It is impossible to isolate a definitive reason why people become addicted, but here are some potential contributing factors:
Some people who are susceptible to developing a gambling problem can often believe things about their gambling that don’t seem logical to those who are not affected. They could swear that performing certain rituals, like always sitting in the same seat at the blackjack table, will bring them luck or that they can win back losses by continuing to gamble increasingly larger amounts of money.
These are just some of the myths about gambling addiction that help fuel some sufferers’ behaviour.
There is no doubt that winning a wager, casino game or a lottery prize is exciting and, for some, that rush of adrenaline can be addictive. As they become more used to the feeling that comes with a slice of good fortune, some players feel the need to bet bigger amounts, at longer odds in order to recreate that sensation. This can be the beginning of a downward spiral, particularly if the gambler is staking more money than they can afford.
Factors like stress, difficulties with relationships and family arguments can see some people take solace in gambling as a way to either cope with or forget about the problems in their personal lives.
It is reported that half of the people who suffer from gambling addiction also have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol. The two issues can feed into each other, with the sufferer’s judgement over financial decisions being impaired due to alcohol and some problem gamblers trying to use drink to numb the pain of their losses.
Most casinos, poker rooms, bingo halls and bookmakers, both online and offline, will offer tempting promotions to encourage people to spend money at their establishment.
Some people will find that they are unable to turn down these deals and can end up belonging to a growing number of clubs and sites, giving them more opportunities to stake cash they can’t afford to lose.
Studies suggest that other factors that can contribute to a problem are a history of gambling in the family, bettors winning big soon after they start gambling and trying to recreate the feeling, people having so-called “addictive personalities” or a number of other psychological issues. No matter what the cause, the result - gambling addiction - can destroy relationships, careers and even lives if left untreated.
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