The gambling web of deception and addiction


More than ever before the media highly influences and contributes to the world-wide gambling problem by saturating the market with subliminal brainwashing advertising that is cringe-worthy to say the least on where and what to gamble on and how easy it is to win big.
Never to lose of course!! There was a time gambling advertising was only ever seen on late-night television, now you see it in the news and between news bulletins, family shows and all during family time. Unfortunately impressing upon the young minds of children and the vulnerable.

Casinos have mastered the skill of persuasion with a barrage of tempting psychological incentives and mind games, all designed to part you from your hard-earned money. Once you have made a bet and lost you feel a greater motivation to continue betting in order to recover your losses. It takes great discipline to stop betting and trying to recoup your gambling losses. This is how easily the vicious cycle of gambling lures you in, only to keep losing again and again. You cannot beat the system, the gambling venues always win because the odds are stacked in its favour, not yours. It’s nothing but a dark web of illusion!

The Psychological Bribes:

• Money is converted into “credits”, tokens, or chips for gambling, so the money never leaves the casino. This concept makes it harder to keep track of how much money you have actually lost. Once your real money is traded for play money, it takes considerable mental effort and discipline to cash out, even after a win.
• Customers playing at gaming machines tend to receive frequent, small prizes at irregular intervals. This encourages you to continue betting, baiting you in the hope of winning a big jackpot.
• The mathematical complexity of the gaming machines is confusing and misleading. It is always set up to convince you, you are close to that big win. You may even think your chances are better by playing on multiple machines. Or you play a line that may display a treasure chest of gold coins but one window doesn’t match convincing you a win is imminent enticing you to continue playing, all the while its sucking you and your money dry. These machines are programmed with “near misses” suggesting you are close to winning thereby encouraging you to stay and play. The psychological stimulus of almost winning increases your craving to continue playing to get a big prize.
• Casinos manipulate you to stay in their gambling venues by offering hourly prizes that must be claimed within 30 minutes.
• Gambling venues are filled with happy and loud sounds like the chinking and tinkling of coins accompanied with exciting and happy music tunes for the winning bets and quiet short depressing sounds for losing bets.
• The intentional and misleading loud ringing of machines paying out a jackpot achieves to convince players who have been losing on a nearby machine that it’s possible to win by just continuing to play. Usually there is no one playing at these machines, its music coming from the machine creating the illusion that someone has just won.
• These machines will flash messages such as “You Win 3 Credits” suggesting it’s to your benefit for you to take full advantage of the bet. Its more the other way around where they are taking full advantage of you. These messages serve as another form of subliminal brainwashing that you agree to subconsciously.
• Using hypnotic rotating wheels, video displays and flashing images focus your attention on the gaming machines, nothing but mental and emotional traps just to get and take your hard-earned money.
• Gaming venues usually program the machines to pay the jackpots only when the maximum credits are played. Even if the machine hits the best winning combination, the big jackpot is not paid unless a maximum bet was made. This encourages players to increase their bets or lose out on the big winnings.
• The low level of lighting and the absence of clocks in a casino is intentional creating a fake and false atmosphere of relaxation to make you lose track of time.
• Some venues will provide free alcoholic drinks to gamblers. People gambling under the influence of alcohol have poor judgement and lose their money faster.
• The placement of chairs tends to be only in front of the gaming machines and game tables. This eventually forces weary customers to sit down to relax in situations conducive to gambling.
• The floor plan of a casino is set out like a giant maze. The gambling machines and the gaming tables are arranged in staggered clusters that make it impossible to walk between two points in a straight line purposely disorientating and directing you to needlessly wander through another selection of machines and games to distract and tempt you again to remain within the casino and spend more of your hard-earned money.
• Casinos create a tier system with labels like “platinum”, “titanium”, and “diamond” for the more prestigious players whereas the ordinary players are assigned categories like “gold” or “red label”. The higher levels have greater benefits and can only be achieved by increased level of play or by winning large jackpots. Big players have access to the “high roller” areas which supposedly pay bigger percentages.
These labels of delusion are all strategic to make you feel super special and super important, rich and powerful and states you have mega bucks. The Ego loves this!

The Financial Bribes:

• Free bingo on weekdays brings many patrons for the chance to win $1000 Dollars in one game. The casino may spend $10,000 Dollars in prizes to bring 1000 people, but each person will usually spend more than $10, and the casino will make money on days when business is usually on the slower side.
• Many Gaming venues offer free food or large buffets at reduced prices with the idea you will come for the food, and then spend money gambling. This strategy is to keep you in the venue longer and entices you to come back believing you are getting a great deal.
• Memberships are offered with benefits based on play time and money spent to make you feel you are receiving something in return regardless if you lose your money.
• Some Gambling activities generate reward points that can be used for additional bets or for purchasing food or amenities at the casino. Casino dollars are equal to one regular dollar, and they can be spent like real money on food, rooms, bars, spa, and entertainment.
• Frequent high rollers can receive offers for holidays at other associated gambling establishments. High level members receive priority access to hotel, spa, restaurant facilities, and free parking.
• Previous winners are invited back to the casino with attractive offers enabling the casino to recoup the money they paid out.
• Every casino has a credit department where patrons can obtain gambling credits (markers) by using assets such as cars, homes, or businesses as collateral.
It’s very, very hard to pay off these loans when you lose your bets.

Shining the Light on Gambling Addiction

Gambling addiction is a mental disorder characterised by excessive risk-taking with complete disregard and neglect of the negative results or consequences. Scientific studies have proven through the use of MRI that addicts have an altered brain activity in the areas related to risk and reward, making them more inclined to take high risks and unnecessary choices, highlighting a defect in assessing risk and employing self corrective strategies.

