Motivations Of Pathological Gamblers Essay

1321 words - 5 pages

Based on information from the National Opinion Research Center (NORC), the National Gambling Impact Study Commission (NGISC) states that there are two and a half million individuals who fall into a state defined as a pathological gambler, another three million are considered problem gamblers, and roughly fifteen million more could be considered “at-risk” (NORC, 1999). A pathological gambler is one who has a severe uncontrollable urge to gamble despite harmful negative consequences or a desire to stop. This project proposes to address the need to keep a casino patron from developing a pathological or compulsive gambling problem. The project will entail investigating the driving factors for a person gambling themselves into problems and committing actions such as robbery, prostitution, drug use and sales, extortion, and murder.

This societal problem is an important concentration for information technology because of the need for problem gambling regulation. A problem gambler falls into a different category of addictive nature. Instead of being dependant on a chemical or other substance, the individual is addicted to a certain procedure or rush. This rush is brought on by an increase of dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. These natural highs promote the individual to continue gambling even though they are experiencing financial losses. Although there are individuals who are at higher risk of developing a gambling addiction because they have an addictive behavior, anyone can become a pathological or problem gambler (Daily News 2009). Even though the behavior of an individual with a gambling addiction is in part due to the psychological nature of the brain, how the gambler develops this addiction follows a similar path.

A pathological or problem gambler does not automatically develop an addiction to gambling. This development happens over a period of time specific to each individual. However, psychologists have identified three main stages that every addictive gambler enters. They are “the winning phase,” “the losing phase,” and “the desperation phase.” Each stage has specific actions that the individual goes through on their progression towards this addictive state.

“The winning phase” is the period where the gambler experiences key, memorable wins which result in a higher frequency of gambling. These winnings often come in one of two forms: a significant one time win or, a perceived “winning streak.” This gives the individual a false sense of security and a perception that an increase in gambling behavior will result in more winnings. It also entices a gambler to believe he or she possesses a special talent for gambling.

“The losing phase” results from the end of perceived net gains and the onset of increasing gaming losses. Subsequent losses enforce “loss chasing,” escalated gambling expected to recoup previous gambling losses. This process rapidly increases the amount lost by the gambler. This phase is frequently the beginning of...

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