How Does Gambling Affect Your Brain?


Gambling is always so much fun. That is something that you often hear people say, especially those that seem to be frequent customers in a gambling institution. Whether they are going to a live or online casino, people seem to be compelled to spend money on games that have been designed to make them lose.

But despite the small odds, people still go and gamble. Why is that? Well, in today’s article, I will try my best to explain the possible reasons why people gamble and why they continue to do so even after having lost so many games.

The Thrill of Uncertainty

One of the possible reasons why gamblers are so addicted to casino games is the fact that everything is uncertain. Whether we are talking about the jackpot prize or the probability of them winning it all, it seems that it plays a part in the whole equation.

You see, Dopamine, a neurotransmitter found in the brain that is released during bouts of enjoyable activities such as sex, drugs, and eating, is also released if the possible reward that you are going to get is uncertain. According to tests, this particular neurotransmitter also gets released even long before the potential winnings.

This feeling of anticipation could help explain why people experience a gambling high, depending on their level of addiction.

According to some studies, Dopamine in gamblers seem to happen in areas of the brain that is also activated by people who take drugs or are prone to substance abuse. Researchers also note that repeated and prolonged exposure to such substances may lead to lasting changes in the brain- some deemed irreparable.

In another study, the researchers have found that repeated exposure to the uncertainty that gambling presents can even change the minds of people in how they perceive losing.
In the study, they have found that even when losing casino games that the players are also triggered to release dopamine, even to the relative degree that winning does.

What does this mean? Well, it means that people with gambling addiction are compelled to keep on playing despite constant losses because there is always a release of dopamine that would provide them that ‘high’ regardless of winning or losing.

The Environment Compels Them

It is not only the uncertainty of gambling that compels problem gamblers to keep on playing; the actual environment itself is conducive for people to play on and on and on. According to studies, casinos are always filled with flashing lights and sounds that go along with it. This, along with the uncertainty of gambling, can trigger the urge to play for many gamblers (especially those that are addicted to it). Heck, even when playing in a gambling app, there are some lights and sounds that would get triggered when you just fire the application up.

‘Winning’ Despite Losing

Winning at the casinos is infrequent, at best. You might have to lose a couple just to win a game. There is a phenomenon known as ‘losses disguised as wins’ that perfectly illustrates this notion.

Basically, since players are compelled to play on and one, the number of losses pile up and even if they win a game (and thus, earning something), they will not really win the same amount of money they’ve spent the entire time.

But, despite all of this, because the machines now are filled with dazzling lights and sounds that make you feel like a real winner, people will still play regardless of the circumstance.