Gambling is now a common adult pastime. However, they can often be pathologically addictive. Some players cannot stop and become addicted to gambling, while others quietly enjoy poker, slots and other forms of entertainment.

On this page we will talk about how gambling can ruin lives. You will learn about the causes of addiction. There is also information about what makes gamblers unstable to addiction.


  • What kind of players there are
  • How money affects
  • Causes of gambling addiction
  • Game design and its impact on players

Types of gamblers and the risk of addiction

The main difference between amateur gamblers is the ability to experience their gambling experience differently. The famous psychiatrist Robert Custer was the first to propose a treatment for gambling addiction and identified six main types of gamblers.

  • Professionals.
  • Anti-social.
  • The usual social.
  • Serious social.
  • Running from reality.
  • Pathological addicts.

The classification was proposed in the 80s of the 20th century, but it is still relevant today. In each of the allocated groups there is a different degree of risk of addiction formation.

Professional players

Professionals consider gambling as a source of primary income. Such people are quite few in online casinos. The reason for this is the advantages of the virtual club over the player. Nevertheless, professional players regularly look for bonuses, try to count cards in blackjack or play poker all the time. It is in video poker that they occur most often, as players compete with each other there.

Professional players almost never become addicts. They follow the developed system of the game, and make decisions only after logical reasoning.

Antisocial players

This group of users is similar to professionals, as they too consider casinos as a source of earnings. However, they constantly look for illegal methods of making money and use them. Their goal is to get an advantage over the casino. In this they are willing to break the law, play in groups, use stolen cards, etc.

Anti-social gamblers have virtually no manifestation of addiction. But they can often use addiction as an excuse for their illegal actions.

The usual social players

For such players, gambling is a form of entertainment. Often they play with friends, socialize while playing or just relax. For such players, online casinos do not cause any negative impact on their lives. They are the ones who demonstrate a truly healthy and appropriate attitude towards gambling.

Serious social players

The group is similar to the previous one, but with a major difference: gambling is the main type of entertainment for them. They often spend their time at online casino sites. However, in their life the main priority is given to family, work, friends, etc.

Serious social players can control their habits and hobbies.

Running from reality

These players seek to escape from real life difficulties with the help of gambling in virtual clubs. And the problems can range from simple boredom to depression or difficulties at work.

If the player can't cope with his bad mood and thoughts, his gambling addiction will begin to manifest itself more strongly. In the worst case scenario, he becomes a gambling addict.

Pathologically dependent users

Ludomaniacs (fully addicted gamblers) have no control over their cravings for gambling. Online casinos have taken a central place in their minds and lives. They will pay any price in order to keep gambling. Gambling entertainment destroys their lives with maximum force.

On this page we will consider exactly this type of players: pathologically addicted, problem addicts.

How does money affect you?

In short, money is not the main factor. In the early days of the study of gambling addiction, experts believed that finances were the only motive for gambling. It was popularly believed that addicted gamblers were obsessed with the desire for wealth. But this was not the case. Studies have shown that such thoughts are not only wrong, but also harmful to gamblers.

Money plays one of the important roles for addicted players, but it is not the money that creates the problems. The causes of addiction will be discussed below, when we talk about biological and psychological causes.

The financial cycle of an addicted player

To begin with, we need to understand how addiction affects a gambler's monetary independence. Dr. Henry Lesser has identified how the financial cycle of a gambler goes.

All the stages we will consider are repeated. But at each new turn the life of such a player gets worse and worse. The challenge for the addicted player is to break the cycle. The best way to do this is to contact a trained professional. Otherwise, the player may lose everything.

WARNING: If you notice signs of this cycle in yourself, be sure to study our material on the symptoms of gambling addiction and consider seeing a specialist.

Money at the beginning of the game

At the first stage there is enough money to play without any restrictions. This encourages you to always make maximum bets. This is very dangerous. You may get used to big bets, and small bets will not give you pleasure and the feeling of excitement. That is why all the free money will disappear within a couple of hours. And then the problems begin.

Lack of money and "restriction" of gambling

Eventually the loser runs out of money. But so far he has not become bankrupt. During this period, the player faces apathy, regret, and constantly wants to win back. This desire is particularly destructive. Most often the addicted player wants to get back all the money he lost, but ends up losing even more.

