Can Video Games Be an Alternative to Gambling?

As you may well be aware, problem gambling is a serious issue affecting many people throughout the United States and around the globe. While betting on horses or pulling slots may be fun at first, it can eventually take its toll on those who develop problematic behavior. Compulsive gambling practices can encourage players to give up their hard-earned paychecks in attempts to win big, harming their relationships with friends and family in the process.

However, turning your focus to another source of entertainment can be beneficial in overcoming problem gambling behavior. There are many hobbies and activities out there that gamblers can participate in, from hiking and traveling to volunteer work — but one alternative you may not have considered is gaming. Here’s a look at how video games can potentially be an excellent alternative to gambling.

4 Reasons Why Videogames Are Good Alternatives to Gambling

No Constant Monetary Loss

A major downside of gambling is that it requires frequent payments for participation, which can become expensive for problem gamblers. However, this is not normally the case with video games. Many games are free to play (F2P) and don’t require any money. Others cost money but can have high replay value — or the ability to be replayed multiple times, allowing you to enjoy them well beyond the initial purchase. So long as you purchase games responsibly, you won’t have to worry about sacrificing your paycheck to have fun.

Diverse Options Available

Compared to casino games, there is a wider variety of game genres, available on mobile devices, computers, and consoles. From puzzles and strategy games to action and sports simulation and so much more, there’s a genre to satisfy everyone’s personal tastes. Additionally, multiplayer games are a social activity that allows you to spend time with friends and family in ways you can’t when gambling. 

Avoid Gambling Triggers

Depression, stress, and boredom are all potential triggers for problem gambling. A major reason why video games are excellent alternatives to gambling is that they can help individuals avoid these triggers — especially boredom. Games allow players to distract themselves from thoughts of gambling by immersing them in virtual worlds and experiences. Role-playing games (RPGs) provide countless hours of gameplay as individuals engage in an interactive story. Competitive games, on the other hand, offer fast-paced experiences that help players focus on their victory. Whatever genre it may be, a video game can help take your mind off of problem gambling behaviors.

Another Form of Thrill

Video games are another method individuals can release stress hormones while having fun. However, it is important to use gaming as an alternative to problem gambling behaviors and not as a replacement. Spending too much time playing video games can result in a new obsession that can be costly and time-consuming. Make sure to game responsibly as you would with other hobbies.

Steer Away From Games With Microtransactions

While video games can be a great alternative to problem gambling, there are some types of games that encourage harmful behaviors. Many developers make profits off of their F2P games by including microtransactions. For example, loot boxes are a form of microtransactions that contain random in-game items and accessories. The randomness encourages players to purchase more of them to get the components they want.

One genre that people with gambling problems should avoid are gachas. Originating from the gashapon capsule machines, gachas lock the more powerful characters and items away behind gambling mechanics. In other words, rather than reward gamblers through monetary gain, gachas reward them with the best in-game content that makes the game easier to win. Thankfully, there are so many game genres out there that it can be easy for players to avoid gachas if they are aware of them in advance.

Although many video games are great alternatives to gambling behaviors, they aren’t a substitute for therapy. If you need help overcoming problem gambling, reach out to 800-Gambler today. We’ll help you find Gamblers Anonymous meetings and offer a variety of resources to assist you, such as our gambler videos.


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