In a Casino World Turning Digital, Will the Introvert Gamblers Inherit the Earth?

I confessed to my priest that I’m an introvert gambler. He replied that by now I must have a place reserved in hell just for me. I felt like I hit the jackpot.

It’s supposed to be a joke introverts get. And if we do, we should laugh at it on the inside- with that inward musing we’ve perfected to suit the psychometrics- silently accepting how doomed our tribe is in a society that actively encourages gregarious and happy-go-lucky personalities.

It has been posited that online gaming, eSports and CSGO gambling sites survive on the back of an ever-growing category of introvert gamblers sporting an inborn tendency towards solitary confinement.

Behind the computer monitor, players who concentrate more on their “inwardly directed psychic energy” (as Carl Jung described introversion) can hide from the pains of socializing while seeking the thrill of a challenging game.

But is this a rule of iron applied to all introvert gamblers or are the unexplored chinks in its armor already showing?

And, more importantly, can online gaming define you as an introvert?

Are Introvert Gamblers a Rare Breed?

I’m not your textbook introvert. I do set foot inside a casino from time to time (albeit with a tiny cringe that is both reluctance and nervousness). I mingle with the regulars and bask in the frenetic, almost universally glitzzy cacophony of noise and color. Really, I don’t suffer from agoraphobia unless I fall in the middle of a Trump support rally.

And yet, I can’t say I thrive in crowds. Rather I would fly solo and invisible somewhere in the convenient and inexpensive vastness of an online gambling site.

For this reason, is a godsend to introverts. One gets to remain blissfully anonymous and play in moderation without succumbing under the pressure of shame and judgement.

But, to get back to a personal angle again, online gambling suits me best mainly because what it provides is a safe and intimate environment in which I can gain control and freely exercise my social anxieties and existentialist angst. There, I said it!

A Gambler Personality Is Hard to Pinpoint, Studies Say

The consensus seems to part introverts from extroverts into two contending personalities that just have to mortal kombat to the death (Finish him on a social level!) when put face to face. But it seems there are areas of activity where it’s hard to tell if the individual belongs to either group.

Gambling. Online myths about gambling have infiltrated common belief so rapidly and in such an inexorable fashion due to the lack of reliable data and, worst still, the presence of contradictory studies.

Those who have observed all categories of gamblers, from the brick-and-mortar casino players to the veteran horse race punters and the CSGO gamers have erected house of cards instead of an unassailable fortress of research.

Is there a gambling personality? Is risk taking only reserved to extroverts? Or does the online gambler have a propensity for introversion and isolation, much prefering the no man’s land that spreads between himself and others? And will the Internet feed that social distance until communication is reduced to little more than computer-mediated networking?

Studies have laser-pointed their research on separating the two categories of personality, strongly maintaining that extroverts and introverts don’t overlap.

Signs of an introvert gambler:

  •  A desire for control (of self and external factors).
  •  Financial prudence.
  •  Limited engagement- verbally or physically- with other players. Small talk is a big NO.
  •  A preference for less social stimulation and a separation from the crowds.
  •  Self-centredness but not at an anti-social level. Contrary to popular opinion, introvert gamblers are social but with a higher degree of self-constraint.
  •  Ability to lead and ease in being center-stage. Approximately 40% of CEOs are self-declared introverts.
  •  Development of certain areas of expertize. Introvert gamblers will choose a game of skill and navigate through all its nuances and subtleties until they become masters at it.
  •  An eye for detail and a high awareness for the nooks and crannies of a game. Neurological studies have shown that introvert gamblers display increased brain activity when engaged in an activity.
  •  Preference for an online identity (mainly because it offers appropriate camouflage and a convenient exit out of any inconvenient situation).
  •  Sensation-seeking.

It’s well worth insisting on the last trait, since sensation-seeking seems at first glance to capture the very essence of an extrovert gambler.

Marvin Zuckerman, the American psychologist who has created the Sensation Seeking Scale has defined this newfound trait as “the need for varied, novel and complex sensations and experiences, and the willingness to take physical and social risks for the sake of such experience.

An introvert gambler, for example, will not redirect responsibility for his own losses to untamable chance. On the contrary, he will rather willingly get caught chasing even if the trap laid ahead is called “a gambler’s fallacy”, and he’s painfully aware of the very real threat.

Introversion does not discourage the chase for thrills and chills.

An Ambivert Inside the Casino

According to the Quiet Revolution quizz devised by Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking and guru of lone wolves worldwide, I am a well-balanced ambivert.

In other words, “I have the best of both worlds”, the royal flush trait-cluster that permits me to walk the thin line between jumpy assertiveness and self-reflective solitude. I imagine Batman or else Jon Snow to be of the same stock.

By this reckoning, I fit the profile of the online player like no introvert or extrovert gambler would. Both a risk-taker and crowd-averse, an online gamer does operate in its own world when gambling but can also adhere to the customary little civilities as required by a game of poker, for example.

After all, the gambling industry- digital or land-based establishment - will see all personality types cross its threshold.

If the world turns digital, will the introvert gamblers inherit the earth?

One prophetic set of numbers from research group Technavio shows that private virtual casinos- in all its forms from gaming and betting to lottery- is not only expected to grow by 11% every year over the period 2014-2019, but can also resurrect the moribund brick-and-mortar gambling venues.

Casino digitalization in a future brave new world could overindulge and tantalize two of our most tempting personality traits- introversion and addiction. Should we regard it as a downfall or one more natural tweak to a readjusting survival mechanism?

Other articles