4.9. PC/online gaming, casino, addiction
Play is an innate human drive, which appears in early childhood (Kuss & Griffiths, 2012, p. 5). After the millennium internet gaming has increased significantly because of the huge technological development. PC gaming and, in general, online gaming gives players the opportunity to experience different gaming environments simultaneously, to design and develop virtual characters they could identify with and also to play with other players all around the world at any time (Kuss & Griffiths, 2012, p. 5). Moreover, online gaming allows players to communicate with others via chatting and, thus, form new relationships (Kuss, 2013, p. 125). One more reason internet gaming looks so appealing to some people is that it gives the chance to escape from real life problems and in this way online gaming turns into a coping strategy. (Kuss, 2013, p. 125).
One of the most famous categories of online games is the Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPGs), such as “World of Warcraft”. This kind of games allows players to set goals and reach them, like level advancing, thus gaining a higher virtual status and power in the gaming environment. Players can also motivate because of the admiration they might receive from the gaming community (Kuss, 2013, p. 125).
On the other hand, the aspects of socializing and escaping may be predictive of an addiction to online gaming (Kuss, 2013, p. 125). Other negative consequences are the ignorance of real-life relationships, rejection of sleep, work and studies, obsession with gaming, lack of attention resulting in aggression and stress increase as a consequence, difficulties with verbal memory and high levels of loneliness (Kuss, 2013, p. 125). In some countries, such as South-East Asian countries, the negative consequences of online gaming have been so severe, that the governments took action and measures to reduce these negative impacts. For example, in Japan, the government has recognized the severity of the consequences leading to the development of “fasting camps”, where individuals addicted to online gaming are helped by being cut off from technology totally Kuss, 2013, p. 125).
Casino gambling is a very popular activity worldwide. The last fifteen years gambling environment has changed significantly through the increased availability of online gambling (Gainsbury, 2015, p. 190). Nowadays an Internet – enabled device and a click of a button is all you need to have access to a gambling environment. In addition to that, access is also enabled due to how easily money can be spent through credit cards, electronic bank transfers and e-wallets.
Online casino and gambling have raised controversy regarding the possible consequent addiction (Gainsbury, 2015, p. 190). The fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) added a new category of Non – Substance Behavioural Addiction within the context of Substance Addiction category. In order to diagnose a gambling addiction, the individual has to mention four or more of the following (DSM-5):
- Needs to gamble with increasing amounts of money in order to achieve the desired excitement.
- Is restless or irritable when attempting to cut down or stop gambling.
- Has made repeated unsuccessful efforts to control, cut back, or stop gambling.
- Is often preoccupied with gambling (e.g., having persistent thoughts of reliving past gambling experiences, handicapping or planning the next venture, thinking of ways to get money with which to gamble).
- Often gambles when feeling distressed (e.g., helpless, guilty, anxious, depressed).
- Lies to conceal the extent of involvement with gambling.
- Has jeopardized or lost a significant relationship, job, or educational and/or career opportunity because of gambling.
- Relies on others for money to relieve desperate financial situations caused by gambling.
Risk factors for Internet gambling (Gainsbury, 2015, p. 190)
- Younger adults and older adolescents
- Alcohol or drug abuse
- Irrational cognitions
- Willpower to make money fast and easily
Nevertheless, studies conducted so far do not define a specific personal and behavioural pattern to distinguish between Internet and non – Internet problem gamblers.
In the following link you can find the story of a man, named Justyn Rees Larcombe, who gambled away £ 750.000 and lost his family, too.
Gainsbury, S. M. (2015). Online Gambling Addiction: The Relationship Between Internet Gambling and Disordered Gambling. Current Addiction Reports, 2(2), 185–193. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40429-015-0057-8
Griffiths, M. (2005). A ‘components’ model of addiction within a biopsychosocial framework. Journal of Substance Use, 10(4), 191–197.
Kuss, D. J. (2013). Internet gaming addiction: current perspectives. Psychology research and behavior management, 6, 125.
Kuss, D. J., & Griffiths, M. D. (2012). Online gaming addiction in children and adolescents: A review of empirical research. Journal of behavioral addictions, 1(1), 3-22.