In the past, there was a strong connotation of gambling with something negative, but this perception has been slowly changing, and these days gambling is more seen as just another category for entertainment. For this has contributed a lot the way people interact with the games, meaning, most of them or most of us just want to have fun.
We could just be saying for the sake of it, but research does exist that proves that even if some gamblers do have irrational behaviors that can lead to addiction, for most of them it’s all about entertainment. In fact, most people gambling have thresholds they don’t cross when they are losing.
Even with the casinos doing their job to make more people gamble, encouraging people to play with free chips, big bonuses, and promotions, it’s important to know where the line is drawn.
The regulation of the gambling industry is focusing precisely on these aspects, meaning that casino owners and those making the rules have to be aware of what sort of advertising and promotions are correct, and which might be going too far.
The legislation does exist for that reason too, and we have countries that allow players to exclude themselves from gambling from periods that can go from some months to even years, for their own protection against addiction.
This is not the only measure that exists to make gambling safer, but the investigation does show that addictive behaviors from gamblers exist in a relatively small percentage, just between 5 and 8 percent of all people gambling.
The existing research doesn’t deny, therefore, the existence of addiction, but just confirms that casinos exist mainly as an entertainment destination, something hard to deny. After all, apart from gambling we can also watch a show, have a drink or simply spend some time with friends.
The base for this study, “An Empirical Analysis of Individual-Level – Casino Gambling Behavior”, is the analysis of the two-year behavior of people playing in casinos, and their decisions of continue to gamble or not after winning or losing, as well as how high were the bet placed.
The information collected confirmed the fact that the majority of people have a clear idea on how much they are willing to spend gambling, and are happy with small wins, and can also accept small losses. After losing a certain amount, they simply stop playing.
This study by Sridhar Narayanan and Puneet Manchanda goes further ahead and compares gambling to the movies: people have a budget, spend it there enjoying themselves, and come home when the fun is over. So there’s nothing irrational about this.
Winning or losing
Funny enough, the study also proved that people enjoy winning less than they hate losing, in a proportion of 2-3 times more. This means that losing has a stronger impact on us than winning. Naturally, even if there is evidence behind this data, there is also a lot of superstition behind gambling.
In reality, even if we have a string of wins, this doesn’t mean we will win the next hand. Other players do believe that after a win, a loss must follow, or the opposite. The fact is that gambling is mostly a game of chance, so the level of skill involved is in most of the cases very low.
Corroborated with data is also the fact that, as in any other industry, the marketing investment of casinos does make people gamble more often and bigger values.
Casinos and policymakers are these days working actively together in order to achieve a better understanding of what is happening around gambling. Surely that more research in this area needs to be done, but it’s already clear that gambling as entertainment is taking steps in the right direction.