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The Psychology Behind Online Casinos

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It only seems a moment ago that the world came to a standstill due to the restrictions imposed as a result of the pandemic. Shops and businesses closed, millions of us were forced to work from home, and we were limited in terms of being able to participate in some of our favourite pastimes.

Gyms, theatres and cinemas all felt the effect as their doors were slammed shut, and people couldn’t get that interaction with others or with their preferred choice of entertainment. However, while those options were off-limits, the virtual entrances of the online gaming world opened to welcome players new and old.

Not only were people enjoying playing the games themselves, but they were enjoying the ability to connect with others in the gaming community and maintain a sense of social interaction that they were denied. Not only were people picking up games such as online Pictionary, but they were playing poker too, as the Yorkshire Post reported a 50% increase in people playing their favourite casino games live over the internet.

It shows that despite people having a negative impression of online casinos, they appeal to people, and we’ll explore why further below.

Social factor

We’re already living in an ever-connected world; we can’t escape that mobile phone in our pocket or the lure of social media, or those challenges online where we want to usurp our friends. You’ve only got to look at the Wordle phenomenon as an example of that, because after all if you didn’t want to boast, why would you share your score? It’s the same with casino gaming, people want leaderboards and be driven to improve their scores by others, and it’s a chance to connect to others and even develop their own community of like-minded people.


Conversely, the online casino allows the player to escape the humdrum of the everyday. Also, by being faceless, if that’s the players’ wish, going online allows them to play free of judgment, especially in games that require elements of skill, such as poker. Not being seen on-screen allows people to save face and avoid the potential embarrassment of sitting in full view of the other players if they’ve made a novice move in front of more seasoned players!

Relevant and interesting

The beauty in online casinos and slot play, in particular, is that they’re not beheld to one theme. The technology allows the developers to create gaming options that are current and interesting. For example, the options with Gala Casino include the title The Chase Slingo which plays on familiar branding to draw people in. The Chase is a popular quiz show many watch on terrestrial TV, and as such, using the imagery on the online slot makes it feel instantly recognisable. People often have an emotional connection with a TV programme, game or interest. It gets them excited, and the varied titles on these platforms also mean they can spend more time in one place rather than searching for what they want or need from the experience.

Rewarding experience

We’ve already touched on the variety of options being appealing, and it’s something that also extends to the array of rewards on offer. Through things like free spins, multipliers, bonuses for playing on mobile and even extending those rewards to the player if they share details of the experience with others on social media. It’s all about keeping players engaged with the action, and the system aims to gratify.


The modern online casino options are designed to provide a very engaging, relaxing social environment that doesn’t force the player into large amounts of stress or thinking. Design is crucial in that aspect; recognisable themes bring a familiarity that instantly puts people at ease. Also, the ability to communicate swiftly (or not) with others allows the player to enjoy the experience of the game. It’s easy to see why they’ve become so popular, as the developers have created something for everyone, regardless of their interests.

David Tobin, a psychology graduate from the University of Hertfordshire, has a keen interest in the fields of mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.

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