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What Causes Addiction to Casino Gambling?


Updated June 08, 2009

Question: What Causes Addiction to Casino Gambling?
The process of addiction is complex, and involves many different physical, social and emotional factors. However, research has shown that one specific factor in the development of addiction to casino gambling relates to the cues within the casino environment.

When problem gamblers enter a casino environment, the sights and sounds they are exposed to increases their urges to gamble.

The good news is that this research also showed that urges to gamble could be controlled, through the use of guided imagery. In addition, gambling urges decreased over time, whether gamblers used guided imagery or not, so the longer gamblers spend in the casino gambling environment, the less they feel the urge to gamble. Unfortunately, by the time the urges have decreased, the gambler may have already accrued significant losses.


Kushner et al. “Urge to Gamble in Problem Gamblers Exposed to a Casino Environment.Journal of Gambling Studies, 23: 121-132. 2007.

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