Wilson Mizner says Gambling is a sure way of getting nothing for something.
There is this assumption in our society that gambling, drinking, smoking, drugs, casual sex, etc. These are all forms of addiction and has been labeled as low-morality act and wrong.
If you don’t belong to the acceptable and behavioral norm of society, you are considered immoral, now whether you are a gambler, drug user, drinker, smoker/chain-smoker, gay, lesbian, or homosexual, it does not matter.
So, is it that Gambling is a form of addiction? Why do people indulge in gambling? Why do they gamble even when they lose more than they win?
Before I enlighten you conclusively, I’d want you to know about both sides of the coin in terms of gambling.
Let’s get you some information on the benefits of gambling, the effects of gambling, the causes of gambling addiction, and the risks and dangers of gambling addiction before I conclude my viewpoint on- Is Gambling an Addiction?
7 SURPRISING BENEFITS OF GAMBLING
Gambling, more so healthy gambling or responsible gambling,(INSERT LINK HERE_HEALTHY GAMBLING) does have some benefits in terms of brain health as well as the general well-being of a person.
Let’s read about those 7 surprising benefits of gambling, shall we?
1. Fun and Entertaining
Games like tag, hopscotch, Simon says and matching games are fun and engaging for children, similarly, Gambling games such as the game of dice, roulette, (INSERT LINK HERE_GAME OF DICE AND ROULETTE CONTENT) cards, etc. are fun for adults. If treated and played with care and responsibility, gambling is just like recreational activities that are played for fun. Gambling is also a form of entertainment.
2. Exercise for the Brain
As we all might remember that we were forced to get involved and play in our childhood, saying that it is an excellent way of exercise, not just physical exercise but mental exercise. Similarly, Gambling is also a form of exercise for the brain as it involves skills and mental presence, and agility to adapt to different situations and make decisions and play the next move. Science also backs this benefit of gambling.
3. A Chance at Winning and Doubling your Money
Gambling is a great way to increase your money if you play your cards right and luck favors you. We all gamble in life, be it in stock markets, cryptocurrencies, gambling games, or casinos. Given you have an idea about how gambling games work, the experience that you share in terms of the given game can make you understand the probability and possibilities of wins and losses of the game. And once you play with experience and knowledge, you can improve your chances of winning the game.
4. Great for the Economical Health of a Country
Did you ever wonder why gambling and gamblers, if is negative for our society aren’t banned? Well, it’s because our government earns a lot of money through that which helps in the economic budget of the country. At the economic end of the year, all the gambling industries pay a lot of revenues and taxes to the government, and the gamblers that won a fair share playing those games also contribute to the same. The money that is received from the gambling industry, helps the government’s economic policies.
5. It can be a way of Socializing
Gambling, being a recreational pastime, just like any other social event such as parties and gatherings done for fun and celebration, can also be a way of socializing. The addition to gambling is that other social events don’t involve engagement as gambling games hold one’s attention as well as it’s fun now and then to gamble.
6. A variety of Games to choose from
If you genuinely love games, video games, and phone games. Trust me you’ll also enjoy the games that are associated with gambling. Not all games involved in the gambling industry expect you to bet your money. For example, some online gambling games allow you to play for free, without money till you understand the game and want to play with money. A variety of games can keep one engaged and involved.
7. Enhancement of personal skills
Games of any sort are said to have a positive impact on brain development. Similarly, Gambling games also have a positive impact on people when it comes to cognitive ability enhancement and personality development.
POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE EFFECTS OF GAMBLING
There is a lot of research that has been done over the years on the prevalent effects of gambling and to non-prevalent effects of gambling, but most of the research focuses on the negative effects of gambling rather than the positive effects of gambling. The approaches that have been used to study the impacts of gambling such as the socioeconomic approach, and the public health approach. In socioeconomic research, the impacts of gambling are studied on the parameters of illnesses and the cost of illnesses which are most common in the research and analysis of alcohol abuse and drug abuse.
