Gambling Addiction & The Sunk Cost Fallacy

While much of the mechanics of substance addiction occur behind the scenes, in the interactions of biology and chemistry within a person’s body, gambling addiction is a behavior that is acted out externally. As a result, there are more quantifiable facts observable than with most addiction disorders.


Profiting from Addiction

The existence of casinos and lotteries proves there is profit to be made by playing the host to gambling activities. For some gamblers, the thrill of “beating the house” is more compelling than the idea of making huge sums of money. Other gamblers dream of a single, life-changing win. On a long enough timeline, the fact that these businesses boast huge profits shows that if you keep playing you will eventually lose everything, rather than sustainably win big.

Many gamblers believe that they have some insight into the way the system works that allows them to have higher wins or better predictive power. But in truth, casinos and lotteries have to abide by very strict law about the probability and payouts of their gambling devices. If someone should predict the outcomes of a gambling game in this way, it would not only bankrupt the owners of the gambling device, it would also land them in trouble with the law.


The Sunk Cost Fallacy

There is also the sunk cost fallacy – the wrong belief that since you have paid into something, you should keep doing it no matter the result to recuperate the cost of the initial investment. A gambler might think of a machine being “close” to hitting. In reality one of the restrictions that casinos must abide by is that there be no pattern or logic to theses things. Each instance of gambling is completely unique, a random chance. The game has the same odds of hitting the jackpot every time you spin. The money you’ve gambled does not mean you are “owed” that money back. Casinos have to turn a profit so you can be sure you are always more likely to lose than win.

Addiction is at its core an irrational behavior. And that’s just what we as humans excel in. Despite the persistent and observable harm it wreaks on our lives, someone in the grip of an addiction to gambling will still seek out their big win just like someone with a substance addiction wants a drink even though they know it is killing their liver. Sometimes the anticipation of a win is just as addictive as the win itself.


Do you have a gambling addiction? If your life’s falling apart due to excessive gambling habits get help, contact our gambling rehab center today to treat your addiction once and for all.

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