Lack of money - debt and anguish

At this point, the troubled player's money runs out completely. Apathy or anxiety no longer goes away and turns to despair. It is not uncommon for the player to become depressed. Sometimes the player may even stop playing (if there is enough willpower). But even strong-willed players experience "withdrawal" syndrome, which is similar to quitting a drug.


As soon as the problem player has money again, the cycle starts again. Where can a cheating addict get it from? There are different kinds of income: salaries, loans from relatives, loans, or other options (even illegal).

Causes and development of gambling addiction

Ludomania is never caused by a single cause. It is caused by several related causes that turn into a whole system of triggers and persistent desires. It is these that form the habit. The factors are biological, psychological, social, and spiritual.

Studies have confirmed the influence of biological and psychological factors on the formation of addiction.

Biological factors in addiction

Some people prefer to call gaming addiction a chronic brain disease. But this is not true. Even the addicts themselves may think that they are sick (because they cannot resist their addiction). But this is absolutely not true. However, there is some truth to this term.

50% addiction is always determined by personal biological reasons. The fact is that players are habit-forming to receive certain chemical elements when stimulated by the brain. Therefore, addicted players, biologically, are healthy. It is just that their brain wants to repeat exactly those actions that give it pleasure. Such stimulants are akin to the actions that are aimed at human survival: eating, sleeping, having children. In psychology this is called "motivated behaviour".

But the brain of the addicted gambler begins to perceive the stimulation from gambling as more meaningful. Therefore, the standard biological process forms an addiction, which subsequently affects the brain and its structure.

The formation of addiction involves:

  • The cerebral cortex.
  • Cerebellar amygdala.
  • Hypothalamus.

This produces serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine.

The cerebral cortex

Addiction changes the way the cerebral cortex works. It reduces the ability to think logically and make informed decisions. Impulsivity increases, compulsive behavior appears. This is why addicts behave recklessly and rashly.

Cerebellar amygdala

This department is responsible for emotions and memories. They form associations with the help of which the brain predicts the outcome of events. For example: a person gambles and has a nice meal in a restaurant once a week. Eventually the brain gets used to this and expects it to happen all the time.

As soon as a person removes gambling from this chain, the withdrawal syndrome begins. The point is that the brain will be deprived of some of the pleasant emotions. Therefore, the player will be drawn back to the online casino.


The hypothalamus is responsible for stress tolerance. For many gamblers, gambling is a means of escaping stress. However, it is the addiction that dulls the ability to reduce anxiety levels through gaming.

As a result, a person needs to play more and more in order to cope with the constantly accumulating stress. There will be more and more negative emotions. With more losses, the overall standard of living worsens. And when one gives up gambling, withdrawal syndrome sets in.


This is the true "happiness hormone". If its level is decreased, a person begins to experience apathy or depression. The production of serotonin is tied to motivation and motivated behavior: for example, the brain rewards us for eating, etc. In a cheating addict, the production of this hormone is impaired. That is why they can spend all night long in an online casino. In addition, addicted players often suffer from mood swings.

Due to the fact that serotonin and dopamine are produced during the game, addicts have blunted negative feelings about losing money. Therefore, they have a stable desire to "get even".


This hormone "directs" the reward system in the human brain and is associated with the cerebellar amygdala. Dopamine production occurs during "desirable" activities. If we do something we enjoy, we experience joy and pride. Gambling for addicted gamblers triggers a dopamine rush.


It is a chemical compound that prepares and motivates the brain and body for the next action. Norepinephrine increases alertness and attention, and causes pleasant excitement and helps retain memories. It can also cause stress or anxiety.

Online casino enthusiasts experience an increase in norepinephrine levels while playing. This compound is also associated with mindfulness, the joy of repeating the action and returning to gaming after a break.

Psychological factors

In addition to the biological causes of addiction, there are also psychological factors. Moreover, they also have their own branches. That is why until now scientists and researchers of gambling addiction could not form a unified approach to explain the reasons of addiction development.

One of the best and most comprehensive theories is considered to be the "integrated model" by psychologists Blyaschynski and Noer. It combines elements of different theories to create a unified theory of gambling addiction.

