The Psychology of Online Gambling – Why People Do It

online gambling

To understand why people gamble, we must first understand the psychology of games, strategy, skill and money. There are many factors that fit into the reasons why we choose to gamble. It’s a combination of thrill-seeking, strategists, and sometimes money-hungry players who find excitement in escaping reality by playing.

Why Do People Gamble?


Humans are social beings by nature. It makes sense that people would want to get out of the house to enjoy a nice outing, especially at the casino.

For many, the casino experience reaches beyond the slot machines and poker tables, it extends to the bars, entertainment, and social interaction with friends.

For online gamblers, the graphics and features of online casinos can be incredibly inviting and provide hours of entertainment for anyone who is bored at home.

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Cost & Convenience 

Playing online casinos is cost-effective because it doesn’t involve getting into your car, paying for gas to drive to the casino and buying yourself a few drinks while you spend your pretty pennies. 

The convenience of using any technology to gamble online is pure awesomeness. Playing doesn’t require any effort other than an internet connection and you’re well on your way to making some money.

Gambling Superstitions

Have you ever waved your hand over the slot machine? Maybe you carry a good luck charm and shake it in your hand as you pull the slot lever? Others say a little something before choosing the right card.

Whatever method it is, many gamblers (pro or not) have ritualistic behavior. This is a huge psychological factor to gambling.

Positive Mood

Studies have shown that when a person is in a good mood, they are more likely to gamble and continue gambling. Who can say no when the lights start flashing and the numbers start increasing?

For many, the emotions experienced when gambling are equated with the feeling one might get when there are more sunny than rainy days.

As is true in other situations, if a person is in a better mood, there is a higher motivation to act.

Gamblers’ Fallacy

Imagine you are playing roulette. There are more black numbers than red.  So you put all of your money on red hoping that this will be the next outcome.

It doesn’t always work this way, but the Gamblers’ Fallacy believes that if an action is done repeatedly then an altering action will follow. As we know, however, this isn’t the case. All gambling involves chance and anything can happen.

Bandwagon Effect

Not everyone plays the lottery, but they might get sucked into it because their coworkers want to them to participate in a lotto pool at work or the media is boasting about how many tickets have been sold for the biggest jackpot of the year.

Those who don’t typically purchase lottery tickets will choose to buy and try their luck at winning big all because they feel left out, not because they truly want to do it. 

Since the internet is pushing online gambling, it gives more people an incentive to start playing.

Gambling Problems 

As fun as gambling can be, it can also be dangerously addictive. Some gamblers will risk losing all of their savings, belongings, and sometimes even their homes. The biggest loss of all can come when loved ones try to help them solve their problems but the gambler refuses to change.

Online gambling can have the same effect and become addictive. In this case, the gambler will constantly stare into their phone or lose sleep playing on their computer. This is all the more reason to take caution when playing.

 Escape Reality

Unhappy people have a bad habit of making irrational decisions. For example, carrying out large purchases. For some, the problem is too much shopping and for others it’s gambling. There are 4 stages in an escape gamblers journey:

  1. Intro Phase: Spending larger amounts of money than usual in order to solve financial problems. These gamblers may also be trying to escape their reality if they face challenges at home or work.
  2. Losing and Chasing Phase: In this phase, the gambler believes the winnings are “never enough” and continues to play even though they should stop. These are where the liars are spotted and the wagers increase. Feelings of remorse and anger follow. 
  3. Desperation Phase: In this stage, gamblers neglect their health and overall well-being. They might even attempt illegal means to acquire gambling money from theft, fraud, etc. Unfortunately, they will lose friends and family at this stage as it progresses to a high-risk point.
  4. Hopeless Phase: The last and most harmful phase is when the gambler has completely lost everything and possibly risks being arrested for their actions and behavior. Sadly, some gamblers will commit suicide because they cannot get themselves out of their situation. 

Depressive Gambling

Feelings of loss and disappointment can go beyond mere unhappiness about losing a few bucks; it can progress to depression gambling. 

Those who suffer from depression have the following characteristics: changes in appetite, negative thoughts, loss of interest in activities they used to love and desire less social interaction. 

Gambling Help Online writes, “A recent study has found that people with a gambling problem were twice as likely to be depressed and 18 times more likely to experience severe psychological distress than people without a gambling problem.”

The reason for gambling can swing both ways.  Sometimes people start gambling because of their depression, believing they might feel better if they win more money. It’s not a smart self-treatment plan, but it does happen.

If you or someone you know may be addicted to gambling you should seek help from a medical professional or speak to a counselor before the problem gets worse.

Moving Forward

The gambling industry is an enormous business that shows no signs of slowing down. The introduction of online gambling is giving people more platforms on which to play their favorite games and win some cash. 

Gambling is a joyous pastime but one should take precaution because it could turn into a negative experience if it becomes an addiction. Play it safe and play for fun!

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