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Why Gambling Addiction Is the Rich Man's Disease

Updated on September 9, 2019
Chriswillman90 profile image

Krzysztof is a former gambling addict who hopes to give advice to those who may be suffering from gambling addiction and other disorders.


How Gambling Kills the Wealthy

When you think of gambling addicts who do you think of?

I think of people from the lower and/or middle class who struggle financially and hope to earn quick cash.

Do you?

If you do, then it's easy to see why those struggling economically would take up gambling while the millionaires and billionaires of the world don't have too.

However it turns out that individuals with cash to stand on struggle with the same addictive behaviors as you and I might, and at times their addiction is far more severe than we could imagine.

The Dangers of Addiction

To understand why many wealthy people stumble onto addiction, then you'd have to walk a mile in their shoes.

While walking that lonely mile you'll quickly realize that gambling addiction is not about the money you could win; it's about the "win" itself.

When people start gambling their mindset is solely about winning some cash to better their lives but the more you gamble, the more that idea shifts. The money no longer satisfies your initial goal but the idea of winning does.

But even with those ideals in play, why would a millionaire start gambling in the first place? I stated that initially it's about the money, so why would a rich athlete or politician play blackjack or poker?

The answer is socialization + joy + drinking + gambling = satisfaction.

I'll get deeper into the social factors of gambling below and how their powers could entice anybody.

Welcome to Las Vegas: A Gambler's Paradise

Are you familiar with ads showing either Las Vegas, Atlantic City, or another popular destination that involves drinking, gambling, and a party-like atmosphere?

If you aren't then watch one and you'll quickly recognize that their sole focus through advertising is socialization among distinct platforms. They use what they have to offer plus things like rides, celebrities, concerts, food, and pretty lights to bring in the 21 and over crowds.

And they do an excellent job bringing everybody including the upper class. Those folks have the same right to enjoy themselves are we do, and they'll partake in similar activities you and I might.

And unfortunately one of those activities is gambling.

In a social atmosphere gambling becomes part of the background while hanging out with friends, drinking, laughing, and talking is in the foreground. Then while that's going on, you'll find yourself winning a few games, which ups the amusement aspect

And the longer this continues, the more likely your gambling gravitates toward the foreground. You never want to let that happen because that's when the trouble begins, but for millionaires that troublesome process takes longer to realize because they have the funds to continue playing.


How to Lose $10 Million in 10 Minutes

How much are you capable of spending while gambling vs. how much are the wealthy capable of spending?

When you already have money to spend, then it's easy to keep spending without worry. However by the time a millionaire realizes that they have a problem, then the money they've spent exceeds anything the average lower to middle class individual has spent.

The risks are much greater for the rich because they have a lot to lose and are likely to fall deeper into addiction before the problem is identified. It's difficult to cure addiction the longer it continues thus why a millionaire's likelihood to enter severe depression is enhanced.

Finally, who is going to stop a millionaire or billionaire from gambling?

Society does not feel sorry for them; they don't care if rich people are throwing away millions because most people don't have that kind of money to throw. Addicts of a lesser class have a better chance at drawing sympathy than a wealthy gambler.

That's human psychology/nature

What Happens When Rich People Become Addicts?

What type of wealthy person is more likely to succumb to gambling addiction, a politician or an athlete?

While it's unfair to make generalizations about certain people, there are definitely individuals who are more likely to get involved in gambling, and they stretch across all socioeconomic borders.

From everything I've seen, heard, and read, athletes and entertainers have a better chance of getting seduced by the party like atmosphere that includes gambling because it's part of their lifestyle.

Athletes travel from city to city throughout the season and they're unlikely to stay in their hotel room each time if they're somewhere with lots to do like New York City or Los Angeles. Part of an entertainer's job is to host and be a showman for major events domestically and internationally.

So is it really shocking that those kinds of rich people become gamblers, alcoholics, or drug addicts?

