Why Can’t Gamblers Stop?

Nobody likes to lose – even those who are addicted to gambling. But still, they continue to bet. If the city always wins, why not put money together? Gambling addicts say that, despite their overwhelming defeat. There is a sense that takes them back to the card table or slot machine.

“I want to gamble all the time,” said a former gambler who recovered to Scientific American in 2013. “I like it – I like the taste I get.”

And recently, a Wall Street executive admitted that he tricked his family. Friends, and other people up to the US $100 million. Or more than Rp1.3 trillion to finance his hobby.

“That is only one way that I can get money to fulfill my gambling addiction,” he told the court.

But if someone loses money – maybe even loses work or home as a result of gambling. How can that sense of satisfaction outweigh their sacrifice?

Psychological Problems

The first thing to remember is, people, gamble not just because the prospect wins. Mark Griffiths, a psychologist at Nottingham Trent University. Whose specialty is addicted behavior says that gamblers have a lot of motivation for their habits.

In a survey of 5,500 gamblers, the prospect of “winning a lot of money” was the strongest factor. But then followed by “because it’s fun” and “because it’s fun”.

“Even when you lose gambling, your body still produces adrenaline and endorphins,” he said.

“People buy entertainment.”

This finding is supported by a 2009 study by researchers from the University of Stanford in California. Who found that about 92% of people have “lost their basic limits” that they cannot release.

Even so, the fact that they lost money after visiting the casino. For example, did not affect their enjoyment of the experience.

“People seem to be quite satisfied with small wins, and they will tolerate small losses”. Said one of the study authors, Sridhar Narayanan, at the time.

“They realize that in the long run, they will lose rather than win.”

And for the time being, losing can encourage a positive response to victory. This is caused by the gamblers’ expectations of victory change as they lose constantly.

The Temptation to Win That Cannot Be Withstanding

Robb Rutledge, a neuroscientist at University College, London. And colleagues conducted experiments on 26 subjects. Whose brains were scanned as they made a series of choices. Each of which could show certain and uncertain results – a gamble.

Participants were also asked to rate their happiness scale after each turn or after guessing three times. And a similar experiment. Without a brain scan, was conducted on more than 18,000 participants in a smartphone application. The Great Brain Experiment.

The Great Brain Experiment

Various interesting findings, the team found that when participants had lower expectations that they would win. Their response to getting a reward was worth it.

This is then proven both by the subject’s report that they are happy and the data from the fMRI scan. This scan shows increased activity in areas of the brain that are connected with the dopamine nerve.

Dopamine, a complex nervous transmitter, can, in this case, be connected with changes in emotional states.

“If people lose a lot, it will lower their expectations. And this will increase their excitement when they win,” Rutledge said.

This taste alone is tempting enough.

“If some bad things happen to you in a row then your expectations go down. But then you get a good result, and you might be happier,” he said.

“Even at this point, you should have left.”

Gambling Addiction Factor

But can tools such as gambling machines be able to actively manipulate? Griffiths wrote about the sign or instructions given by the electronic game machine to the player.

Little is known about the design of these machines in player behavior. But, for example, many machines and casinos use red or something similar. Which is considered more stimulating.

Then there are also sounds and sounds. Griffiths considered the possibility that the ridicule of a machine that represented the antagonistic character of The Simpsons affected the player.

For example, when a player loses, Mr. Smithers’s character says, “You are fired!”

“In line with the hypotheses that support the theory of frustration and cognitive regret. So this can make gambling tools more tempting,” Griffiths wrote in one paper.

One of the key factors for how to add a gamble is how often a player can bet.

Because the availability of opportunities to gamble is related to the level of the problem of gambling addiction in a community. Griffiths says that the number of rewards that can be given. And not the actual rewards or even the type of gambling. Gives rise to pathological gamblers.

Many Substitute Gifts Are Already Designed

Games and machines are sometimes designed to keep players interested by offering substitute prizes. Such as additional credit. Or, after losing, the chance of winning is greater than usual in the next opportunity.

“If you give small rewards that aren’t merely money, then people will still respond,” Griffiths said.

And interestingly, there are examples of cases. Where gamblers develop “shadow skills” as a justification for obtaining the possibility of reward.

Griffiths gave an example of a game machine https://gettradr.com/ in England that was designed with adaptive logic. That the tool would provide more than what was given by consumers in certain periods. And after that, the tool would return to the normal system.

This means that some players will try to find (or “skim”) machines that have not yet given a jackpot. Hoping that they will be there when the machine gives the jackpot.


All the findings of this study conclude that gambling is not always a matter of winning. But rather the process of betting. And other factors around it that make it fun.

Although gambling addiction cannot be explained simply. Sometimes there are many reasons that give rise to addiction to someone. But it’s certainly interesting to see how the excitement is related to the structure. And the style of the game being played.

And even when gambling isn’t a problematic obsession. The game is still entertaining for those who come home with empty bags.

Then, bet on red or black? But it doesn’t seem to matter.

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