Popular Gambling - relaxing or poor coping ?


It helps me unwind and forget the pressures of the work day.

It's fun.

Many that enjoy popular ways to gamble at home are at risk when using this way to relax.

You are more at risk of of poor Mental Health than enjoying your well earning evening of rest. 

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We love watching people win. The reaction when they hit the jackpot, How many times have you seen on TV, people smiling and holding onto a giant cheque ? 

We get pleasure and feel that moment when their lives change. 

But wins like these, are rare.

The gambling industry is built on people betting and losing money. It is one of the biggest industries in the world. It is worth slightly more than the sports industry. Which we really like betting on. It dwarfs other forms of entertainment. 

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Countries That Gamble The Most (https://www.worldatlas.com)

In 2023, the total gambling market is expected to hit values of almost 100 billion US dollars, with more than 20% of the total world population estimated to have gambled at least once. Australia was the first country to deregulate gambling, and it shows.







7.Hong Kong $503.00



10.Spain $418.00

In March 2022, at least 43% of Brits gambled at least once. 

Almost a third of Brits (27%) have taken part in the National Lottery in 2022.

Gambling addiction is estimated to cost the UK up to £1.27 billion per year. 838 million is held in online betting accounts in the UK (April- September 2020). https://www.finder.com/uk/gambling-statistics

In March 2022, 43% of Brits gambled at least once. 

However, more males than females are gambling, with around 45% gambling in the last 4 weeks compared to 42% of females. 

By far, the most popular type of gambling in the UK is the National Lottery, with almost a third of Brits (27%) taking part in it in 2022. The next most popular types of gambling are scratchcards (10%) and sports betting with 5% of Brits taking part in this in 2022. https://www.finder.com/uk

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In everyday conversations, debt is a taboo subject. We feel shame and prefer not to share, anticipating harsh judgement.

Do hear your friend talk about their gambling sharing how the last time their gambling earnings

"I am in the negative" ?

Wow I won this big amount but lost the whole lot shortly after ?

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A lot of people play gambling apps on their smart phones that's the smart way to gamble ? 

There is no chance of winning money. The games look like gambling games but the payout, is virtual. 

What is real is the money you spend to keep playing. They are called social casinos. They now generate money nearly as much as traditional ways of gambling.

Clearly money don't gamble just for money. There is something else going on. 

Why do we gamble ?

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Easy come easy go. Everyone would like to have a taste of being rich. I will be the next millionaire ! 

The urge for us to get something for nothing get us in a vice like grip.

Gambling has been around for a long time.

Dice have dots not numbers because they predate our numbering system and ability to read.

Gambling became big business when we figured out how we calculate probabilities. Gambling operators are like insurance businesses. 

In the last few years living in Cumbria has for some become a gamble as many in Carlisle and Cockermouth have experienced. 

Every year, home owners pay for insurance, each year, some homes will flood, for insurers a flooded home is a lost bet. They will owe the homeowner money, if they do their maths right, the money they make is still far greater than the money they pay out. 

When the maths indicate a higher loss risk home insurance premiums escalate or for some getting insurance is difficult.

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Casinos use the same maths. 

Take American roulette, it has 38 slots, 18 red, 18 blue, 2 are green (casinos tend to win on those). You can bet on red and win on three spins in a row. Or even 10 spins in a row. 

The casinos knows with enough time, wins will get cancelled out by your losses plus a little extra. That's called the law of large numbers. In a small slice of time, you beat the odds, with enough play you cannot escape.

So why do we gamble when the odds are so against us ?

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Chance is maths, if you feel are lucky it is more like magic. We commonly use belief systems that propel us to gamble again.

The gamblers fallacy – 4 spins lose, the 5th spin has to be a big one.

We keep playing because a win is due. It is a surprise if it does not come., because we believe that gambling lose and win outcomes should break down more or less evenly. That's only true for large samples.

Illusion of control -the belief that you can increase your odds in favour of pure chance. Lottery players know this well.

If I see a place number, in your mind you you putting in something of value in order to win (birthday number)take dice. People tend to roll more softly when they are trying to roll a low number.

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This magical thinking is part of what makes gambling fun.

Take slot machines, they are the biggest money maker in most casinos. Even though if you strip them down they are just random number generators. Rigged in the casinos favour.

For the original one armed bandit, mechanical devices that had a big levers you pull, hence the one arm. You would not sit down. They were an entertainment device to quickly get your money entertain you while you were waiting in line,

Slot machines have evolved a lot.

Next generation: they had chairs, no more coin payoffs, in your play. If you let people sit there longer, you get more money out of them in the end. 

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No more handle slot machines. They now have a button pressing 20 times a minute. They kept innovating the wheels, they are now screens. 

Eyes directed in to the screens, is all about reducing your fatigue, .moving you from one event to the next. In a seamless and friction less way.

The industry hit the sweet spot.

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No more big wins or loses gently drains your money. That does not bring to mind gambling or suspense.

Volatility it brings to mind comfort rhythm and lulling. This is exactly how regular slop machine players talk about their experience.

Take me away from everything for a while.

3 -4 secs while spinning, there was nothing that mattered.

I could sit there for hours and entertain myself.

I felt free and peaceful.

There is a name for this: feeling the zone. 

The zone is you are not worried about winning or being in control you really want to just keep going the zone is the hold

But it all starts with the hook that moment when we place a gamble and anticipating the possible outcome may occur. 

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Give a monkey tasty food and up goes the neurotransmitter dopamine in their brain. 

This is the pleasure reaction. 

Add a signal to get the food: touch a lever to get the food. Psychologists have trained the monkey to touch the lever and then be food rewarded. 

They measured the monkey's dopamine. Gradually over time you see the dopamine release move backwards in time. At first, it is the pleasure of eating the food. Then dopamine release happens earlier when pressing the lever, in anticipation of food appearing. From the point at which the reward is actually received to the point in time when the signal is given.

This happens in humans when we gamble.

The dopamine neurotransmitter is activated in our limbic brain when we anticipate a reward. 

That's the "pause", the sweet spot.

It does not matter what the spin showed, I got the high off the actual spin, the anticipate of the win.

Uncertainty is kind of uncomfortable but just uncomfortable to be appealing.

That additional dopamine rush makes the reward gambling so attractive and potentially addictive. 

But we build up a tolerance and so crave for more.

I gambled everyday, I lost my house, my marriage, my kids, I hurt everyone I knew.

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The higher risk factors:

More than three quarters of people who problem gamble will have an anxiety disorder (Generalised Anxiety Disorder) almost as most with depression.

The more disadvantaged the neighbourhood you live in: the risks go up.

Risks are higher for certain types of games:

Sport and card gamblers get addicted on average within 35 years but for slot players it is just over one year.

Every single spin play gives that dopamine response 

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Wednesday, 21 February 2024

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