They're also exposed to the public unlike a CEO whose job is to keep everything privatized. Now I'm sure those "sticks in the mud" like to have a good time too, but I don't see Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg getting unhinged to the extent of a football star.


Why People Don't Care About Gambling Addicts

The differences between the economic classes are clear thus far but what about the treatment for addiction.

Despite the wealthy plunging deeper towards gambling addiction, their chances of recovery are much greater than those less fortunate. Unless the upper class gambler completely loses everything from betting, they'll still have enough cash to get proper care.

And if they make more money than they gamble, then they'll never have to worry about financial struggles. That's right a gambling millionaire could live with gambling addiction for years as long as they make millions.

A billionaire like Donald Trump could risk millions without serious consequences, which would make us hate him (even greater than usual) since our mindset tells us that it's disgusting to think rich people could throw away a crap load of money instead of investing in something worth developing.

How could you justify gambling away millions when there are thousands of charities around the world that could've used that money to save lives.

There's absolutely no way they'd ever get sympathy for doing that.


Gambling Addiction: Lower vs. Upper Class

Lower Class
Upper Class
Less cash loss
Greater cash loss
More sympathy for addiction
Little to no sympathy for addiction
Recovery is difficult
Recovery is easier
Can't financially survive long-term
Long-term financial survival is possible

The Difference Between Rich & Poor Addicts

Gambling addiction is horrible no matter what your economic status is. The lower class may have less money to lose but it's enough of a loss for them to die off financially compared to the upper class.

On the other hand, the upper class may survive long-term but they will garner no sympathy and may live with gambling addiction for years, which would devastate their psyche.

Having a high status is meaningless when your mental state is out of control.

No amount of money could make you feel better if you're feeling hopeless on the inside. Money doesn't equal happiness when everything is factored in.

I haven't even mentioned how much your family and friends will suffer due to addiction, which may arguably be greater among the upper class. Any time wealth is involved there's going to be a rift among the people closest to you and addiction only worsens it.

In the end, gambling addiction is a major problem for the lower, middle, and upper class and it shouldn't be ignored because of how well off you are. The psychological effects are often worse among the upper class, which is why your sympathy/empathy shouldn't be one-sided.

Your Turn!

Would You Have Sympathy for Wealthy Gambling Addicts?

See results


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    • Chriswillman90 profile imageAUTHOR

      Krzysztof Willman 

      4 years ago from Parlin, New Jersey

      Really interesting tidbit and it further illustrates the point about how wealthy gamblers could gamble their entire lives and turn out fine. I mean if you're a billionaire and make more money daily than you lose on betting, then you'll never end up in the red. It's part of nature as average folk or "poor punters" as you've stated to reach for the stars for significant gains. You're correct that it never turns out the way they expected and that's true for the scores of other average individuals you traverse the same field of gambling methods. Thank you very much for reading and your input.

    • Chriswillman90 profile imageAUTHOR

      Krzysztof Willman 

      4 years ago from Parlin, New Jersey

      That's a good point because gambling will never go away; in fact it'll only become easier if online gambling is made legal for many.

    • Lipnancy profile image

      Nancy Yager 

      4 years ago from Hamburg, New York

      I think that it a still an addiction rich or poor. But I wish there was more of an answer for these people who need treatment. On the other hand I do not feel banning gambling is the answer.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      4 years ago from Queensland Australia

      I found this very interesting Chris. It reminds me of Kerry Packer who was Australia's wealthiest man (father of James Packer now dating Mariah Carey). He owned TV and radio stations and magazines etc. A billionaire who gambled on racehorses among other things. He would regularly place $1 million on a favorite say at odds of 2-1, so if he won he would make $2 million plus his $1 million back from a bookmaker. Most average or poor punters try to invest in bigger priced runners so they have a chance at a bigger outlay from a smaller stake but then have less chance of winning. So it is much easier for the rich to get richer, than it is for the poor to even break even.


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