All games that involve gambling make use of the same mechanics.
The trick is to get you to start playing with seemingly small stakes and high potential winnings. Some games involve skills, some are pure luck. Often the odds of winning are unclear, but one things is certain: the odds are not in your favor.
However, that doesn’t stop people from giving it a shot. It is the thrill of the unknown, the exciting thought of one moment that could sweep your whole life around. Who knows, maybe today is your lucky day and you walk away with some more cash in your pocket.
But for some people, it doesn’t end at playing a few games.
They become hooked and develop a gambling addiction.
When does gambling become an addiction?
Gambling becomes an addiction when someone loses sight over the implications of his losses.
In the beginning of a gambling addiction, the losses are low. But gradually, stakes become higher. Combine that with a distorted perception of the value of losses and an overestimation of chance, and the gambler loses more than intended. Or more than someone can afford.
And like any addiction, it can have serious implications for the rest of your life. Some put so much at stake that they lose their partner, car or house.
Be(come a)ware of gambling
When you enter a casino, you know you are entering a world of chance, luck and deceit. Sure, there are stories of people who actually hit the jackpot. But you know that the casino doesn’t give cash away for free. They are a business that wants to generate a profit.
However, gambling has made it way out of casinos into the online realm. I’m not just talking about online poker, bingo or sports betting. Nowadays gambling mechanics pop up in places where we not immediately expect them.
Think of video games, with so-called loot boxes and microtransactions. Gadget stores that offer surprise boxes with varying items inside. People buying cryptocurrencies (Dogecoin) and stocks (GameStop) based on viral memes. Or travel agencies like srprs.me, that send you on a city trip to a destination unknown.
Sure, you can leave some things to chance. But it seems that everyone is gambling in some way. So much so, that I think that gambling has become a serious threat to the well-being of many young people and children, predominantly male.
The 7 Sins of Gambling
A gambling addiction has many faces. All people are wired differently, but most people with a gambling addiction go through the same stages. We can see these patterns in light of the seven deadly sins.
Your first big loss is painful. For some people this pain is enough to never gamble again. But not for everyone. For them, the sensation of balancing on the edge of winning and losing is addictive. Win a couple hands and it’s “F*CK THE WORLD!”. But every loss is like a stab in your back. You start hating on some random Russian guy, because he just reduced your stack of poker chips by half, by winning the entire pot with a flush. Don’t cyka blyat him in the chat. Compose yourself.
Surprisingly, your anger is still an early stage of addiction. When you stop reacting to losses and your anger becomes more subdued, that’s when you lose control.
We value our winnings higher than our losses. Whenever our stocks go up, we proudly tell our friends about the winnings. Nah, it was not a matter of luck. You just knew that Bitcoin would pass the 10k mark. You can read the market. It’s a false sense of being in control of your accomplishments. Your losses were part of the unpredictable game, but your winnings were all because of your keen eye.
We have all dreamt of winning the lottery and buying our dream mansion or the car we’ve always wanted. Whenever money is involved, greed comes into play. Every win gives you a shot of intense euphoria, and makes you feel unstoppable. There’s always more to win. Winners never stop, right? Until the wheel stops spinning and the roulette ball falls onto the number 0. Rien ne va plus.
Gluttony is another word for excess. It happens when you spend more than you desired. Your losses will pile up. And it’s not only financial losses. You are hooked to the thrill of the game. The developers of gambling games know this. They know that an occasional win will provide you with just enough stimulant to keep you playing.
We desire diamonds and power. When we lose it, we will do everything within our power to regain it. Nothing will stand in our way. If we need to, we borrow money from friends, we keep our gambling habits secret and lie whenever someone wants us to stop. It’s a road down sneakiness and deceit.
We can feign happiness, but it actually makes us angry when we see someone else win. When one of your friends in school challenges you in a game of FIFA, and you see that he has Messi in his Ultimate Team, you feel jealousy. You hate the fact that he was able to find such a good player in his Packs, while all you seem to get is rubbish and Timo Werner.
We waste away hours of our precious time, playing games without a precious reward. We pay the price for playing The Price is Right. We tap out emotionally. You become detached from your possessions. You simply don’t care anymore. If you don’t put a halt to your gambling addiction in time, you’ll end up without money and a life wasted on stupid games.
Of all the franchise titles that Electronic Arts owns, the FIFA series is the most profitable. EA has earned $1.49 billion through it’s online game mode Ultimate Team in 2020. That accounts for 26% of the entire company’s income. Take a guess, which game has all the gambling mechanics you ever think of?