It is usually the case then, that in the long run we will make a loss on a game of chance. This is however only the first level of loss in gambling. In some ways we accept this loss as a given, and as a part of the fun of gambling. We know that the casino has an edge, and we are playing with money that we can afford to lose. For example, you take $100 to a casino and play roulette. You stay for a few hours playing a game you enjoy, drinking free coffee, and having a nice evening. Sometimes you lose $100, and sometimes you go home with much more. Is this any more of a loss than going out to a pub where you have no chance of taking home more money than you took out?
The second level of loss is losing an amount of money that you cannot afford to lose and that will make you unhappy when you wake up in the morning, or worse cause serious problems. This level of loss has much to do with human emotions and human beliefs. It is our emotions and vices that tempt us to bet more than we are happy with, and this is the real loss we can experience if we gamble irresponsibly. This level of loss is negative, destructive, and is born of one of several possible flaws in thought or action. Below are some examples of how emotions and ego can affect our ability to bet within our limits, to walk away when we should, and to control our greed. It is important to avoid the traits and patterns that lead us into the negative consequences of gambling. Intoxication and responsible gambling don't tend to mix. The betting limit you imposed on yourself can easily go out of the window when you have had a few drinks. The casinos know this, which is why many of them offer free drinks! It is your responsibility to remain in a state where you can control your impulses. The casinos make their money from greed and lack of discipline. The only way to enjoy gambling is to be able to overcome greed enough to gamble only what you can afford to lose. When we are greedy we lose sight of our original aim, which is enjoyment, and are blind-sighted by money. We start to think, "what if," and dollar signs light up in our eyes. All too often real loss comes from a person's inability to keep perspective. We want to win big, and we bet out of our element. Given that it is part of the odds of the game that we will lose at some point if we continue to play, why is it so difficult to walk away when we win? Sometimes we are in profit for the night and we would be happy to wake up in the morning with the amount of money we have in our pocket. Still the temptation to bet continues. Many gamblers lose because they never give themselves an opportunity to win; even when they have won a significant amount they will continue to bet until they lose it all again.
The third level of loss is the most serious of all. It is an extreme of the second level, and is a lack of control over a longer period of time. It is serious loss because it can become detrimental to our friendships, family, job, and life. When gambling takes over, and financial loss becomes a part of daily life, something much deeper has been lost with it. Life itself has become secondary to gambling, and no pleasure is even derived from the game anymore. When gambling addiction takes the upper hand anything is possible.