Luck, mathematics and psychology are the main factors that affect gambling. Understanding the psychology behind winning and casino games is a vast field of research and is often of interest to players.
The attraction of gambling is that for a very small price, you could have an experience that will change your life. Psychologically speaking, winning gamblers set themselves winning and losing goals and stick to these.
They also set long term expectations for a particular game, finding the best games and researching the highest return to player percentages. Winners excel in living in the present moment and have great self-awareness.
The Feel-Good Hormone
Gambling and winning creates chemical changes in the brain, releasing the feel good hormone dopamine, a neurotransmitter in your nervous system that communicates from one nerve cell to another. This chemical affects how your mind and body deal with things like learning and mood and is also the most powerful neurotransmitter in your body.
The rush of dopamine that you get when gambling is up to 10 times greater than a normal release of dopamine in your brain. Think sky diving or paragliding off a mountain. The release of dopamine is what creates a happy feeling but also overall well-being and it is this effect that makes gambling enjoyable. Interestingly, dopamine is still released whether you win or lose as the act of gambling itself is pleasurable. That means whatever the outcome, you’re still benefitting from the time spent playing.
Rewards for Risk
Our brains reward uncertainty and the potential of a payoff changes the way our brain perceives risk. Positive moods also increase chances of taking risk when playing casino games like blackjack.
When we gamble, our brain actually encourages risk, and our efforts are driven by a lack of guaranteed outcome. This is what keeps us playing. Therefore the main motivator is often less about the big win and more about the possibility of what could happen and whether the odds will be in your favour.
The Gambling Environment
When looking at the design of gambling games, sound and visuals play a big role in the experience. Celebratory sounds and vibrant visuals contribute to a feeling of success and winning. Even if the player has lost, these kinds of sensory input encourage future plays.
The speed of play is also determined by how quickly results are shown onscreen in a slot game for instance and the faster a result is shown, the faster a gambler will play. The entire casino experience is tailored to be rewarding and to encourage positive feelings.
There is a reason we love the gambling experience and it’s because it feeds our need to feel good and rewarded. This drives us to keep playing games, with a sense of being happier and healthier when we have gambling time. Winning is not the only opportunity for joy and whatever your level of skill, there is a game waiting for you.