Words by Anders Bergman, founder of QuitGamble.com. At QuitGamble, Bergman helps people find the cause of their addiction and a way to treat it
Last time we discussed responsible gambling, the definitions gambling problems, and addiction, and presented the gambling addiction curve.
In this article, we'll continue out on the addiction curve and start looking at the connection between why we gamble and its consequences.
What happens when our motive to gamble changes from entertainment to hunger for big money?
Naturally, you'd never buy a lottery ticket if you knew you wouldn't win. Nobody wants to give away their hard-earned money! But there is a clear distinction between a person who buys a ticket for "a minute of excitement" and a person who gets ten tickets, eager to scratch them to see if he won.
(Did you know that the return to player for most scratch tickets is below 50%? It's a mathematical suicide, in other words. We'll talk more about the return to player in a few weeks.)
The person who buys ten tickets is doing it to win. But what is the problem with that? It's still fun. Right? Before we continue to discuss that, let's look at a few games that mainly, in my opinion, focus on winning money:
- All gambling on online casinos
- Sports betting where you play on more games than you watch
- To play Blackjack often in the bar
- Slot machines in bars or restaurants
When a person gambles to win, some of the following can quickly happen.
- The amounts and bets are increasing
- The gambling takes up more time
- There is a clear motive to win
- The craving to gamble grows
- You think about gamble even while you’re not gambling.
Gambling to win money is like playing with fire. Especially if you’re prone to become addicted.(You can test yourself here) Can you recognize any of the behaviors above?
Do you remember the Gambling addiction curve?
When you gamble to win, the addiction curve starts to curve downhill. You might not notice it in the beginning. Gambling might still be fun, but you’re out on thin ice.
We don’t recommend any gambling. At the same time, life is about making fun of things. Many dreams about visiting Las Vegas. They dream of taking a chance at the Roulette table. Bet €100 on 13, to see what happens. Similarly, supporting the local sports club is not about winning money. You do it for the experience and as a nice gesture.
We reckon that all casino games are about winning money — most gambling commercial emphasis your chances to win. To be fair, there has been a shift in the focus on the commercials in Sweden in 2020. There are more elements of excitement and fun than million-dollar jackpots today. (I believe this is a step in the right direction) The limited bonus offers have also made it less attractive for the casinos to focus on "the big bucks".
When it comes to slots, they can for sure be entertaining, but the risks that everything falls over the edge are way too big, particularly if you win in the beginning. If you want to know what happens when you win, you can check out this video:
The same thing can quickly happen in sports betting. When focus shifts from a comfort bet on Manchester United in the game against Arsenal (Arsenal fan) to betting on many games, it's easy to lose control, and the bets may increase to get the same dopamine boost.
Poker is all about money. Everyone who plays poker knows that it’s a game of winning or losing money. Poker doesn’t work without monetary stakes. (One exception might be strip poker)
Even professional poker and sportsbook players can have gambling problems. The different to 95% of us others is that they win.Still, many of them have issues with gambling too much.
When the stakes increase, things can go out of hand quickly. As the video above indicates, a big win can have catastrophic consequences and change the gambling behavior. Suddenly, small winnings do not give the same positive kick anymore. The bets increase to keep the excitement going.
As a consequence, the person moves further out on the Addiction Curve. Do you remember the definition of gambling problems?
”Someone with gambling problems has started to lose control over the gambling. Gambling takes up more and more time. The fun of the parts is still larger than the negative consequences, though.”
By now, I guess you've made the same connection as I did. When a person gambles to win money, there are money similarities to problematic gambling behavior. It doesn't mean the person has gambling problems, but he is definitely in the risk zone to develop a gambling problem.
In the next article, we’ll look at the last step of the gambling addiction curve. What happens when the person gambles to win back? If you want to read more, I can recommend the article about Addiction on QuitGamble.com.
Until next time!
SiGMA Americas and AIBC Digital Summit were launched with great success in the past week, pushing the shifting grounds of the gaming industry towards LatAm and discussing the current developments in digitalisation. In a first for SiGMA, both the gaming and the tech segments of the conference were offered in 3 languages, English, Spanish and Portuguese.
SiGMA will launch its next series of events in 2021, with SiGMA Europe headlining next year's calendar. Inaugural summits in Asia and Americas are also set to dominate the year, with SiGMA Asia launching in May 2021 and SiGMA Africa in 2022! Explore the full agenda here and register now!