Ah, gambling. The reason we're all here in the first place. Still, this particular activity has been seen as somewhat of a phenomenon for centuries now. For example, why do some people enjoy gambling as a form of entertainment, while others don't seem to be able to stop? How can one explain the desire to gamble and why doesn't everyone experience it? This and many other gambling-related questions have been posed time and again and we're going to take a quick peek into the psychology of online gambling.
Online Gambling Seen from Different Perspectives
For starters, why do some people view online gambling and gambling in general as a form of negative behaviour right off the bat? It is fairly easy to answer this question. Namely, it is generally thought that the people who equate gambling with bad habits simply aren't risk takers in other spheres of life, either. As they prefer to stick to risk-free situations as much as possible, it's completely understandable that they wouldn't engage in something as unpredictable as online gaming, isn't it?
It is thought that people who see online gambling as a form of bad behaviour usually aren't prone to risk taking in other spheres of life, either.
On the other hand, there are those who view gambling as nothing more than a pure source of fun. Such people will put online gambling in the same basket as video games, going out for a couple of drinks with friends or watching a movie. They might occasionally fire up an online slot and try their luck at it and, while losing doesn't feel good, they won't continue playing until they 'inevitably' hit the big bucks. Simply put, their desire to gamble is not as strong as it is with other individuals.
The Desire to Gamble Explained
Speaking of which, the desire to gamble can supposedly be tracked back to childhood. It's seen as a perceived risk that results in the reception of a reward, which can easily be connected to subsequent teenage years and even adulthood.
For example, in primary school you could've auditioned for a role in a school play. The possible outcome would be that you either get the role or you don't. Such a 'risky' behaviour could result in a rather positive reward, such as meeting new people, popularity, success and, in turn, a sense of happiness and accomplishment.
What's more, when you act on that 'desire to gamble' and you attain the prize at hand, your brain releases endorphins and dopamine, enforcing the risk behaviour, which is known as conditioning in psychology.
The Importance of Control
Usually, problem gamblers operate on the belief that losses are simply 'near misses'. Generally, they seem to overestimate their chances of winning and, as they wait for their 'near misses' to turn into wins, they are prone to indulge in prolonged gambling activities at online casinos.
This is why it's been said before and it doesn't hurt to hear again—having a grip on reality is crucial when engaging in online gambling. While it isn't always easy, you should always try to keep your emotions in check and know when to walk away from the machine. Like we already explored in our post about managing your bankroll, in order to stay safe it is always a good idea to set up a budget and stick to it. Do that and you'll be much less likely to overstep any bounds!
Share Your Experience with Us
What about you? Do you feel like you've always had that desire to gamble present in your life or is playing online slots just another form of pastime for you? Also, if you have anything else to add on the topic of the psychology of online gambling, don't hesitate to speak up in our forum—we'll be waiting!