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How to assess risk-taking at online casinos

by Jason Smith

Gambling can be an incredibly fun hobby for people who understand the risks, know their limits and accept that it’s just entertainment. Unfortunately, it can be very easy for people to forget their limits or ignore the risks when they’re chasing a win or trying to recover from a loss.

With the exception of certain card games, all gambling is just down to luck. Yet somehow, most of us feel like what we do has some impact on the outcome of a spin on the slots or a roll of the dice. The illusion of control in iGaming can contribute to the development of problematic gambling habits.

In this article, we’ll discuss what the illusion of control is and how it can impact our decision-making abilities, especially when it comes to assessing risk-taking at online casinos. We’ll conclude with some tips on protecting yourself from developing problematic gambling habits.

What is the illusion of control?

The illusion of control is a concept that addresses how people understand their environment and their ability to impact it. The illusion of control is our belief that the things we do can impact the outcome of events that in reality we have no control over. Common examples include wearing a “lucky” item of clothing so your team will win or that blowing on the dice before rolling will make your number come up.

In gambling, the illusion of control is what convinces players that they can influence what happens. It’s very easy to fall into the trap that scoring a big win is within your control. Suddenly everything you did that led to that win seems to have had a powerful impact. For instance, if you decided to put on yellow socks and drank a Fanta right before you placed your bet that won a jackpot, you might think that the socks and soda helped you win.

In reality, winning or losing is controlled by the laws of probability, how the games are programmed and simple luck. Other factors that influence how people view their ability to control the outcome of a game are a lack of understanding of odds and how gambling games work and an optimism bias.

Risk-taking behaviour

Just like investing, there is no way to gamble without taking a risk. It’s an inherent part of the activity and where a lot of the excitement stems from. When the risk adds to the thrill, it becomes more difficult to distinguish between goods risks and excessive risks.

People who believe that they can control the outcome of events are more likely to take bigger risks. Even when they’re losing, the belief that they will win by continuing to play in a high-risk manner can lead these players to incur losses that they can’t afford.

Another risk-taking behaviour involves not fully paying attention. No matter how much we love a TV show, we’ve all fallen into the trap of having it on in the background, only half paying attention and not being able to fully enjoy it because we’re not investing our attention. The same often happens with iGaming, which can lead to increasingly risky behaviour because losses don’t fully register when we’re not actively playing.

Protecting yourself from problem gambling

When you have a healthy relationship with gambling, you’re able to enjoy playing casino games as a pastime for years and years. The most important tip we can give is to set a budget and stick to it. Having a set budget makes you less likely to bid recklessly and more likely to quit before you’ve lost more money than you can afford to lose.

Taking occasional breaks from playing makes it easier to think rationally about the bets that you’re placing and helps you keep track of time. In addition, you should only play when you’re in a good mood and doing well. Gambling can easily become a bad habit if you use it to try to make yourself feel better.

Breaking the illusion of control can be difficult, but there are a few things you can do to protect yourself and prevent it from impacting your play. The first is to learn about the games, odds and how they work while also learning about evidence-based gaming strategies. Perhaps more difficult is to let go of the desire for control. A little bit of zen can go a long way.

It’s essential to remember that iGaming should be fun! If playing is adding stress to your life or if it’s just become a boring background activity, it’s time to take a break.

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