False Superstitions

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Most problem gamblers share certain superstitious beliefs and behaviors. Some of the most typical, shared by nearly all problem gamblers in treatment, are:

1)  IF SOMETHING HASN’T HAPPENED IN A LONG TIME, IT IS “DUE” TO HAPPEN SOON:
Casinos make money because the “odds” favor them in each game. While you may win or lose on any individual event (such as playing a slot or a hand of blackjack), everyone loses after they’ve played enough events.

This is, in part, because every event is random and independent of every other event. For example: today’s slot machines – even those that LOOK like they are older – are actually sophisticated computer systems programmed using very complicated math.

Each spin is completely independent of every other spin, so it does not matter what happened on the last spin… or last 10 spins… or last 100 spins. The next spin is random – and the casino (as with all games) has the advantage!

2)  CHASING AFTER LOSSES
Problem gamblers often continue to gamble to try to win back money they have lost. But because the casino always has the advantage, and each gambling event is independent of all others, this usually results in losing more money.

3)  CHASING AFTER WINNINGS
Problem gamblers often believe that when they are winning, they are on a “hot streak” and they will continue to play trying to win more money. But as stated above, each event is independent of every other event: hot streaks do not exist. What normally happens is that the gambler begins to lose back their winnings, and then starts to “chase after their losses” (see #2 above).

4)  PROBLEM GAMBLERS OFTEN THINK OF GAMBLING INBETWEEN BETS
This can include planning the next gambling trip, reliving past gambling experiences, or thinking of ways to get money with which to gamble.

5)  LYING
Problem gamblers often lie about how much money they won or lost and how much time they spent gambling. They also tend to lie to hide their reasons for borrowing money, and will make up false excuses to get out of work or other obligations.

*Callers outside of California can call the National Problem Gambling Helpline at 1-800-522-4700.

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