Gambling increases brain activity

There are certain activities that involve special excitement when performing. For example, when performing extreme sports, where the risk is not so easy to calculate. Music can also mean a special feeling that is adjusted depending on the mood of the music.

The thrill is probably also one of the main reasons why gambling is becoming more and more popular. After all, profit and loss are side by side here. This leads to a particularly high level of excitement that keeps the nerves on edge while gambling. For decades, scientists have been studying exactly what happens in the brain when people win real money playing online.

Which hormones are released in the brain?

As with all activities, various hormones are also released in the brain during gambling. Exactly which hormones are released depends largely on the outcome of the game.

However, it is interesting to note that the mere thought of being lucky can trigger a release of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is a messenger substance that is responsible for activating the brain’s reward system. As a result, we feel happy and like a winner. Humans can therefore already feel happiness by thinking about the possibility of making a profit. Likewise, serotonin can already be released as a result, which, as the so-called happiness hormone, ensures increased satisfaction and a heightened sense of well-being.

This can then quickly lead to the brain storing this information, which it receives during gambling, as positive experiences that raise one’s own sense of well-being. This can quickly become a problem as soon as negative experiences, such as losses from unsuccessful rounds, which are an inevitable part of gambling, are simply blanked out. It is this distortion that in many cases leads to a gambling addiction, in which the brain makes light of the gambling experience, so to speak. People always strive to experience a feeling of happiness as often as possible, which is apparently achieved in this way.

While you are gambling, in whatever form, a lot happens in the brain, which processes the experienced impressions and tries to classify them in a more or less precise way.

Training for the brain

Gambling is always about making a profit in some form or another. To do this, certain conditions must be met. Be it in slot machines by a winning combination on the reels, in roulette by correctly predicting where the ball will stop, or in poker by making one’s own hand the best one.

Therefore, a good grasp of the game is always important to be able to play successfully and quickly understand whether you can enjoy winnings after a round, or whether you will go away empty-handed.

In the case of the classic slot machine, the focus and concentration on the essentials is particularly important. If you assume a game in a casino or even in a slot machine, where there is a lot going on, this becomes especially clear. Here, there is a lot of potential distraction due to the loud droning of the many machines and the many flashing lights. Thus, anyone who plays here for a longer period of time trains their brain to focus on what is important in order to always know what is happening in their own game. Although the environment is usually much quieter in the case of online casinos, this principle also applies here in principle.

Thinking and a sharpened perception are especially important in games like poker, where you also have to deal with other competitors who intervene in the game, while you are alone with the machine at the slot machine. Here, you also have to keep an eye on all the opponents in order to weigh up what to do and what cards they might have.

Furthermore, the memory is trained insofar as it must always be remembered which events must occur so that a win can be collected. At the slot machine this applies to the winning combinations. These can always be recalled, but over time the player usually remembers them automatically, which makes the game more fluid.

In poker, this factor is even more important. Assuming a game in a casino, for example, the player can’t just briefly look up which hand is the more valuable and how they are formed at any time. Here, the player really relies on memorizing this information and recalling it from memory in the shortest possible time.

Therefore, gambling in most cases is always also a training for the brain by training it to recognize what is really essential and to focus on it while blocking out disturbing environmental factors. In addition, the memory is strengthened, as important information for the game and thus for success is noted and stored in the brain.

Fast wins

An interesting function of the human brain is the so-called fast wins. If, for example, only one symbol is missing for success when playing a round on a slot machine, our brain does not book this as a loss. Instead, the event is perceived from the positive side, so that the player gets the feeling as if he had almost won. This, in turn, means that instead of being dampened by the loss, the motivation rises all the higher, as the hope that a win will come soon increases. The pattern that these almost-wins trigger in the brain is very similar to that of a win. So the brain doesn’t really make a difference here.


Ultimately, one thing is always important with any form of gambling: you should always realize that it is a game whose outcome, if you assume a slot machine, for example, depends solely on chance. Therefore, you should always play reflectively and realize that even events like almost-wins do not really bring you closer to the goal, even if it feels like it. After all, how close you come to winning has no influence on the outcome of the following rounds. Instead, chance decides in each round.

If you succeed in winning, then signals of happiness are sent from the brain, so that real joy can arise. Gambling thus increases brain activity in a variety of ways.

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