Whether it’s the innocent type of going on a bet with one of your friends or the serious addictive type of spending hours behind the slot machine, gambling is neatly intertwined in human life. We take gambles almost everyday and some are rewarded, while others are not. It’s not surprising that gambling has always been and still is a lucrative business. Monetizing a gamble by adding real cash to the equation raises the stakes as well as dopamine levels. Would this reward hormone be the cause of human tendency to find appeal in gambling? Or is there more involved? Let’s find out.
Human nature definitely plays a part
Anyone who’s ever gambled knows there’s a certain thrill that comes with the guess. The ‘what if’ presses down on common sense more than we’d like to admit. But there’s no harm in that. That’s just part of human nature. The same applies to trading stocks for example; any time it would be smart to sell, chances are you’ll wait because what if the rates become even more advantageous? But we don’t refer to the stock market as a casino, while there’s definitely gambling and money involved. Then where is the boundary between a full time job and gambling based on human instinct? It probably involves an external factor.
Designed to deceive
What plenty of gamblers don’t know is that they’re unconsciously tricked into spending more time inside a casino than they’d initially plan. Naturally, the slot machines and poker tables are inviting and are definitely keeping you inside for a while, but the casino itself – it’s layout, design and music – is actually holding your brain hostage without you even knowing.
Ever wondered why you often find yourself lost in the immense space that is a casino hall? Because it’s actually designed for that purpose. The maze-like floorplan is supposed to make you feel lost and draw attention to the distractions that are in place. Moreover, the dark setting and lack of windows or clocks makes you lose track of time. It may well be dark outside by the time you’ve decided to stop but your brain is not aware of this fact. In short, gambling in a casino for the most part is you making decisions subconsciously that are in favour of the casino owner.
One of the main reasons why gambling is appealing, is the factor of uncertainty. The reward of gambling is uncertain, releasing dopamine in the brain, causing the urge to play on. In anticipation of the reward, dopamine levels in the brain increase significantly, resulting in a willingness to take more risks. Naturally, the environmental factors of casinos only stimulate this risk-taking behaviour. The combination of things makes gambling in casinos quite addictive. However, it depends per individual how much dopamine is released, how sensitive one is to outside stimuli and to what extent one is willing to take risks. These factors thus create a distinction between people prone to addiction and people who are less sensitive to addictive behaviour.
When you know you’re quite prone to addiction, starting to gamble is probably not the best idea. You’ll have all odds against you. However, if you do enjoy gambling but want to protect yourself from the deceiving nature of casinos, you can always find the excitement online. Plenty of casino games can be found online too, ranging from typical slot machines and jackpots to poker, live blackjack or baccarat.