History of Gambling Psychology

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You may not realize it, but there is a lot of psychology involved with gambling. It has a way of taking over and when it does, then gambling addiction kicks in. The thought process is much the same for many of us:

 

“It’s a long shot, but it could be my lucky day”.

 

“I’ve played this much, it would be a shame to quit now. A win could be around the corner”.

 

“I have lost a lot of money, but if I double-up I might be able to get those losses back”.

 

If this sounds like you, then you’re in the grip of gambling, and not by accident. Gambling has always been rooted in human psychology, that’s why it is as popular as it is. That’s why, even though slot machines are heavily in the house’s favor, thousands of people play them around the world every day. It’s why people still play the lottery and believe that they have a chance of winning, even though they have more chance of being struck by lightening, and yet, when you ask them which is more likely, even if they know the answer and even if they say the answer, a part of their brain is still telling them, “yes, but it could be my lucky day, and I’ll never get struck by lightening.”

 

It’s not because humans are essentially idiots (although that’s not to say we’re not) nor is it entirely down to the way our brains are wired. In many cases, it’s the companies that develop the slot machines, the casinos that own the table games and the sports books that advertise their services on TV and everywhere else that are controlling us, tricking us. Don’t get us wrong, we love gambling and we do think that there is a way you can do it and win, but even successful gamblers still splurge on lost causes every now and then, because even successful gamblers fall under the spell.

 

Lottery

 

Let’s be honest, the lottery is the biggest con ever. This is a game where your chances are so slim that they may as well not exist. Still, it is also a game that involves very little trickery on part of those that run the lotteries, because when it comes to this form of gambling, most of it is down to human stupidity. Simply put, we struggle to find reason. We allow ourselves to think that someone must win it, and why can’t that someone be us? In doing this, we tend to visualize the world and all of the people playing the lottery as far fewer than they actually are. There are millions of them, but we don’t really know what millions of people look like.

The lottery also costs very little to play, which helps us to believe that it’s worth the risk. But some lotteries run for years, and some of them run twice a week. In the United Kingdom, for instance, thew National Lottery has been going for over 15 years, running twice a week for much of that time. At around $2 per ticket, even those buying just one ticket a week will be spending $4 a week, $16 a month, $208 a year and close to $4,000 for the 18 years it has been running. A fairly small amount considering the length of time, but the truth is that many people buy at least 5 or 10 tickets for each lottery draw, spending over $1,000 a year on a lost cause.

 

Slots

 

Slot machines have the highest house edge in the casino, yet they are one of the most popular areas in any casino. The big jackpots tempt players using the same psychology that the lottery uses, but it doesn’t end there. Slot machines are intelligently made, with specialist teams that work on the audio, ensuring that the sounds are pleasant and promising throughout, making the player think they are winning when they are actually losing. They are also developed to create many near misses. That is not to say that they are fixed, but rather that via their very nature they create “close call” moments.

 

Such moments make the player think that they came so close and that if they try a few more times, they might be able to make it where they previously failed. Such close calls also serve to create frustration and anger, and it is these feelings that cause people to bet bigger and riskier, which inevitably leads to problem gambling.

 

Modern slot machines also have bonus rounds and random features that reward the player for doing nothing but persisting. These rewards help them to persist, and when they go for some time without seeing one, there is a sense of one being “due”, which means they tend to play more until it arrives. If it then arrives and didn’t meet expectations, which means they didn’t win enough money, then that spurs them on to play even more, until they are rewarded with a sufficient bonus round. Of course, it is a never-ending cycle because if such a reward does not arrive then they will be frustrated and will continue to play for one, if it does arrive then they will be rewarded for their persistence, and they will have extra money to continue to play with.

 

That is the beauty of slot machines, and that is why the casinos love them so much. Similar psychology is used in other games, but it is lotteries and slot machines where the human mind is truly tested.

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