The excitement the gamblers feel translates in endorphins and adrenaline being released from the brain in the system; interestingly enough, the spike in the release will be reached in the exact moment when our brain realizes that a potential win has just disappeared, instead of when the win actually comes to life.
What gamblers are drawn to is not the victory, but the fight and, ultimately, the defeat.
This can be easily explained considering how the high of winning becomes less and less powerful, while the thrill of pursuing a win and losing intensifies.
Gambling has effects comparable to a chemical compound, such as cocaine, and, just like a chemical compound, it triggers the release of an extremely high amount of hormones. The brain will adapt to the heightened flux and naturally crave more and more.
Just like any other addiction, we might be more or less genetically bound to be gamblers; many studies show that the psychological aspect of it all comes in to play only later on; and this is where it gets really dangerous.
As reported in “Scientific American”: pathological gamblers and drug addicts share many of the same genetic predispositions for impulsivity and reward seeking. Just as substance addicts require increasingly strong hits to get high, compulsive gamblers pursue ever riskier ventures. Likewise, both drug addicts and problem gamblers endure symptoms of withdrawal when separated from the chemical or thrill they desire. And a few studies suggest that some people are especially vulnerable to both drug addiction and compulsive gambling because their reward circuitry is inherently underactive—which may partially explain why they seek big thrills in the first place.
Because of the lifestyle it helps developing, gambling is also the perfect gateway “drug” for addictive personalities, leading the way for any other kind of degeneration.
While writing this words, I’m sitting on a black couch, in a casino; next to me there is an angel-faced child who has been nursing the same Coke for more than an hour, while playing on a smartphone as big as his own face.
“He must be the son of a casino employee and he will soon be taken care of.”