Online casino games have been garnering attention and participation from more and more novice and experienced players. This shift could be attributed to reasons like convenience, the variety of games, better pay-outs, etc. But it has a lot to do with psychological underpinnings, too. For example, a 2009-research published by Stanford Business highlighted that for many people, playing casino games means buying entertainment. So, it is correct to say that people often gamble for reasons other than the broad socio-economic reasons.
Here’s why so many people get hooked on to gambling.
Easy availability of online casinos
While there are some who love the experience a land-based casino offers, most enjoy sitting at their home and playing casino games online as it saves them the time and effort required to travel to a land-based casino.
Moreover, online casinos offer a wide range of games to choose from. This multitude of online casino games also reflects that players like to have variations in gaming preferences. It could be a result of both – the differences in motivation and accessibility. For example, younger people tend to choose skill-based games, whereas older players prefer simpler games.
With the ease of accessibility of casino games, the variety of games and a stable internet connection, people now find it difficult to let go of gambling online.
Better focus and improved decision-making skills
Online casinos help players increase their concentration span and improve decision-making skills. Also, small incentives at every level leading to a bigger jackpot contribute to keeping a player motivated. This way, players get to enjoy their leisure time with a sense of meaningfulness without having the need to go anywhere.
Plus, online casinos are much preferred by beginners as they can start with free versions and collect points that may be used later when they decide to wager for money.
Sometimes, online casino gaming is a haven for those looking for temporary distractions from everyday stress. Many people initially start online gaming to add excitement to their monotonous everyday routine and socialise at their discretion if they choose to partake in multi-player games. Another way of looking at the appeal of online gambling is the hope of serendipity — a feeling that you never know when betting may become a life-changing experience.
Further, as underlined in an article on the International Journal of Gambling Studies, “participation in leisure activities is known to have a positive impact on health and subjective well-being (SWB) (Haworth & Veal, 2004; Newman, Tay, & Diener, 2014; Rolston, 1991).”
For image and identity
It is a common notion that online casino players are primarily driven by profit, but it is not true. Sometimes people engage in online gambling to build their self-image and identity as a successful person. For instance, if a player makes a bluff during a card game, it is sometimes because they want to flaunt their expertise in online gambling. All players like to portray themselves as skilful and might never want to admit that any game was too hard for them. This also brings in self-affirmation. Casino games are set in virtual environments, which facilitate expressions of an individual’s ideal self, i.e. what they want to be, rather than their real self (Kleban & Kaye, 2015; Suh, 2013).
Dopamine hit and the adrenaline rush
Dopamine is the main power driver and primary neurotransmitter in the brain’s reward system. Recent studies indicate that the interaction between dopamine and rewards is not so direct (Linnet et al., 2012; Blum et al., 2012). The release of dopamine seems to show the randomness of reward delivery rather than the reward per se. This puts forward the conclusion that the stimulus to gamble is significantly (though not completely) determined by the inability to predict reward occurrence.
The brain’s reward system, which is primarily connected to the motivation and pleasure, secretes dopamine into the body to make the player feel thrilled while they are betting. Gambling promotes a feeling of “excitement”, which activates the reward system to release up to ten times more dopamine than what is produced during everyday experiences.
Think about it and analyse if these reasons resonate with you when it comes to your love for online or offline gambling.