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When thinking you’re smarter than chance leads to dependency

Overestimating the probability of winning because you think you can outsmart chance is just unrealistic. It can have negative effects on your personal life, school results, and finances.

When the game isn’t fun anymore

A young person who tries a drug or alcohol for the first time never imagines the possibility of becoming hooked one day. The same is true of gaming: it can gradually become problematic without the gamer being aware of the risks associated with his/her habit.

Gaming is more than a game if you constantly feel the need to play and it’s hard to control your behaviour. Then gaming plays a bigger and bigger role despite the negative consequences it’s having on your personal, family, and social life.

Signs that gambling has its hooks in you

  • You play more and more often and you bet more and more money.
  • You can’t respect the limits you set before you started playing.
  • You constantly think about gaming and you can’t resist the temptation.
  • Gambling is harming your school work, your job, and your relations with your friends and family.
  • You have financial problems (debts) because of gambling.
  • You keep playing in the hope of winning back the money you lost.
  • You think you can learn tricks to get the better of chance.
  • You lie to family and friends to hide your gambling problem.
  • You play with the hope of forgetting your problems and feeling better.

Magical thinking

Young people who gamble often engage in magical (irrational) thinking, and it influences their gaming, the risks they take, and the way they assess their chances of winning. Coincidences reinforce the gambler’s magical thinking, since he/she attributes wins to his/her own strategies, for example, using a combination of numbers. Losses are attributed to outside reasons, such as a “bad” deck of cards. The gambler is convinced that he/she will win one day and refuses to believe he/she has zero control over the game. He/she believes that it’s possible to outsmart chance and discover tricks that will increase the chances of winning.

The illusion of control

In the beginning, gamblers start gaming because they see the possibility of winning some money fast. At that point, they’re aware that the game depends only on chance. But gaming soon changes their perception. Then gamblers tend to overestimate their chances of winning and think they can come up with strategies that will allow them to defeat chance. They think they have some control over the game and that increases their interest in it… and the amounts they’re ready to bet. But those strategies have no impact: wins and losses depend on chance alone!

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