The science of gambling. Unexpected conclusions of scientists about gambling
In 2018, Mikhail Yarkin proposed to toughen the punishment for organizing unlicensed gambling and increase the fine to 500,000 rubles. The head of the UEB and PC of the Main Directorate of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia for the Samara Region considers gambling activities to be socially dangerous. His views are shared by some representatives of the exact sciences. Scientists from Japan, Great Britain, Canada and other countries conducted large-scale studies in an attempt to prove the negative impact of the gambling industry on gamblers. However, the results of some opinion polls and laboratory experiments led researchers to draw ambiguous conclusions. Underage gamblers on the rise In the UK, 3% of teenagers spend pocket money on card games with friends and 3% of children bet on fruit slot machines. This was stated by representatives of the Commission on Gambling after a sociological survey among children aged 11-16 years. The Canadian Center for Addiction and Mental Health supported colleagues from the UK. Representatives of CAMH said that every 8th teenager at least once played a demo version of a video slot or card games. There are free versions of gambling applications on Facebook and other sites. Underage gamblers learn about poker and slots from commercials, entertainment and sports TV shows. Teenagers launch apps for fun and win prizes. Canadian doctor Tara Elton-Marshal believes that winnings are the main cause of addiction. In demo versions, the reward drops more often than in real money applications, and underage gamblers begin to think that beating the casino is easy. On the other hand, the situation is not so critical. 49% of respondents are aware of gambling addiction and its consequences. Parents and teachers regularly hold preventive conversations with teenagers. Dependence on poker and slot machines was found only in 1.7% of respondents, and 2.2% were diagnosed with a potential tendency to the disease. The cerebral cortex is responsible for gambling behavior Japanese researchers from the University of Kyoto said that gamblers with gambling addiction do not take risks for the sake of money. The main goal of a gambler is the process itself, during which the level of adrenaline rises, and a person experiences a whole range of emotions. American colleagues of Japanese researchers are sure that the prefrontal cortex of the brain is to blame for everything. Researchers from Johns Hopkins University conducted an experiment involving two rhesus monkeys. Animals were asked to play two types of computer games. In the first variant, the chance of winning did not exceed 20%, but the experimental person received a large prize – 10 ml of water. In the second option, the chances increased to 80%, but the prize was reduced to 3 ml. In most cases, the macaques preferred to play with large stakes. At the next stage, American scientists began to suppress the work of the prefrontal cortex in primates. This area is responsible for motor skills, cognitive activity, attention, as well as the activation or inhibition of emotions. After taking the drugs, rhesus monkeys began to take risks 30-40% less often and began to choose a game with a small but guaranteed reward. American researchers believe that the results of the experiment help to understand the neural mechanisms of gambling addiction and find the reasons why addicted people have reduced activity in the brain area responsible for flexibility in decision-making. Gambling helps to overcome stress easier Researchers from the University of Oxford said that gamblers are easier to endure stressful situations and recover cognitive functions faster. The same conclusions were made by scientists from Montreal. They studied the effect of online slot machines on a person and noticed that gambling reduces the level of cortisol, a stress hormone, by 20%. Some researchers also claim that poker improves memory and motor skills. Numerous experiments have proven that card games have a positive effect on the nervous system of Alzheimer’s patients and slow down the progression of the disease. Scientists from the Netherlands made no less interesting conclusions. They found that gamblers who skipped meals a few hours before a game were less impulsive and carefully weighed every decision. Dutch researchers recommend that anyone who dreams of winning at a land-based or online casino compete on an empty stomach.