Addictions and Gambling
Gambling as a verb means “to play or practice dealing with cards, dice or other playing things with an intention of winning.” Gambling is actually the act of playing something with an unpredictable outcome for the purpose of winning something in return. Gambling therefore requires three components for it to exist: risk, consideration, and a payoff. In simple terms, one considers the possibility of losing something to win something and the other considers the possibility of gaining something from a win and the third considers the possible outcomes of both outcomes and considers the probability of these outcomes. Gambling as a concept can be traced back to the earliest times when games of chance such as “wheat spoils wheat” and others were played by ancient peoples.
As time passed and gambling became legalized, it started to mean different things to different people. For example, in some places it was changed from a game of chance to a game of skill where the house always won. Later on, when electronic and video poker games came out, it became known as “video poker” or “online/offline” gambling. Today, casino games like slots, video poker, bingo, roulette, blackjack, poker, craps, baccarat, etc.
Gambling as a verb usually refers to acts of chance (usually described as “a gamble”) that involve betting, though not necessarily money, on a proposition. For example, if you are playing the lottery, chances are that you are betting the amount of the ticket that you are entitled to; there is nothing wrong with this per se, but the problem with it is that the chances of the winning lotto ticket being the actual amount of the jackpot are highly unlikely. This is where the gambling aspect enters the picture. It is this aspect of gambling that gives it the name.
The other side of the coin, then, is that gambling can be an addictive behavior, characterized by a need for more gambling, with each successive trip to the casino game or show bringing with it an increased (but often unreasonably high) house edge. House edge is the amount by which the house keeps its losses, i.e., the amount it stands to lose by paying out more than what you paid in. A small house edge does not give the gambler a very high risk/reward ratio, but a very large house edge does. Some of the more popular online casino games have relatively large house edges: Texas Holdem, Blackjack, Poker, etc. The house advantage for games like slot machines and bingo, which are known for their random outcomes, is the same for each game as for the fair game of baccarat.
Many people view gambling as a form of harmless fun. However, the true nature of gambling is that it involves risking money, and people who gamble often become addicts, especially to the point where they cannot stop thinking about gambling. What drives people to gamble is the thrill of uncertainty – the unknown possibility that you will beat the casino’s house advantage. When you consider all of the risks and complications involved in gambling, it becomes clear that betting on any type of gambling activity should be carefully viewed.
If you feel you have an addiction to gambling, please know that there are options available to help you kick the habit. Gambling addictions are treatable and can be overcome with professional help. Our website offers information and therapy consultations related to addictions and gambling, including confidential options for recovery. Contact our office today and get started on the road to a new life.