problem gambling

"Almost never killed a fly" is a famous proverb that should be repeated as a mantra by every fan of gambling. Otherwise, they risk joining gamblers who count on getting a big jackpot without realizing they have lost.

Remember how often you have felt you must make a little effort to win a huge jackpot. A ball fell into an adjacent pocket, or the last reel of a video slot stopped a step away from the necessary image, or a king of the wrong suit did not allow collecting a royal flush.

Such situations occur when playing at an online casino or a land-based club. They arouse interest and excite gamblers, but you must treat them without illusions.

If you have lacked a tiny step to a victory, it's a loss similar to all other losses.

Near-wins (also called near-misses) don't make you closer to success. Treat this round as any other unsuccessful spin. It just increased your adrenaline blood level, but there was no profit from it.

Psychologists have noticed that people tend to perceive reality adequately. Optimism bias seems to be the cause of this fact. Some exciting experiments, whose purpose was to find out how fans of casino games were reacting to near misses, are described below.

Experiments at the University of Exeter and the Swansea University

Psychologists at the University of Exeter and Swansea University tried to discover how near misses could affect gambling fans.

Natalia Lawrence said:

Our research showed that gamblers had over-excited the brain regions associated with rewards in response to near misses. After a near miss, gamblers felt a more pronounced urge to gamble.

The experiment was based on registering the activity of various brain areas in randomly selected male gamblers. Some were addicted gamblers, while others had never faced this problem. They played video slots of different types. Meanwhile, special devices were detecting the response of different brain areas.

problem gambling

The results showed that near misses caused almost the same response as real winnings. Gamblers readily continued to participate in the gameplay. Thus, the actual loss made them continue to gamble.

Researchers will continue their experiments to elaborate on the methods to find those too susceptible to problem gambling. This will contribute to the current struggle against gambling addiction.

Chase-Clark Experiment

Researchers Henry Chase of the University of Nottingham and Luke Clark of the University of Cambridge studied gamblers' behavior. They conducted a large-scale experiment dedicated to gamblers' perceptions.

In particular, they were interested in the following phenomenon: customers of gambling houses often believe that games, whose outcome depends entirely on luck, require some level of special skills or abilities.

Therefore, if they believe they are close to success at a particular stage, they subconsciously decide they are on the right track and should keep gambling, following the selected strategy. This is a mistake. Near misses in particular rounds do not affect the further outcome.

problem gambling

Chase and Clark selected a group of volunteers who did not suffer from problem gambling. It consisted of males and females playing slot machines, scratch cards, and other gambling games.

Their brain activity was monitored using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). MRI allowed for determining areas with higher activity in one or the other situation.

It was found that healthy individuals responded to unsuccessful rounds with near misses too actively. Moreover, they tended to gamble in a more risky way, believing that luck could favor them.

Luke Clark came to the following conclusion:

Gamblers are encouraged by near misses and are almost always ready to continue playing... Near misses serve as a signal that you are improving your skills. Thanks to this fact, your brain treats them as a victory.

Since you don't require special skills while playing at the roulette table, there is no reason to take such failures this way. This is just one of the losses which will not affect the outcome.

Research of the Donders Institute

Neuroscientists of the Donders Institute at Radboud University also studied the reactions of addicted gamblers to near misses. They examined several dozens of individuals with various severity of gambling addiction. The researchers used magnetic resonance imaging to investigate brain activity.

The results were similar to those obtained in the research described above. Near misses, which are losses, activate the reward-related brain areas. These regions are activated much more in gamblers than in healthy individuals.

problem gambling

Guillaume Sescousse, a neurobiologist, said:

Under normal circumstances, near misses indicate that you are learning: this time, you have failed, but it is necessary to keep training, and you will succeed. Such failures stimulate you due to increased activity of the reward-related brain regions (e.g., striatum).
This happens when you are gambling. However, slot machines are unpredictable, unlike everyday life, which makes them a difficult task for our brains. That is why near misses can create the illusion of control.

We hope you understand how to respond to a near royal flush or a near jackpot. It is best to forget about them immediately.

What Is It Necessary to Do?

We have already said this, but it is necessary to repeat once again:

You should prepare for your visit to a casino in advance and always follow your plan and chosen strategy.

You will often feel that your luck is within arm's reach, or you must make a small effort to hit the jackpot! Do not allow such thoughts and fantasies to affect your decisions.

Thus, if you are pleased with your victory, it is a normal reaction to such events. Nevertheless, if you are excited when you lack a little bit of luck to receive a payout while playing slots, roulette, instant win games, or other games of chance, you should consider this.

Even in blackjack requiring skills, each round's outcome partially depends on luck. Therefore, you should not take near misses too personally.

Other psychological aspects of gambling are discussed in the themed articles on Casinoz. Our recommendation will help you to avoid problems and succeed.

Frequently asked Questions

🤑 What to do if you almost won at the casino?

You can't almost win at a casino! If you have less money after the game than initially, you have lost! It doesn't matter what happened during the process.

🤩 Should you change your game strategy if you almost won?

No. You should always stick to the optimal strategy, considering all the nuances of the rules and other features.

💸 How dangerous is gambling addiction?

It's a hazardous disease that affects both beginners and experienced players.

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