the elderly in order to belong in that way. It is very dangerous to look at gambling as a way out of everyday life and the stressful situations associated with it, as this can very easily lead to addiction.
Both the environment and the financial situation of people should not be overlooked in the psychology of gambling. A greater risk of addiction exists primarily among those who come from poor backgrounds or who have had to struggle with this problem in their families. Most gambling addicts try to solve their financial problems this way, which in most cases does not end well.
What is compulsive gambling addiction?
The term compulsive gambling is the uncontrollable urge to continue to gamble, even though this process already has many negative effects on everyday life.
In these cases, people give up their bets regardless of losses, just to keep the dopamine level at a high level and thus to feel an emotional reward again and again. Such behavior represents the last step in the development of gambling addiction.
In solving the problem, it is usually not possible to bypass professional help, as only a small percentage of people can find the way out on their own.
Does the personality of a compulsive gambler exist?
Unlike cases of drug and alcohol addiction, the negative effects of which some people inherit from their parents and thus indirectly become addicted to, not a single person is born with compulsive gambling addiction. Such a problem arises only in the course of human life and cannot be carried over directly to new generations. Although the treatment of this disease is a real challenge for most of them, a large percentage of gambling addicts manage to find their way back to normal with professional help.
These are the main warning signs of gambling addiction!
Just as in the case of the reasons behind the development of gambling addiction, the most important warning signs can also be divided into three smaller groups in terms of their detection. These are physical signs, behavioral signs, and financial signs.
Similar to the case of the other addictions, certain physical signs that the majority of gambling addicts display were also described in the psychology of gambling. This type of addiction mainly leads to other problems, with an increased consumption of alcohol or drugs in the foreground. Such things lead to certain changes in the body, such as severe weight gain or weight loss, pale skin, dark circles under the eyes, etc. The gambling addicts are mostly depressed, which leads to nervousness, sleep disorders and problems in working life.
A misfortune seldom comes alone: The well-known proverb is used a lot, especially in the case of gambling addiction. As a result, people struggling with this problem also develop some behavioral disorders that are easy to spot. As a result of the depression mentioned above, addicts often develop thoughts or attempts at suicide, as well as anxiety disorders, when they are unable to pursue their passion. Most addicts keep the problem a secret and feel guilty about it. Other easily recognizable behavioral disorders are: relationship problems, distance from friends, involvement in criminal activities, etc.
A characteristic feature of all gambling addicts is the fact that they strive to make up for the losses they have incurred with new stakes. But this tends to add to the mountain of debt, forcing addicts to borrow money or sell their property. Such behavior creates major financial problems that gambling addicts typically cannot overcome without help.
How do you develop healthy gaming habits?
Gambling responsibly: In this article, however, we will not only deal with the psychology of gambling, but also provide a few tips that will help you develop healthy gambling habits and thus prevent gambling addiction.
Don’t let tricks on the web fool you!
All you have to do is call up your web browser and enter the appropriate term into the search engine to display a series of articles that are said to be used to manipulate slot machines, blackjack and other casino games. Do not be fooled by this, because the gambling providers and their gaming options are scrutinized at regular intervals by certain authorities and third-party agencies in order to avoid exactly this. From a purely mathematical point of view, the house always has a certain advantage over the player and that cannot be changed with any trick in the world!
Think of gambling as a pastime!
While all casino games advertise high odds, you should think of gambling as a fun pastime in the first place. Keep the ball flat and be realistic, because incredibly high profits really only come from movies and series!
Regardless of whether you are online or on site: When trying to make luck, you should definitely set certain limits and never exceed them. Only in this way is it possible to leave the casino as the winner in the end!