The more I come to understand gambling addiction or compulsive gambling, the more sorrow I feel for compulsive gamblers. If it were as simple as people honestly believing that if they rub their lucky rabbits foot in the right way at the right time then they will become millionaires, I would not nearly be so empathetic. But an addiction to gambling is a much more complicated situation. For most compulsive gamblers their repeated trips to the casino have almost nothing to do with winning a jackpot. I am sure many of them are hopeful of a big reward, but that is not what keeps them coming back. The thing that gets people hooked is the thrill of the wager.
If you have ever gambled in a casino you are familiar with the intense psychological ritual that one puts themselves through before inserting your money. There is the feeling that anything could happen next — good, bad, or indifferent. That rush is similar to the rush that a stunt junkie gets when they jump out of an airplane. Realizing that people are addicted to slot machines because they just want to have an intense feeling in their lives on a regular basis is rather heartbreaking to me. I am certain these people do not want my pity, but to know that a person turns to any sort of a machine for emotional stimulus makes me a little sad inside. I suppose it is better than them ruining their minds and bodies with drugs and chemicals.