*ding, ding, ding* *whiiiirrr* “You’re a winner!”
“I just won $100!” (after spending $150 total)
This is where the point of no return begins. The hypnotizing colors, the little tug of hope every time you spin that wheel or pull that lever, or pick up those cards, the satisfaction of making even the smallest win, the devastation when all your winnings or money spent go down the drain after being a little too hopeful, sometimes there’s the exhilaration of making a big win, thinking it could happen again.
This is the beginning of the end for a lot of people. This is the start of gambling addiction.
I have to say, gambling is really fun. I mean, really fun. After I turned 21 years old, I immediately went to the nearest casino and blew away a good amount of my money towards Roulette. I did win a surprising amount of money at first–and after winning so much, I actually thought, “What if I kept winning $1000 per day and made this for a living?”
My hopes went up as my winnings continued–but, as cruel of a master Roulette is, it never gave me that guarantee. Instead, I spent all of what I won at first, including much, much more money than I anticipated losing. Eventually, all of my money was gone, and I had left the casino broke.
A few weeks later, I came back–in the hopes that, perhaps, I’d get lucky again. “Just one more time, and that’s it,” I told myself as I walked into the music once again. I managed to win a little bit of money, but instead of walking out, I decided to keep betting, and betting, and betting–and lost it all, just like the first time.
The thing was, I already knew the psychological aspect of betting in a casino. I knew that those hypnotic bright lights and alluring sounds were studied in people a long time ago in order for these casinos to be in business–and be very successful in it. It’s like how moths are attracted to bright lights, only to be electrocuted when they touch the light. Even small winnings cause adrenalin and a rush of euphoria.
As someone with severe anxiety, how was I possibly able to get away from this dangerous game of gambling?
It wasn’t long before I realized that the reason casinos stay in business and make so much money is that the chances of winning big are considerably low. They hook you in the moment you make your first small win–whether it was from spending $1 to $100. Then, several losses later, when you think you want to just call it a night, suddenly you make another win–perhaps bigger than the last. Even if it wasn’t much of a winning, it still gives you that small sense of hope that maybe you will win again.
That’s how they hook you in–and once you’re hooked, it’s hard to get away.
So then, how can you get UN-hooked?
- One of the things that I learned about gambling is that, no matter what your strategy is, you will lose all of your money down the line eventually. If everyone knew the perfect strategy for winning every time, the casino would lose business and get shut down. That’s why there is no strategy in most of their games–it’s pure randomness and luck. No guarantees at all.
- Realize that gambling will never pay all your bills, or give you enough money for that vacation in the Bahamas–the odds are low to win anything above $1000 (if you do happen to win that much, I suggest you get out of there as quickly as possible before you decide to continue betting for even bigger winnings).
- Gambling is meant for fun, not profit. If you happen to have some extra cash after a long week of working, and it’s just spending money, then go ahead to the casino–just as long as you only use the amount that you have for spending. Do not go back to the ATM if you’ve lost all your money–just walk out with your dignity intact.
- If your gambling is out of hand, to the point where you’re sacrificing money meant for important things, or even going as far as maxing out your credit cards, seek professional help by calling the Gambling Addiction Hotline: 1-800–522-4700
It’s just one of those things, where we learn just how much we depend on money. The entire world runs on it, and having just that little slither of hope for making enough money to live comfortably is like having a dream come true–a fantasy come to life.