Although players flock to online gambling sites, it is often said that the house wins most of the time. Experts warn that is a major risk to the pocketbook. Research in the UK backs this up.
Meanwhile, these sites are becoming more and more popular. More action than in prior years is being clocked. Sessions last longer and the number of bets are increasing for slots, poker, and virtual sports.
Pieter Hofstra, a statistics professor at the University of Ottawa, takes a social perspective.
“From a general poker perspective, it’s of course good if more people start playing.
The more people play, the livelier the games [and] the more options for games.”
The result might a higher risk of addiction and playing beyond one’s means. It can go beyond an activity or hobby and become a second source of income.
Hofstra teaches a Probability and Games of Chance course that includes basic strategy and risk assessment. He knows that winning is a chief motivator along with the challenge involved, making it a psychological issue. There is the matter of the adrenaline rush and the short-term thrill.
He is an avid card player himself but warns that chances are that you will not be a winning player in the long run.
“So don’t view it as a way to earn money, view it as a form of
entertainment. Only play when you’re willing to lose that money.”
When people are isolated, as in a pandemic, they approach a state of problem gambling. According to Amanda Laprade, problem gambling counsellor at Rideauwood Family Services, widespread solitude puts one at greater risk for a downward spiral.
“If it starts to impact their physical health, they’re not eating, sleeping, just taking care of basic hygiene, those can be signs. Or if they’re encountering financial struggles, beginning to borrow money from loved ones or friends.”
It is vital to create limits and track expenses and strike a good balance. Family and friends can help keep your ego in check.
Laprade see a lot of clients with a problem gambling addiction, even as far as living with it in secrecy.
“…something so heavy, that’s impacting them on so many different levels — emotionally, psychologically, financially — shame just overtakes that person.”
One Vegas gambler explains the urge as follows, “I was so excited to finally have something to sink my teeth into.”