But the limiting side to these researches is that they fail to include the positive impacts of gambling. Studies show that growth in the gambling industry would have a positive economic impact.
While on public health research, the impact of gambling is both negative and positive.
On the positive side of gambling’s impact, studies show that gambling games influencing healthy brain functioning. As there was a study that was done between non-gamblers and non-problem gamblers, showed that non-problem gamblers had a great personal well-being than non-gamblers.
While on the negative side of gambling’s impact, the case study researches and statistical data show an underestimation of what we know to be the harmful side of the matter.
The underestimation shows that problem gambling leads to a lot of mental disorders that are moderate to serious and a lot of personality behavior changes that can be dangerous and violent to argumentative.
There is a name for the addiction to gambling, called gambling disorder. But the term Gambling Disorder has now been changed to “Behavioral Addiction”.
And then some people transition from healthy gambling towards unhealthy gambling that is disordered and uncontrolled.
So, What is the reason that people transition from healthy gambling towards unhealthy gambling?
Well, it has been scientifically suggested and concluded in the biomedical model of problem gambling, that the reason that people transition from healthy gambling towards unhealthy gambling is an underlying submissive neurobiological abnormality, some sort of a brain disorder that becomes recessive in people.
Also, Gambling addiction can cause a lot of dangerous effects on the families of gamblers.
It can ruin families in terms of savings, money, and assets.
In conclusion, the impact of gambling on the world is both positive as well as negative.
It all depends on the factors such as gambling environments, what games are available for play, the gambling policies, and the gambling revenues.
CAUSES OF GAMBLING ADDICTION
Compulsive gambling, Problem Gambling, (INSERT LINK HERE_PROBLEM GAMBLING) Pathological gambling, or gambling addiction, whatever you may wanna call it.
The causes of all these are the same.
So, Let’s move to read about the causes of gambling addiction to understand why people gamble.
1. The first and foremost cause of gambling addiction is substance abuse.
Be it drug abuse, alcohol abuse, or anything else, it all contributes to addictive tendencies in people.
Studies say that gambling is a form of addiction and if a person has addiction tendencies, chances are they would expand their world by indulging in other forms of addiction.
2. Mental Disorders such as anxiety, depression, OCD, bipolar disorder, and ADHD.
These mental disorders can lead to obsessive and compulsive behaviors that can make one slip into gambling addiction.
3. Personality Disorders such as histrionic personality disorders, narcissistic personality disorders, etc.
These personality disorders are incurable and so they contribute to mental instability in people by nature that is not curable and so they are at risk of developing a gambling addiction.
4. Age groups
Age Range, as backed by statistical data from a number of case studies on gambling suggests that a certain age group can also be a cause of gambling addiction as gambling tends to be more popular in adults aged, 20 to 50 years.
Also, if children of small age have seen adults in their family gamble, they would get involved in gambling at some point in their lifetime.
5. Peer Pressure is also one of the leading causes of addiction in people.
To hang out with a set of friends who gamble, you’ll have to participate. Or if you feel pressured to make decisions to make your gambler friends happy, it can lead you to indulge in gambling addiction.
RISKS AND DANGERS OF GAMBLING ADDICTION
A lot of risk factors are at play when it comes to gambling that can be dangerous.
Let’s get you to understand the dangers of gambling so that you can understand the following topic (Is Gambling an Addiction?) in a more elaborate manner.
The dangers and risks of gambling addiction are:
1. Suicide/Suicidal thoughts are the most common risk of gambling.
Pathological gambling/ Gambling Addiction leads a person so, into debt, financial loss, and regret at some point in their life that can mentally break a person down to a point where they feel like suicide is the only option to clear their past deeds and to pay the debt.
2. Mental Disorders are also another common risk factor of gambling.
Studies have been done and as a result, it is proven that gambling addiction (or any addiction for that matter) can drag a person’s mental health through the mud. Due to the ups and downs in winning and losing, gaining money and falling into large debt can create incredible highs and lows of emotions. This emotional instability can cause various mental disorders ranging from moderate to extreme.
