In 2021, the gambling industry in the USA had the highest revenue record ever after hitting $44 billion. Information by Forbes shows the USA states are major revenue beneficiaries from the industry. The information further shows at least 60% of the US population have gambled at least once in their lives.
Another population of about 3.5% gamble consistently. To help understand why it is hard for the consistent gambler to stop gambling, a group of neuroscientists has been studying the human brain to understand which part of the brain helps to make risk-taking decisions.
The rise of real money gambling
Recently, real money gambling in both online and land-based casinos has grown to a top revenue earner. There are more people winning big money in games such as casinos, bingo, sports betting, and poker.
This type of gambling provides better advantages to gamblers because they win real money in their wagering activities. Due to the multiple ways gamblers can bet and win real cash, real money gambling is becoming a preferred way to wager.
The psychology behind gambling
According to psychology experts, gambling is a psychological phenomenon that develops out of curiosity. It might not be easy to get experienced with reading a person’s mind, but experts have highlighted a few observations in regards to gambling:
- When a human mind is in its best positive mood, a person will likely gamble more.
- The gambler’s fallacy suggests that when an event occurs the same way multiple times, the next event is likely to occur differently. For example, when rolling the dice and five green numbers come up in a row, a gambler will wager their money on black. The reality of the matter is that the chances of something happening are always the same.
- After wagering, gamblers winning expectations increase which makes them wager more to win more.
- People tend to wager more when they hear winners being broadcasted through distinct types of media.
- Gambling is tied to superstitions where people believe in certain lucky numbers.
Gambling addiction and the brain
The human brain is naturally programmed to help the entire body function properly, making decisions and rejecting internal threats. For example, when a person feels stressed and anxious, one part of the brain prepares itself to help the body fight stress and anxiety.
Currently, scientists are studying the human brain to understand why people get bold into taking risks such as wagering. According to observations done to date, risk-taking behavior in humans is deeply wired into their psyche.
There is a part of the brain that triggers responses to moments that look pleasing to an individual, even if such situations seem to benefit him for a brief time. These include activities like drinking alcohol, using drugs, sex, getting into risky investments, and gambling.
The group of neuroscientists used rhesus monkeys as subjects in the study. They were trained to gamble, and rewards were milliliters of water with each win. The scientists observed that the monkeys didn’t stop gambling even when none of them were thirsty. They concluded that the supplementary eye field is the part of the brain that triggers human beings to take bold risks like gambling even when they are not certain to win.