Problem gamblers may reach a state of distress in their lives as they experiment losses after losses. They find themselves isolated from family, friends, and coworkers. It is during these difficult times that they come to understand the full impact that gambling has on their lives and start doing something about it.
But before they get to this point, they will experience a few other feelings that combine to cement their gambling addiction.
The illusion of being able to control chance
Chance is one thing we have no control over. No matter how smart or skilled we are, it will not make us any luckier. But when gamblers bet on games of chance, they think they are using their mind, as if they were playing games of skill. But they are not. Chance does not discriminate—it bends to nobody’s will, smart or not.
The lure of the jackpot
Gambling can make you feel great. Everyone loves winning. It has been proven that we remember our wins longer than our losses. Some people may win when they first start gambling—sometimes even a lot of money. This is the early win phase, better known as “beginner’s luck.” It leads some people to believe that gambling is the road to easy street.
The vast majority of problem gamblers went through a win phase when they first started betting. Gamblers often consider their wins proof that they are lucky or good at the game, which encourages them to keep playing. Winning gave them such a sense of euphoria that they yearn to feel again.
The belief their luck will change
Gamblers start spending an increasing amount of time gambling. Games of chance are governed entirely by chance, have nothing to do with skill, and are statistically proven to always end in loss. That is when they enter the loss phase. Holding on to the hope that Lady Luck will return, they cannot quit. Despite the negative impact of gambling to excess, they see it as the only way to improve their lot. Gambling is their problem, but they see it as a solution.