There are many “Free To Play” casino and gambling apps available for smartphones. On the surface these seem like they might be a good way for someone struggling with gambling addiction to “scratch the itch” for gambling without any financial repercussions, but there is enormous potential for abusive behavior with these apps that lies just beneath the surface.
How Does Free To Play Work?
The way these casinos market themselves as “free to play” is by giving out a set number of free chips on a regular basis – daily, hourly or even every 15 minutes in some cases. This conditions the player to return to the app on a regular basis, making it a part of the player’s routine and thereby intensifying the likelihood of addiction. There are usually enough free to play chips for a player to experience some of the content of the game, but free to play gambling is carefully calculated for a player to run out of chips before the next allotment creating an incentive to purchase chips to keep playing.
What’s The Fallout?
The casino app will dangle progressively more appealing bargains in front of the player trying to convince them to purchase. At some point the player will rationalize that it doesn’t make sense not to spend a single measly dollar for literally millions of chips – think of the value they’re getting! But by crossing that threshold, they unleash a torrent positive stimulus into the brain. The reward that they were getting for coming back regularly could now be had all the time – they can play without limits – until the chips run out. Now the player is used to being able to play whenever they wanted and going back to the slow stipend of free to play seems cruel. It becomes easy to rationalize one more purchase, even though it’s not as good of deal because it’s a sale or because they “deserve” to treat themselves.
The truly sick part is, that there is not payout to these online casinos. You can only put money in, never pull your winnings back out. There is no dream of hitting it big and retiring, no chance to beat the house and walk away. Just the slow inevitable journey to zero chips and the overwhelming longing for more. These apps present themselves as a solution to problem gambling when in reality they are just putting a different face on it.
If you are searching for online gambling addiction help, call FHE Health today at (833) 596-3502. Our gambling addiction treatment center is staffed with qualified individuals who can help you get the help you need in South Florida. Psychiatric services, therapeutic and clinical care are all a part of our High Roller gambling addiction program.