Serious Mental Disorder as Earning Tool - Who Benefits from Gambling Addiction?
Why do gambling-addicted people spend all their money in casinos?
That is because of their illness, or is it a specially built system that exploits people with this disease? Let's discuss it.
The gaming addiction problem isn't old. 40 years ago, gaming was banned everywhere in the USA, except Atlantic City, Nevada, and New Jersey.
The ice broke in 1988 when Congress passed a law on the gaming industry legalization. As a result, there are more than 1,000 gaming establishments in more than 40 states in the United States today.
According to statistics, 80% of adults in the USA gamble and 3 out of 5 of them have addiction-related problems. Partially, this is due to the fact that gaming is available to almost all walks of life. Americans spent more than $116 billion on gaming in 2016, which is a lot, isn’t it?
So, “cui bono?” (who benefits?). The state supports the gaming industry, promising new jobs and taxes. However, the new casinos detuning is a guarantee of increasing the number of so-called "pathological addicts". None of the gaming business representatives invests in the development of programs to help addicts.
They are justified claiming that addicted people will continue to play, even if all the casinos are closed. However, don’t flatter yourself, the presence of gaming addicts is very profitable for the casino. The gaming entrepreneurs are trying to hide it, but, according to the 2014 study, gaming-dependent players brought casinos from 40 to 60% slot machine revenue. These machines force the player to continue playing until they spend the last cent. This helplessness can lead to the most terrible consequences, including suicide, as happened with Scott Stevens.
There is no doubt that the casinos happy to have gaming addicts since such people don't stop even when they run out of their own money - they walk for loans. Gaming business doesn’t participate in gaming addiction treatment programs. Plus, casinos don’t make contact with banks to help them recognize an addicted gambler.
As a result, we have a closed system that breaks people down and turns them into gaming addicts. We need legislative initiative from the state to fight against this scheme. Since such an initiative comes exclusively from rare individuals, it can be concluded that the gaming business is beneficial to everyone, including the authorities.
It is a well-known fact that gaming is highly addictive and some psychological processes often contribute to its strengthening. The results of neurological studies show that this phenomenon has much in common with drug addiction, which is why it is recognized as a mental disorder.
In many countries there is a system of players' self-exclusion, thanks to which addicted people are suspended from the game if they feel a real threat to their own well-being. Thus, it is possible to fight against excessive enthusiasm for gaming.
Why people are encouraged to play? The first reason is because they want to feel excited about risk. The gaming atmosphere is presented to the players as a kind of alternative reality. When players are surrounded by people and sounds of emotionally saturated environment, it stimulates feelings and sensations.
The next psychologists’ reason is the belief that gaming is glamorous. The media and advertising agencies understand the psychology of gaming and often create a stylish, fashionable image of gaming. In movies consumers often see how the heroes have fun during the whole night at the casino. This is often perceived as a "high society", which the lower and middle classes especially strive for.
Despite the fact that winning in gaming is basically a matter of chance, many players believe that they can control the outcome to some extent. People tend to invest in activities that they can influence, the illusion of control actually encourages players to continue making efforts.
Is the problem of gaming becoming more global and more serious? Experts found that the percentage of addicted people around the world has not increased, despite the proliferation of gaming in various forms in those jurisdictions where it is legal.
So, in the first research, which was conducted in the beginning of 21 century, scientists interviewed more than 2,500 respondents, asking them questions about their involvement in gaming. Experts asked how often a person plays. Then the same questions were asked to other people a decade later. However about 3,000 people took part in the second survey.
The results of the study shocked scientists. Despite the fact that gaming has become more accessible and more widespread, the percentage of gamers has not raised a lot.
A pathological addiction to gaming in the population occurs from 1.4 to 5.1%. Initial facts apply to microsocial factors (customs of participation in the game, upbringing). The degree of prevalence of games among individual players is constantly determined by psychological factors and personality characteristics of the players. The development of game addiction is determined by the biological characteristics of the game.