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Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

With a gambling addiction, is it different for poor people than it is for the rich?

Asked by Hypocrisy_Central (26879points) July 21st, 2011

My friend and I were helping his friend move because she was leaving her husband due to his gambling addiction. They are not people of means, or great wealth by any means. It made me think of the Twilight Zone episode ”Fever” where this man who hated gambling won a trip to the casino and someone gave his wife a dollar to use in the slots. He said he didn’t want to go home with evil gambling money and plopped it into a machine, it paid off a small jackpot. He eventually put that back in the machine and kept getting small “bumps”, but then it stopped paying but he felt he had to keep going because he was just one pull away from getting all his money back.

That made me think of Casino Royal, the James Bond flick and the characters in it that loved gambling but they were all wealthy and gambled over high-stakes poker.

I wondered if the motivation for gambling for the rich were different or the same as the poor. Logically to me the poor play for the hope of leaving with more money, money they probably need or can use, than they came with. The rich, to me, would seem to play for excitement, thrills, bragging rights, etc. If you can afford to play poker or sit at a blackjack table with a $5,000 minimum, they can afford to lose so trying to double their money is not the motivation.

How do you see it, are the motivations for gambling different or the same generally for the poor as it is for the rich?

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7 Answers

ucme's avatar

It comes down to disposable income doesn’t it? For the rich it’s an addiction where the money is secondary, wheras with the poor, the prospect of a big win in terms of cash fuels their chase.

Hibernate's avatar

I vote for the above answer.

funkdaddy's avatar

For most gambling is just another sort of competition. It’s rarely about the money, especially for those who “love” to gamble, the money is just how you keep score.

It’s the same regardless of your financial situation. People with more money play for higher stakes not because they’re willing to lose that money but because that’s what it takes to get the rush that comes along with winning. If there’s no real risk, then there’s no real reward.

You win, you like it, you go back and try to win again. Most games are built to give the player the feeling of winning repeatedly while slowly leveraging the built in advantages for the house.

marinelife's avatar

Those with gambling addictions do not play for the reasons that you say.

“When pathological gamblers gamble, they are in a chemical psychoactive high. The moment the gambling is over, they slip into a chemical psychoactive low, an irritable depression they cannot tolerate. In time, their pleasure hormones become used up, and problem gamblers must gamble to feel normal. Pathological gamblers are not gambling for the money, they are gambling to feel normal. This is difficult for some individuals to understand because gambling, like drinking, seems like a decision of will. But pathological gambling is a brain disease that is chemically and genetically driven, just as addictive as crack cocaine in certain individuals.”


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stardust's avatar

Sometimes, those with less money put other people at huge risk through their addictive behaviour, i.e. losing the family home as a result of their gambling and the like.
I once befriended an accountant who used the firm he worked for along with their clients money to fuel his addiction.

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