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How psychology is involved in casino gaming

All around the world, there are two types of people - those that enjoy gambling games that you can now play online in so many different casino sites and those that view gambling as a waste of money and an inevitable con.

So what is it that makes some of us risk our hard-earned cash on casino gaming while others aren't affected?

A lot comes down to psychology, it appears. Research has shown that many people who are drawn to playing games are those who like to take risks in life in general. For example, kids who were always willing to audition for the main part in the school play, or to ask the best looking girl in class to the school prom, regardless of how low their chances of succeeding were. People who are rewarded by their risk-taking with a successful outcome feel good as a result (through the release of endorphins in the brain) and therefore continue to take risks for potential rewards in other areas of their life. Others, however, don't take the risk in the first place and so don't feel they lose out by not doing so, as they remain 'safe'.

When a risk is rewarded and a good feeling follows, this is known as conditioning and it encourages people to continue taking risks. Research has been carried out on people who take part in gambling activities to plot how the striatum region of their brain - one that is connected with the response to stimuli - reacts. With gambling it is the possibility of financial gain that encourages a gamer to continue playing, even when they don't have a win every time. Casino games are designed in such a way that players will receive a small win now and then which, in the long term, encourages them to keep playing.

Although most people understand and accept that the casino will always have a house edge and will always beat the gambler over time, millions of people still choose to play. The reasons behind this include the fact that many people over-estimate their chances of getting a win. The games are designed to give the player a feeling of control and to have the perception that they lose because of a 'near miss' rather than the result being down to chance. Many games have an element of personal choice in them too - for example, a slot machine might have a bonus screen where the player has to pick a box to see what extra cash or spins they win; or in a game like blackjack the player has to decide what to do next with their cards. That element of choice coupled with the belief that they have only not won due to a 'near miss' encourages gamblers to keep on playing, thinking that skill can overcome chance in the long run.

Taking all these factors into account, you can see why it's important to put checks into place to limit the amount you spend on gambling games. Your impulses may take over when you are on a losing streak, convincing you that a win is just around the corner. To avoid this, limit the amount you put into a casino account and devise a way to resist topping it up when the funds run low. That way, you can enjoy a safe level of risk-reward play without it becoming a gambling problem.

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