Based on the reasons for the emergence of addiction Blyaschinsky and Noer distinguish three types of players:

  • Emotionally vulnerable.
  • Users with learned behavior.
  • Biologically impulsive.

According to this theory, all players show similar symptoms and signs of addiction. But the reasons for their formation are different. At the same time, all players have additional features: external influence, cognitive processes disturbance, conditioned reflexes fixation (for example, appearance of desire to play at the sight of a slot or game sounds).

Emotionally vulnerable players

These users play online casinos to escape from real problems. They are emotionally unstable and do not cope well with stress. They also have low self-esteem and are often isolated from society. The best option to help them is to treat their emotional problems, consult a specialist and help them cope with stress.

Players with learned behavior

They are addicts with compulsive behavior and a desire to play. They react easily to any external stimuli and are ready to repeat the same actions (play and play on). Behavioral habits are best overcome with the help of a professional.

Biological impulse players

This is one of the most difficult categories of players to treat. Their biological processes are impaired due to a combination of genetic and neurochemical factors. Therefore, they are constantly looking for new stimulants for dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine. Such players are characterized by very impulsive behavior. They need specialist help, comprehensive therapy and medication to treat them.

Game design and its impact on gaming addiction

All online casinos strive to keep the user in the game as long as possible. Best of all, when a player disconnects from the virtual club site with positive emotions and a desire to return. This is called "controlling the effectiveness of gambling. But this is only in words. In fact, it means "more bets per unit time".

It should be noted that many modern games and social networks use similar mechanics and techniques to retain players.

How do the developers of the best casino and gambling sites get our money?


In slots and online casino games, money is exchanged for chips, credits and other equivalents. So the user is taken away from understanding the real value of each bet. As a result, it is easier for him to spend casino currency and not to think about how much money he actually spent.


This mechanic came to online casinos from video games. Even the best casino sites have lists of winners, tournament tables, etc. That real-time posts pop up about players who have just won at some machine. This spurs the desire to compete, win and beat another user.

Simplified access to various games

This is a very simple principle. The fewer steps a player has to take to start a new game, the better. That's why online casinos have a huge number of games available on every page of the site.

No guarantee of winning

The term "Uncertainty with a Variational Relationship" is developed on the basis of B. F. Skinner's theories. In brief, players get more enjoyable emotions from the game if there are no guarantees of winning. In this way they get an intrigue that holds until the end.

This rule is used in online casinos when a person is kept in the game with the help of small wins and close losses. The player feels that he is about to hit the jackpot and keeps betting.

Fake victories

This is a very enticing mechanic. The user receives losses under the guise of winnings. Such system is used in slots and slot machines. Initially, the user sees that dozens of winning lines and combinations are available to him. From his point of view, this increases the chances of winning.

As a result, the player receives frequent small rewards and will continue to play without noticing the constant small losses. As a result, the online casino keeps taking his money.

Reinforcement by sound and vivid pictures

Pleasant graphics, bright colors and loud sound attract the user to gambling. But it's not just the designer's idea. Online casinos are created bright and noisy to keep your attention and cut off from the world around you.

The design of gambling is designed so that you feel the perceived importance of your actions and do not get distracted from the process.

Diving into the "zone"

The concept of "The Zone" can help you better understand how people try to cope with stress through gambling. Essentially, "The Zone" is a "gambler's high". That is, the state in which a person becomes immersed in the game and experiences a state of a kind of trance. The two main elements that induce such a state are music and graphics.

The third element is the speed of play. Modern slots, machines and other games are designed to offer the most comfortable pace of gameplay. It is for this purpose that the "Auto Spins" function has been developed. Autospins (autorolls) starts the game without the user's participation. The player has only to observe the work of the slot and expect to win. In this case the feeling of losing money is completely lost.

Bottom line

Gambling addiction is a complex and complex disease. It combines many psychological and biological factors that are very difficult to cope with. It is very difficult for a gambling addict to cope with it alone. Therefore, be sure to read the material on the symptoms and diagnosis of addiction.

And if any of your friends or family have already faced with a gambling addiction, be sure to advise him on the material to combat it, or offer contacts of support centers addicts.