Gambling Addiction: An Introduction

In recent years the term “gambling” has been broadly used to refer to a number of activities, including sports betting, bookmaking, gambling online, slot machine gaming, bingo, and horse racing. It can also be used in place of “sport,” “gambling,” or “playing.” Although some people argue that there is some grey area between gambling and therefore gambling may be an acceptable term, this seems to be the most widely accepted usage. Gambling refers to the act of throwing something of value into an atmosphere with an uncertain result with the aim of winning something more substantial. Gambling therefore needs three elements for it to qualify as gambling: chance, risk, and consideration.

The first element, chance, is what gamblers see as the best indicator of whether or not they will win lose, or have a close call. This element includes the chance that an event will occur and the likelihood that the event will occur at all. The second element, risk, relates to both the possibility of the event occurring (which may include probability and history) and the possible outcomes that could occur. The third element, consideration refers to how the wager is structured and whether the risk of losing more money than you wagered is worth the reward of gaining money. While it is impossible to accurately assess the probability of a specific event, probability estimates are often used to determine the likely payout of a particular wager.

Many forms of gambling involve some degree of risk; however, because some risks are inherently greater than others, some people are more likely to develop gambling addictions than others. Gambling addiction is a difficult addiction to treat because the causes and reasons for becoming addicted vary from person to person. Some factors, such as childhood trauma and upbringing, may contribute to gambling addiction while other factors such as the constant need to gamble or the perceived importance of gambling to ones social life or daily function cause individuals to develop addictions.

The factors that make some forms of gambling more likely to develop into addiction include childhood trauma, early experiences with negative reinforcement, use of gambling as a means of distraction, and use of credit cards to pay for gambling activities. Other common factors that may increase the likelihood that an individual will develop gambling addictions include reliance upon gambling as a source of motivation, negative reinforcement, a fear of failure, poor judgment skills, and poor money management skills. Individuals with gambling addictions may also suffer from boredom or a lack of entertainment, may gamble excessively, and may feel a deep sense of guilt or shame. As these individuals age, they may see gambling as a way of reducing the perceived losses of their everyday life or as a way of avoiding or forgetting pain or negative feelings.

Treatment for gambling addiction can range from simple self-help programs to in-patient or outpatient treatment programs. In the past, there was little that many people suffering from gambling addiction could do to avoid gambling unless they lived in isolated communities where other people did not gamble. However, the Internet has created a new world where gamblers from around the world can interact with each other and develop close relationships. This is especially true of those individuals who have been gambling for many years or are approaching the end of their life. Today, many people who have developed gambling addictions find that they have developed online strategies and there are a growing group of people who play online for profit, rather than just pass the time.

Gambling addictions are extremely difficult to overcome and require professional help if an addict wants to rid themselves of this destructive habit. Since most gambling addicts lose more money in the beginning than they win, the amount of time that is spent in therapy is very limited. This group of people usually requires residential treatment, which is best administered by a licensed therapist who specializes in gambling addiction. However, there are some treatment options available on the Internet and in behavioral therapy programs that do not require a professional license. Those people who are able to overcome addiction and live productive lives are the ones who will succeed and who will find success in any form of addiction.