How Psychological Reinforcements Work In Sports Betting Addiction

Initially, we started by betting to entertain ourselves, stimulate ourselves, check our “intelligence” or ability to predict results or our sports knowledge even with free bet offers.

Every time we hit, an internal message appears: “I knew it”, “how good I am”, “what luck”, “what a good streak”, “and what good news”. This improves our mood, makes us feel proud, happy, skillful, and we feel like “commenting on the play” with other “friends” of the game who will say something like “well hunted”, and think something like “I was about to put in the same bet, he should have done it ”.

All Of This Are Positive Reinforces: positive consequences that arise after gambling, which appear from time to time, intermittently, and trap us in our body’s incessant search for them to reappear. “This day is going to be a good one for sure.”

However, there are few occasions when the bet is won, and the losses generate problems, of course of money, but also emotional (guilt, self-esteem, frustration.).

If the addictive disorder runs its course, there comes a time when we no longer bet to seek that well-being (to hit, comment, earn money), but instead we decided to stop feeling bad.

There comes a point where the person enters a continuous state of agitation (lies, debt, loss of relationships, personal projects.) and emotional upset (feelings of guilt, shame, or what is more problematic: indifference). It can get to a point where the person can only “get rid” of the discomfort the moment they start to manage their next bet.

The process becomes a circle from which it is already difficult to get out: the main way to deal with the person’s emotional distress is to gamble.

The objective is not the search for something exciting, or to earn money (positive reinforcements), but the need to free oneself for a time, increasingly brief, from the intense and continuous state of discomfort, agitation, dissatisfaction (search for negative reinforcement: stop feeling bad).

While you bet, you are relieved, and when you lose the bet, your discomfort returns, so you have to face it again by betting again.

Winning a bet does not solve the problem but increases the depth of the “vicious circle of addiction to sports betting”. When you receive a “prize”, the need to bet increases: for trying to “recoup the losses” and for finding again that feeling of relief that you so badly need.