Online Gambling Addiction Definition And Causes

Online Gambling Addiction Definition And Causes: The addiction to online gambling is already a reality. Since the entry into force of the Gambling Regulation Law in 2011, the number of online players has skyrocketed. As a consequence, the increase in people with gambling problems is beginning to be alarming.

Online Gambling Addiction Definition

It was not until 1977 that gambling was legalized in Spain. From that date on, different and attractive forms of gambling and betting have appeared: arcade machines, bingos, casinos, pools, coupons, etc. The most recent is Internet betting, and they are gaining so much strength that there are already a large number of people who have gone bankrupt thanks to them.

In the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), the pathological player is defined as an individual characterized by “the chronic and progressive inability to resist the impulses to participate in games of chance or gambling, and this activity puts the objectives at risk. family, personal and vocational “. Today, health professionals consider pathological gambling as addictive behavior.

In this article, we will focus on addiction to online gambling. The term online gambling refers to all forms of gambling that involve gambling money in some type of fortuitous event and that is done through the Internet, whether from the computer, mobile, or any other device with access to the network.

How did the addiction to online gambling start?

Internet betting has grown enormously in the last 10 years and currently represents around 8% of the global gambling market. In Spain, in just a few years, online gaming operators have multiplied: poker, bingo, casino games, , and contests. In our country, growth in the sector is expected to be around 10% in the coming years.

But every coin has two sides. With the increase in players, the number of people with gambling addictions has also increased alarmingly. With the passage of time, it is being seen that the worst predictions of the experts, who indicated that the legalization of online gambling was going to shoot up the rates of pathological gambling, are being fulfilled in many areas of the planet.

Despite the short time that has passed since the Gambling Regulation came into force in our country, there are already numerous associations and entities that are warning of the great increase in cases of addiction to online gambling.

The change in the game modality has also brought about a modification in the profile of the pathological player. Some time ago, the profile of a man between 30–40 years old predominated, whose objective was to earn money or recover what was lost. However, these are young people between the ages of 15 and 35, many of them students or university graduates, who play more and more hours.

What variables are affecting addiction to online gambling?

In general, online gaming has been shown to be more addictive than the same type of game in its face-to-face mode. This is mainly due to both structural variables (the operation of the games themselves) and environmental variables (the conditions in which they occur).

Regarding the structural variables, some of the most important are:

The immediacy of the reward: what is relevant is the speed with which it is known whether an award has been won or not. The bet is quickly followed by the result, which is one of the main variables that affect the repetition of the behavior.

Betting speed: speed not only occurs in obtaining the prize, but the next bet can be made immediately.

High probability of winning: in general, the percentage of prizes in online games is higher than in face-to-face mode. Although it is always less than what is collected (very important).

Expert bias: In many , the impression is that there are strategies that allow you to win, that there is less chance than there really is. The bias of the expert favors the assumption of risks when faced with a perception of a poorly understood superiority or a sense of illusory control.

In addition to the characteristics of the game itself, the conditions in which it is carried out may favor the development of inappropriate game guidelines. Some of the most relevant environmental variables are the following:

Intimacy: the game through the Internet allows us to carry out the activity in an isolated, uncontrolled, and presumably anonymous way.

Comfort: it is played in a pleasant and safe environment. Mobile devices allow the player to bet where they want when they want and under the conditions they want.

Accessibility: there is a huge offer of games and, in addition, the way of playing is simple and quite intuitive.

How can we help in the field of online gambling addiction?

It is quite common that those affected by this type of addictive behavior do not recognize their problem or ask for help until they are drowned by debt. However, psychological treatment has been shown to work. Once these patients are placed in the hands of a mental health professional, it is normal for more than 50% to overcome their problem.

The treatment that has obtained the best results has been the cognitive-behavioral treatment, whether in combination with pharmacological treatment or not.

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