The uncontrollable urge to gamble and gamble is a very common psychological disorder, being one of the biggest addictions in today’s society.
Play responsibly.” This is what all the sportsbook ads we see on television and hear on the radio say. It is an industry that generates billions of euros around the world and that, although many people comply with the recommendation, there is a significant part of the population that falls into addiction.
Gambling and gambling is one of the strongest addictions that exist and that, like alcohol and tobacco, is a legal “drug”. No substance is consumed, but the addictive effect on the brain is equal or greater.
- We recommend you read: “The 25 most addictive substances and drugs in the world”
For this reason, it is striking that tobacco advertising is prohibited but that gambling houses can bombard television with all the advertisements they want.
In this article we will see what gambling consists of and we will see what are the main types of this addiction , the incidence of which is increasing around the world.
What is compulsive gambling?
Gambling, recognized by the WHO as a disease, is a psychological disorder that affects between 1% and 3% of the population and that arises from exposure to games that have what is known as “addictive capacity”, which are those in which little time elapses between the bet and the prize won.
These gambling games of chance have the potential to become addicting. At the moment in which the behavior of the person is sufficiently altered that an uncontrollable need to play appears, we speak of gambling.
Gambling, therefore, is a pathology that causes a behavioral alteration such that the person only gets satisfaction when he is playing, without thinking about all the negative consequences that it is causing.
The person loses control of his life. Live to play . It is a very strong addiction that seriously interferes with a person’s personal and professional relationships, even appearing a withdrawal syndrome when not playing. As with other drugs.
A “responsible gamble” can quickly lead to an addiction that destroys relationships with family, friends and partners, causes large amounts of money to be lost, forces you to gamble more and more money, increases anxiety and irritability, causes physical symptoms of insomnia, stomach pain, and poor appetite, etc.
Why is gambling addicting us?
The “game”, despite not being a physical substance that is consumed, is one of the strongest drugs that exist . It creates addiction to us because when we are exposed to it, our body experiences a series of sensations to which our brain “hooks”.
When we bet and receive a prize, our brain releases hormones such as endorphin, a molecule that causes changes in our physiology that result in a very pleasant feeling of well-being and pleasure.
Once we have experienced that sensation, the brain wants to return to those levels of pleasure, so it encourages us to bet again. Therefore, what we become addicted to is the hormones that make us happy.
However, there comes a point where the brain has already got used to that dose of hormones and does not experience the same sensations as at the beginning. Now you need to bet more and win more. It is at this point that we are addicted to gambling, as it is the only way the brain has to obtain pleasure.
This causes the brain to not think clearly and its only purpose is to play and gamble. As with any other drug, failure to do so causes us a severe withdrawal syndrome that makes us feel sick. That’s the brain’s way of telling us that it “wants to play more.”
What are the main types of compulsive gambling?
Now that we have seen what gambling is and why gambling can be so addictive, it is time to look at the main types of gambling.
Here are the 6 most common types of gambling .
- Gambling addiction
It is one of the most common types of gambling and that has the most negative consequences for those affected. It’s about the addiction that casinos generate.
Inside there are a multitude of games and machines based on chance and that are programmed so that people win with a frequency necessary so that they lose money but have the feeling that they win it.
Bingo, Roulette, Craps, Blackjack, etc. are all based on luck. The person deposits money and sometimes gets a prize, which generates enormous satisfaction and ends up making them addicted to that feeling.
- Slot machine gambling
It is, perhaps, the origin of gambling, because of the easy access . Any bar has a slot machine inside. In this case, the addiction is generated because very little time passes between the user putting in the money and receiving the prize.
This facility makes the person lose large amounts of money quickly and that, although the net benefits are negative, when they earn money they obtain great satisfaction. There are many cases of gambling in these types of games.
- Gambling at sports betting
Sports betting is the cause of most cases of gambling today. There are many centers that are dedicated to this, but what has really triggered addiction cases is that they can be done online .
With no physical money involved, people are no longer aware of all the money they are losing. This has also led many young people to enter the world of gambling.
The danger is due to the ease of betting from the mobile or the computer since there is a false assurance that you can always win. People believe that by understanding sport, you will most likely win. But the truth is that sports results end up being a matter of chance, which causes bettors to lose large amounts of money.
They mix sport, which in itself is something that many people enjoy, with the game, obtaining a highly addictive cocktail due to the adrenaline it generates and because it is relatively easy to earn some money. The problem comes when the brain does not have enough with a small amount and needs to win more, so you have to bet much more money and risk losing it.
In Spain alone, sports betting houses have a turnover of more than 2,000 million euros. Soccer, basketball, horse racing, athletics … Any sport is used to create addiction to the game.
- Role-playing gambling
Role-playing games are played using cards and are very complex board games in which you compete with other people . Game progress is largely determined by chance, so it’s not uncommon for an addiction to appear.
This, together with the fact that it is an escape route from reality for many people, makes role-playing games a very strong addiction. People end up losing themselves within the worlds and in the characters or roles they take, developing an equally strong gambling disorder (although money is not wagered here) as sports betting or casinos, causing social and labor problems.
- Video game gambling
It is one of the most common and at the same time undervalued gambling problems in the world. Videogames is one of the most powerful entertainment industries in the world, with a turnover of more than 100,000 million dollars in the world.
Video games, as with role-playing games, are an escape route from reality and there are games that reward the behavior of the players, making them easily become an addiction . They base their power of addiction on being fun and competitive.
One of the main problems with video games is that any child has a console at home, so you have to be very vigilant that they do not develop an addiction.
- Micro-transaction gambling
Micro-transactions are one of the components of the video game industry that has generated the most controversy in recent years. It consists of mixing the addictive power of video games with that of gambling. That is, they encourage video game users to spend money on the game.
Some video game developers include micro-transactions, which consist of a kind of game of chance in which the person pays to obtain rewards in the game, so that the people who pay have more benefits, which in turn encourages the others to do so so as not to lose competitiveness.
They are small amounts, but precisely for this reason they end up causing people to lose a lot of money and end up becoming addicted not only to the video game itself, but to the reward system based on chance that it offers.