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When is gambling a game and when is it gambling?

  • anonymous Asks ...

    If video lottery terminals are the most addictive form of gambling what is the safest or least addictive way to gamble? Is playing a game like poker less addictive because there actually is a lot of skill involved and not only chance and flashing lights?

  • Jill Edwards Says ...
    Jill Edwards

    What an interesting question. One of the significant facets of addiction is the situation where you get a very quick positive response to what you do. I dont know video lottery terminals, but I suspect that you can very quickly pay the money and play the lottery and then potentially get big or small rewards. Learning to quickly adapt to positive responses was a useful part of our evolution, but unfortunately it means that we pay more attention to the immediate effects, rather than to the long term effects of addictive behaviour.

    I am interested in the judgements which are inherent in your question. Is gambling better (less addictive) if you have to be skilled at it? Perhaps some people would say that this is where gambling becomes a game rather than a bad habit. But many types of computer game can also become addictive. Beyond the immediate response making these activities addictive, there is also the production of adrenaline and this drug is in itself addictive. It is a natural chemical high and we get used to having it, and eventually seek situations where it will be produced and gambling is one of those situations.

    Of gambling is not just addictive for all these reasons. It is also an activity that people gravitate to for various personal reasons. People may feel rejected or not worth while for any number of reasons and think that by making that one big win all their problems will be solved. People may want more out of life than they are getting, life may feel empty. They may want to make money to help someone else. I believe that some business people are gamblers, choosing a real live game.

    I think you have a real question, when is gambling a game and when is it gambling? You can tell if you are prepared to factor in the long term results rather than the immediate effects. Where these results, take you away from the real directions in your life, or cause you, your relationships or your material wellbeing harm, then you would be wise to get help as soon as you can.  You can contact me at [email protected]

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