Casual or social gambling is when a person sees gambling as a leisurely activity that he or she can engage in once in a while, or whenever he or she feels like it. In this level of involvement, people see gambling the way they intend it to be—a social or personal activity from where they can derive pleasure and disengage from by choice. It is in this level of gambling that the activity is able to fulfill its role of offering relaxation and leisure, or creating a feeling of excitement or participation.

There are three material factors in casual gambling that differentiate it from other levels of involvement requiring attention. The first factor is that of choice. As highlighted in the previous portion, a casual gambler sees gambling as an activity he or she can choose to participate in, and eventually, choose to withdraw from. The casual gambler is able to identify reasons as to why he or she enjoys gambling, and may be willing to acknowledge the possibility of harm to others and to take necessary precautions to avoid such.

The second factor is the awareness that gambling is a social activity. In seeing gambling as a social activity, the casual gambler sees gambling as one of many activities through which interaction is possible. He or she is aware of other gamblers in the game, and may even pick up a friend or two at the table. Moreover, the casual gambler recognizes the social contagion that results from gambling—there’s recognition that whatever he or she does can affect other people as well. This is especially true when it comes to financial stakes in gambling. Casual gamblers are able to rationally determine how much money they can afford to put in without jeopardizing the welfare of his or her dependents.

The third factor is control. Casual gamblers are able to control the amount of time they spend gambling and the amount of money they are willing to part with. This awareness and control over the activity lends lucidity in decision-making, capacity to recognize effects on others, and ability to appreciate gambling and then let go.

This, of course, is the ideal attachment to gambling that is expected of people. However, excessive and pathological attachment to gambling leads to addiction comparable to substance addiction.

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