I show concerned parents who want to give their children the best start to life how to better understand their children.

26 Sep 2013

Gambling and Parenting - Part 2

I worked for an online gaming company. They designed their slot machine games to only payout 96% of what they take in. In other words, if I put $100 in, on average I’ll get $96 out. However, one must take into account jackpots and the random person who does win. Thus, the likelihood of you winning then is slim to none.

Speaking of the occasional winner, have you ever seen a bank that will accept your money in a casino? That too is by design. If you do win a large amount, who wants to walk around with all that money? I know, let’s give it another spin.

Casinos also have the right to throw people out because they get good at a game, such as card counters. Isn’t that a bit ludicrous? It’s like telling soccer players, “No, I don’t want to play against you because you practice and you’ll win.” That is literally ‘gangster’ mentality.

There are evolutionary reasons why human beings like to gamble. In the not too distant past, the ability to gamble and take risks was a very desirable quality to have because there were no stores from which you could buy food. One had to go out and hunt for food and other resources. Society has evolved since then. Don’t we now have enough brainpower to override our archaic, evolutionary programming? I guess that’s an easy thing to say. But, what if we taught our children this kind of information when they were young? Do you think we’d have less addicted gamblers out there…? I do. In school, we learn all the facts about numbers and letters, but when do we learn about our bodies and our minds? When do we learn how to avoid all the nasty things in life?

Look, I’ll admit that spending some money at the casino can be fun. Win or lose, it stimulates those primitive parts of the brain, making you believe that you’re the man! I don’t remember all the physiology behind this, so take the next sentence with a pinch of salt: it’s not the act of winning that makes people experience positive, stimulating emotion; it’s the potential to win. In other words, your brain gets a shot of dopamine when you take the risk, not when you get the reward. Casino operators take advantage of this fact.

The message here is, if you want to have some fun gambling, do it with some brains. Take a fixed amount of money and leave your bankcard at home. Expect to lose and rather just have fun because of the experience. Treat it as a night out, just the same as if you were going to go to a restaurant and spending $100 on a meal. And most importantly, pass this information onto your children, so in the event of them slipping into the clutches of gambling addiction, they will have a little knowledge and can maybe do something about it.

Gambling and Parenting - Part 1

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I show concerned parents who want to give their children the best start to life
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