Why do gambling addicts love the thrill of betting so much? What’s really in it for them? What goes on in their brain? Find out in this video by BBC Panorama, which follows a unique experiment that explores what goes on in the brain of a gambling addict.
Watch the video here, Inside the Brain of a Gambling Addict, by BBC News.
Gambling, according to the video, is “a brain disorder preyed upon by the gambling industry.” The quote comes from Professor David Nutt, who leads the experiment. Professor Nutt is one of the world’s leading experts on addiction.
According to Professor Nutt, addiction is not a failure of one’s will power. It’s the brain becoming changed structurally and chemically as one gambles frequently to the point of addiction.
Gambling is one of the world’s most destructive behavioral addictions, and its effects are insidious.
The experiment uses MRI scans of a gambler, Tony Franklin, as he prepares to make a bet. The experiment shows how the brain’s reward system intensely lights up within seconds when Franklin makes a bet. The scans show how the brain works as it bets, anticipates the result (win or lose), and wins or lose.
The experiment also highlights the dangers of high-stakes, high-frequency, fixed odds gambling machines that are gaining popularity throughout Britain.