why do some people get addicted to gambling

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

Why do people stick to harmful habits?

Why do some people get so addicted to gambling?
Why do some people hold on to gambling even though they keep losing money?
Why would someone keep doing something that is destroying his life?

All casino games are designed in such a way to make the casino profitable. In all cases the casino pays less than it gets. This means that people always lose their money to casinos on the long term. You can win 100 dollars today and feel happy only to lose 50 tomorrow then 100 the next day.

I said before that in order to understand why someone does a certain behaviour you need to get a deeper understanding of things that happen in his mind before, during and after doing that behaviour.

Once you understand the dynamics that motivate the person to do that behaviour you won't only get a clearer picture of what's going on in his mind but you will also be able to help him stop that behaviour.

why do some people get addicted to gambling

In my previous article Why candy crush is so popular i explained how the uncertainty about the size of the reward can motivate a person to stick to a certain behaviour.

People go and gamble because they don't know what they might get out of the machines. Had they been told that the maximum amount they can make is 20 dollars per day very few would have became addicted to gambling.

When a person gambles he thinks of his dreams, the possibility to get rich and to change his life style. And because anything might be possible in gambling the person finds no logical reason to stop him from dreaming. Its the attachment to certain dreams plus the fact that the rewards people get from gambling are variable that motivates most people to start gambling.

I my previous articles i said that your bad emotions will disappear the moment you start to take actions to solve the problems that caused them. For example, if you were financially troubled then trying to find a job might improve your mood a great deal.

Now as soon as someone gambles his subconscious mind thinks that he trying to solve his financial problems and as a result prevents him from feeling worried about the future for as long as he is gambling. The lack of worries and anxiety provide a great reward for the person and motivate him to come and gamble again. This is called positive reinforcement where doing something that makes you feel good motivates you to do that thing over and over.

In my book The ultimate guide to breaking bad habits i said that people stick to certain habits because they help them meet certain psychological needs. Now the need to feel secure about the future is temprorary provided to those who gamble because as long as they are gambling they believe they are on their way to get rich.

Why don't people lose hope in making money?

But if most people lose money in gambling then why do they keep comming back?
Here are some of the reasons that prevent people from breaking gambling addiction:

  • 1) The illusion of control: When i say most people lose money in gambling i am not referring to the outcome of a single game but am actually referring to the total amount of money they lost since they began gambling. When a person makes a small gain, 20 dollars for example, he believes his skills are becoming better and so the illusion of being in control motivates him to try again
  • 2) Its doable!: When someone wins a large sum though a slot machine for example noticeable sounds are played and certain lights flash to draw the attention of the people near by him. Now when a gambler sees someone winning a large sum of money he starts to believe that he can do it as well and as a result he becomes more motivated to try again
  • 3) The near miss effect: When a person gets 2 similar shapes on a slot machine he stars to believe more in the possibility of getting 3 similar shapes forgetting that each slot has different distribution of shapes to reduce the possibility of getting 3 similar ones. This near miss effect makes the person believe that he was so close to winning and motivates him to try again
  • 4) Returning to point zero: Many people get stuck with gambling just because they are hoping to get back the amount of money they lost. This usually happens when a beginner loses a large sum of money and so becomes eager to gamble again in order to get them back

The book The ultimate guide to breaking bad habits was released by 2knowmyself. The book will help you get over all bad habits that are haunting you in a short period of time.

2knowmysef is not a complicated medical website nor a boring online encyclopedia but rather a place where you will find simple, to the point and effective information that is backed by psychology and presented in a simple way that you can understand and apply. If you think that this is some kind of marketing hype then see what other visitors say about 2knowmyself.

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