CD

Compulsive Gambling

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Compulsive Gambling, Pathologic Gambling, Gambling Addiction

  • Type
  1. Process Addiction
  • Epidemiology
  1. Compulsive gamblers in U.S. estimated: 5 Million
  2. U.S. Gambling legal in every state except Utah, Hawaii
  3. Casino profits: $250,000 net profit per slot machine
  • Casino Psychology
  1. Constant sound of other people wining
    1. Ringing of slots, and coins clinking from machine
  2. No windows and very few clocks
    1. Timeless environment
  3. Chips exchanged for money
    1. "Not real money being thrown around"
  4. Free Alcohol
    1. Disoriented, uninhibited
  5. "Air purification"
    1. Oxygen Supplementation pumped into casino in evening
  6. Intermittent Reinforcement Schedule
    1. Occasional gambler wins and keeps them playing
  7. Sensation of expectation
    1. "Near wins": Hit 7, 7, and part of a 7
    2. No increase chance of win, but sensation of near win
  • Types of gamblers
  1. Action Gamblers
    1. Often men gambling in groups around craps table
    2. Driven by
      1. Grandiosity
      2. Control
      3. Fame (on a stage)
      4. Respect
      5. Action, Excitement
    3. Winning does not matter
      1. Money is only to get gambler to action
      2. Win or lose, they keep playing
  2. Escape Gamblers
    1. Often women gambling alone at slot machines
    2. Reinforced by sensation
      1. Stimulant
      2. Pain killer or Tranquilizer effect
        1. Escape from reality: "Zone out"
      3. Anonymous relationship with slot machine
        1. Machine used for companionship
  • Stages
  1. Winning Stage
    1. Gambler has success and walks home with easy profit
  2. Losing Stage
    1. Continues gambling despite losses
    2. Action or Escape reinforces gambling behavior
  3. Desperation Stage (Follows bail-out)
    1. Risk everything to support habit
  4. Suicide or Insanity
  • Effects
  1. As with other addictions, willing to sacrifice
    1. Relationships
    2. Savings
  2. Willing to do anything to support habit
    1. Bank robbery
    2. Kidnapping
  • Prognosis
  1. Highest Suicide rate of any addiction
  • Resources
  1. Gamblers Anonymous