3. Poor physical health is also a risk factor for gambling addiction.
As we all know physical health is an outcome of what you indulge in, be it food, drinks, beverages, people, environment, or recreational activities.
Gambling addiction can lead to a wide range of physical illnesses that can be quite traumatic for the person suffering and the family of the said person.
4. Financial Issues
We all know by now that Gambling involves risking something of value in hopes of gaining more. It was in ancient times people used to gamble with their possessions such as brothers and wives (reference: Dyut Sabha, Pandavas- Mahabharata).
Today we gamble the modernized versions of what we know of as possessions, assets, and properties and all of these possessions are financial. Gambling Addiction or gambling without being responsible for your savings and needs can result in a great financial loss. Many people go bankrupt in a concise while of their pathological gambling phase and then regret it.
5. Family issues
When there are financial issues in a family or even in relationships, things start getting awry and negative between people after a while.
Gambling without being mindful can lead to financial problems and if you have a family to look after, this can be a very irresponsible move to involved in the gambling industry.
6. Imbalance in all areas of life
Addiction to Gambling can create an imbalance in your whole life. Money is a necessity these days, and gambling involves money (directly or indirectly).
So if one is not responsible about how much money to play with and rather they keep irresponsibly betting, chances are that they could lose it all and end up with nothing.
And this would affect every part of their life, be it work, family, social or personal life.
One rash decision can push a person on the edge.
IS GAMBLING AN ADDICTION?
Yes and No.
The answer is quite complicated to answer in a generalized manner.
Gambling can be a form of addiction for people who are unhealthily indulging in it, whereas it can be really fun for people who are responsible and mindful.
Many Researchers and Specialists believe that problem gambling is somewhat similar to any other addiction such as that alcohol, or drugs.
The initial two case studies which included the addiction to gambling and pathological gambling back in the 1980s were the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders III, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders III-R, and Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV published by the American Psychiatric Association, and International Classification of Disease 9 CM and International Classification of Disease 10 publishes by the World Health Organization.
These studies suggested that Gambling is an addiction, which needs to be looked at soon.
Gambling Addiction was said to be a major mental health issue that was supposed to be looked at by mental health care professionals.
While the studies done by the American Psychiatric Association and the World Health Organization showed that gambling is some sort of disorder of impulse control rather than an addiction, a lot of researchers and specialists around the world did not agree with it.
However, there are some specialists from other fields of study, that agree with the fact that pathological gambling/problem gambling is indeed an addiction and needs to be looked at.
Let’s take, for instance, the definition of Addiction/Gambling addiction, it has never been defined in a particular way that is a basis for judgment for all types of addictions. Instead, it has been left to interpretations that are personal to each researcher, specialist, and doctor.
An addiction researcher has stated that this lack of a definitive basis is unfortunate and hinders an effective study of addictions.
All the risks and dangers that we read above are the same reasons why people consider gambling an addiction.
All in all, gambling has always been viewed as a form of addiction that plagues the whole world, saying that what I mean by betting is Pathological Betting, also known as Problem Gambling, Unhealthy Betting, or Irresponsible Betting.
Gambling is starting to be identified by the national government and local governments of India as well as the USA, the UK, and other countries as a source of generating large amounts of revenue.
Where some forms of gambling remain banned and illegal, some gambling games are accepted and there are more to be accepted in the coming generations.
Many theories have been proposed and given out by a variety of clinicians, laboratory scientists, field researchers, and participant observers on why people choose to gamble, healthy gambling, and pathological gambling.
Historical Records and Archaeological Records prove the existence and craze of gambling since the time humans have evolved.
But So has the shadow side of the fun and entertaining gambling, that is pathological gambling.
“You don’t gamble to win. You gamble so you can gamble the next day!” – BERT AMBROSE
And now I’m going to leave you at this with the hope that you’ll try to be more aware of betting addiction.