Gambling refers to the act of betting or wagering on an unknown outcome with the intention of winning something in return. Gambling therefore requires three components to be present: risk, consideration, and a prize in expectation. For example, you can gamble by picking up a pack of cigarettes at a store, betting the pack will be lost, then after one cigarette in exchange for one win, you may keep on betting for the duration. You are then considered to have made a successful gamble. This sort of gambling is known as ‘adventure gaming’ and has been used for thousands of years to make money.
Today, a lot of people are involved in gambling, most of them are middle-aged, some of them are well off, but all of them are gambling addicts. Gambling addiction is not a disease, but is a behaviour that can easily be transformed into one, especially if gambling becomes a regular habit. People involved in gambling do not have an abnormal amount of money in their pocket, nor do they have an abnormal level of need, so it is very possible to become addicted. It is estimated that approximately 25% of the world’s population suffers from some sort of gambling problem at some time in their life, including alcohol and prescription medication use. There are a lot of laws in place designed to control the sale and access to gambling; however, it is still widely accepted and encouraged that gambling is a socially acceptable and thrilling activity.
In order to understand why gambling may become an addiction, one must also look at other forms of addictions such as alcoholism and drug abuse. These kinds of addictions are usually brought on by the individual’s genetic predisposition for addiction, environmental factors such as peer pressure, and certain events and situations that elevate the addictive urge. With gambling addiction, there are three specific factors that increase your risk for becoming addicted: low self-esteem, little or no experience of success, and financial instability. People with little or no financial experience are at a higher risk of becoming addicted, due to the fact that they have little knowledge of how gambling works, and therefore feel more confident in placing bets, leading them to risk greater amounts of money than they should. Peer pressure is another significant factor that increases your risk of developing addictions, as you are more likely to consult with friends who have gambling problems or addiction.
People with higher levels of stress and anxiety, as well as those who have unstable and inconsistent sleep patterns, are also at a higher risk of developing gambling addictions. It is believed that stress and anxiety are leading causes of addictive behavior patterns, since they interfere with the normal functioning of the brain, contributing to feelings of frustration and powerlessness, which in turn leads to uncontrollable gambling behavior. In addition, financial problems heighten the stress levels of addicts, causing them to see gambling as an outlet for their debts. Adherents to gambling addiction may also be suffering from psychological issues such as depression, bi-polar disorder, guilt, and self-doubt.
Although it is illegal to gamble online in most states of the United States, lotteries are legal in twenty-four states. Gambling is legal in the United States in all but three states – Alaska, Nevada, and Oregon. In many ways, lotteries are more similar to slot machines than to casinos. The jackpot won on a lotteries game is not the same as the jackpot won on a casino table. However, lotteries do attract some of the same gamblers who visit casinos, due to the chance of big prizes offered.
There are many people who do not realize that they have a gambling addiction, and live relatively “normal” lives. For instance, many people work jobs and maintain a social life. They may occasionally have financial difficulties, like a divorce or a loss of a job. It is possible that these individuals gamble a little bit, or even a lot, but do not think of it as a problem. For others, however, gambling is a serious problem, and they become gamblers by choice. Regardless, of how many times someone may think they are having an addiction problem, in most cases there is a problem.