How Gambling Affects The Brain

Gambling affects the brain. You may be familiar with it: you visit a casino, play an exciting game of poker, baccarat, roulette, or immerse yourself in the various slot machines. However, at the end of the evening, you find out – if you are unlucky – that you have lost a lot more money than you wanted to bet in the first place. Oops! This feeling of having the drive to keep trying, again and again, is all caused by our brains and various substances that are released in certain situations.

Further in this blog, you will read more about how the human brain actually works, more about the substance dopamine and gambling addiction, in order to answer the question of how gambling affects the brain.

Functions of The Brain

How Gambling Affects The BrainOur brains are one of the most important organs of the body. The brain is part of the central nervous system and controls various vital bodily functions. Our brain is also responsible for receiving, processing, and interpreting all the information we receive from our senses. The most important characteristic, which is also important for this subject, is that the brain is also responsible for our feelings, behavior, and the way we think. For example, our brains can produce substances that make us feel good about certain situations. Dopamine is such a substance, which is produced by your brain during gambling.

How Dopamine Affects The Brain

Dopamine is a substance produced in the brain and is an important factor in how gambling affects the brain. Scientists also call it a neurotransmitter. This can also be seen as a hormone that uses the central nervous system to communicate between nerve cells.

In addition, various studies have shown that gambling causes measurable changes in our brains. Earlier in this blog, I said that the brain is responsible for, among other things, our feelings, our behavior, and the way we think. But if we only look at dopamine and how it works I can tell you the following:

Dopamine is a substance produced by your brain when you do things that your brain thinks you should be rewarded for. You can think of a game, sports, being in love, a tasty snack or of course during gambling. The dopamine that is then released provides adrenaline and an unbelievably happy/pleasant feeling.

If we relate this more to gambling it is so that a desire to gamble is caused by a reaction of your brain. For example, every time you crawl behind your laptop, you want to gamble. Because we like this behavior, our brain rewards us, after which dopamine is released. The feeling of happiness you experience can at some point develop in such a way that you are constantly longing for this pleasant feeling. In the worst-case – which certainly often happens with gambling – this can lead to addictions.

Gambling Addiction And Brain Changes

The substance dopamine and its effects can cause gambling to turn into an addiction. However, dopamine is not the only thing that can cause you to develop an addiction. There are many other factors that play a role in the process of change in our brains.

The first point that plays a role in gambling is tension. During gambling, you often enter a kind of trance and build up more and more tension. After all, you always have a chance to win a lot of money. A lot of people forget the whole world around them and are completely absorbed in their game. Every time your game is over, the temptation comes. One more time, one more time then, is what you can think. This can eventually result in an addiction.

The second point I want to make, is that the continuous tension that you experience during gambling causes changes in our brains. People who are constantly in an exciting situation produce endorphins and adrenaline. This also makes people feel comfortable and gives them a kick or an adrenaline rush. All these factors together cause – as I highlighted in the previous paragraph – the reward center in the brain to be stimulated and then … dopamine is released. This gives us the feeling that we are being rewarded.

The combination of all these substances that are produced can therefore cause addicted.


We can conclude that gambling affects the brain. Endorphins, adrenaline, and dopamine in particular, are important factors in this. People want to feel happy and want to be rewarded. Big gambling fans will certainly get this while playing a game of Roulette, Baccarat, or Poker. My advice is, therefore: no matter how much fun gambling is, don’t let dopamine and the other mentioned factors influence you too much. Otherwise, it can turn into an addiction…