Gambling addicts tend to display higher levels of mood and anxiety disorders.
The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, is the region of the brain involved with cognitive flexibility, in the case of a gambling addict the brains activity is minimal, indicating the inability to change their behaviour in being able to determine the levels of risk, which increases significantly the likelihood to make bad decisions when negative emotions like anxiety or sadness are experienced.

When resources are only focused on treating existing problems, it’s like plugging a hole but ignoring where the source of the leak is.
It is paramount to treat the emotional problems that triggers the need to gamble, and to undergo specific skill training that enables the individual to adequately evaluate losses and their consequences.

When is Gambling a Problem?

Gambling is a problem when a person cannot control how much he or she spends. Some of the signs that a person needs help:

• Constant or frequent compulsion to risk money or assets beyond the ability to pay.
• Gambling with money allocated for rent or a mortgage payment.
• Suffering great financial stress as a result of gambling.
• Borrowing against the equity of a home or other property to gamble.
• Great optimism about winning which is not based on any practical or statistical evidence.
• Self-delusion about the ability to observe winning patterns which will “beat the odds”.

Here is a quick Questionnaire to establish whether you may have a gambling problem

• Is gambling straining your family relationships?
• Does gambling affect your work attendance or performance?
• Do you have a reputation as a gambler?
• Have you felt remorse after gambling?
• Do you gamble to try to pay debts with your winnings?
• After losing, do you feel the need to gamble again to cover your losses?
• When you win, do you gamble to try to extend your winning streak?
• Do you often gamble until all your money is gone?
• Do you borrow money for gambling?
• Have you ever sold property to finance gambling?
• Do you hesitate to use “gambling money” for regular expenses?
• Do you ever gamble longer than you planned?
• Have you ever done something illegal to finance your gambling?
• Have you ever thought about suicide as a result of gambling?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, its time to take your life back by seeking professional help.

Gambling doesn’t start as a problem. Most people gamble:

• For excitement and stimulation
• As part of a social activity
• To win some money
• To distract themselves from the pressures of work and family
• For a safe place to go out and have some fun

Gambling can distract and enable a person from dealing with the real issues going on in a person’s life by escaping from the self judgment and self-loathing of feeling like a loser and failure in life, to feeling like a winner in life, which is where the gambling game begins to change and becomes the main focus in their life.

The gambling process can shift and change then grow without even noticing it’s becoming an issue and this where it can become a serious problem.
A big win can change gambling from entertainment to being only about winning money.
Entertainment can be a beneficial diversion from stress, but it can also become problematic when it stops being a diversion and starts being a way to cope and manage.
Ignoring your problems doesn’t make it go away.

The Gambling Process 

Like many addictive processes, gambling can seem in the short term to solve the problems it causes in the long term, but do not be fooled. For example, at the start gambling can help divert your attention from problems but can make them worse in the long term.
Because it seems to work in the short term, some people gamble more and more, setting up a vicious cycle where the affects get worse over time.

The Gambling Cycle:

What is gambling really costing you?

There is no clear answer when gambling becomes a problem. It’s different for everyone but if you think it might be a problem and it’s causing issues in your life, then it’s probably time to rethink your gambling habits and seek help.
It can be hard to know if your gambling is getting out of control. A common reaction is to minimise, hide or deny gambling problems and the harm it could be causing. Some people will lie to themselves and others about how much money or time is being spent on gambling.
If you suspect you may be developing a gambling addiction, or if you recognise risk in someone you love, get help immediately.

Out of control gambling costs much more than money:

• Lose self-respect and that of family, friends and work colleagues
• Lose your car or house, unable to pay bills – debts increasing
• Relationships break down including marriages and loss of friends
• Damage your health, by not eating or sleeping, abuse substances, exacerbates existing health problems
• Risking your job by creating problems at work from either missing work or not being able to concentrate
• A loss of interest in other social activities, isolating self from others
• Uncontrolled gambling can also lead people to doing things they otherwise would never consider, like stealing money or breaking the law, to sustain their gambling habit.

Some things people believe about gambling can actually push them to gamble more.

Examples of deceptive statements associated with gambling include: 

• If I continue to play, I will eventually win
• I can win back what I have lost
• I will only spend this amount and that is it!
• I must be due for a big win
• I don’t have a gambling problem, I am in control
• Gambling is the only way to fix my financial problems
• Gambling is the only way I can escape from the stress
• When I win I will be happy again
• The only way to stop the urge to gamble is to go and gamble

FALSE! FALSE! FALSE! These statements are completely false!

This is how easy a gambling addict’s mind and self talk can manipulate them to fall in a big, big hole and entrap them over and over again.

Action a Discipline Strategy
Suggestions for you to prevent gambling from becoming a problem in your life:

• Respect Yourself!
• Respect your relationship with money
• Value money, don’t abuse money
• What is money trying to teach you?
• Am I disciplined with my money
• Don’t deceive yourself about money
• Be smart with your money
• What new skills about money do I need to learn
• Allocate money for necessities first
• Budget your income and create a savings strategy and mindset
• Never use more than 2% of your income for gambling, if you gamble
• Avoid temptation – do not go to casinos, tabs, pubs or associate with other gamblers
• When you gamble, do not carry with you more money than you can afford to lose
• Never, Ever, Ever, borrow money to gamble.
• Don’t ever lend money to a gambler. You will never get it back and you are just feeding the problem


Take Your Life Back! Take the First Step and get the Help you Need!
Resources are available for if you are seeking help for gambling problem

Gambler’s Help 1800 858 858
Gambler’s Help Youthline 1800 262 376
This service operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and is free and confidential.