Difference between recreational gambling and gambling addiction


Recreational gambling is a fun way to spend money. It is the action of gambling in your spare

time for fun. Gambling addiction, on the other hand, is an obsession turned to gambling. Everything has positive and negative sides. In this case, recreational gambling is the positive while gambling addiction is the negative.

  1. The limits

In recreational gambling, a fixed amount is set for gambling whereas in

gambling addiction, the gambler places no restrictions on how much they will spend. The recreational gambler is able to set a spending limit, their gambling activities and will call it a day once they reach their limit. Since the gambler is of sound mind they know the repercussions and think about the consequences of their actions. They practice gambling ethics but gambling addicts do not notice the amount they spend. Once they place their first bet, they blackout and continue to place wagers and gamble until they run out of money. As the game progresses the more an addict plays. They thus raise the stakes higher with every round.

Unfortunately, the more they spend the more they lose and yet they believe with each round

their luck will change. This causes gambling debts such as bankruptcy, mortgages are raised

and other financial debts.

  1. Enjoyment vs recovering losses

In recreational gambling, they never play to recover losses, unlike gambling addicts who play to recover the money they lost in the previous round.

Gambling for fun stops once the game ends. The player walks away when they reach their set limit or when the game ends regardless of the outcome. Recreational gamblers do not focus on whether they won the game or made losses at the end of the game. To them, winning may be a bonus but losing also happens and they easily accept that but as for gambling addiction, it is far from the case. The driving force for gambling addicts is chasing losses. Here their brain adapts to thinking that the more they play the more the chances of winning. They play in an attempt to recover the amount they lost.  Gambling addicts are trapped in a circle where they keep placing bets and losing. It is as if they are driven by greed because they operate on the principle of winning throughout. They, however, end up spending more than they could possibly recover from any game they bet on.

  1. Timing

Recreational gamblers set a maximum period of time that they would spend with friends who have similar gambling interests. Gambling addiction is not aware of the concept of time. The gambler goes on until they cannot hold themselves anymore. Recreational gambling, time is a valuable asset and should be used productively. However, when it comes to addictive gambling, they don’t notice time slipping away. A gambler doing it for fun will set a timer or subconsciously make a note about what time the game is to end or how many hours should they spend at the game

Gambling addiction is an obsession which does not create space for something else in the

Mind. The player can go as far as playing the whole day since the addiction urges come like a

craving making it hard for them to walk away whenever required.

  1. In recreational gambling, one gambles with a sober mind but gambling

addiction feeds off other addictions.

The key to recreational gambling is to keep a sober mind since it is believed that being sober helps keep you focused on the game while gambling addiction is contributed to and

encouraged by addiction to drugs and alcohol. Keeping a sober mind does not only include abstinence from alcohol and drugs but also emotions.

Alcohol is meant to numb senses, therefore, while playing the gambler is not in full control of all

his senses especially his sight. The results will obviously be uncontrolled losses. Gambling

addiction has mixed addictions that keep fueling each other. For example, if an addict plays

while drunk and loses, they are more likely to go back to drinking for comfort. The alcohol

then encourages them to go back and play with the notion that the next rounds of luck will be on the players’ side. The cycle thus continues.

  1. Recreational gambling is balanced with other activities but a gambling addict is only interested in the game

Practicing other activities such as sports and dancing helps a gambler who is only in it for the

entertainment to keep their mind off the game. An idle mind is always referred to as the devil’s

workshop therefore the more they keep busy they become productive human beings and rarely

think of the thrill provided.

Gambling addiction is like a drug the adrenaline fuels excitement making the player come back for more.

It then becomes impossible to carry out normal activities without thinking about how much they

can make the next game or when the game is set to take place. They keep thinking about certain strategies to use in order to win. In gambling addiction when one stays away from gambling, they start to experience irritation or anxiety.

  1. Fun vs Money

Recreational gambling is for fun but gambling addiction sees the activity as a money-making process. In recreational gambling, the game may come with benefits such as a win but in this case, a loss is also acceptable. However, addictive gambling on the other hand only anticipates winning.

The mindset of a gambler in recreational gambling is set to know gambling is just another

game and is dependent on luck. They acknowledge that luck is a 50-50 chance at a win. To a recreational gambler, making money is of little difference. The same cannot be said for gambling addicts. Making a profit becomes their main aim in playing and raising the stakes. They

believe the higher the stakes the higher the win.

In conclusion, recreational gambling is for the idea that, like all games gambling, should not

become an obsession and much like a disease that feeds on the mind. Recreational gambling as

the name suggests should only be for recreation purposes. Unlike gambling addiction,

recreational gambling paints a good picture of gambling and helps acknowledge that there might

be social and economic benefits to gambling. It is, however, important to remember to tread with caution when it comes to recreational gambling because it can easily turn to an addiction.

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