Compulsive Online Gambling, Auctions and Day-Trading

Why are online auctions, gambling and stock trading so addictive? Find out and take our online internet addiction tests to see if you have a problem.

Net Compulsions are a relatively new and increasingly worrisome category under the umbrella diagnosis of Internet Addiction. Net compulsions are related to Compulsive Online Gambling, Online Auction Addiction, or Obsessive Online Stock Trading. Our company has seen a dramatic rise in these issues over the past year alone due to the popularity of auction houses, virtual casinos, and online brokerage houses. In fact, recently partnered with National Discount Brokers as well as others to help provide healthcare services and information to their customers.

Why is online auction house, gambling, or trading so addictive? The ACE Model, an acronym for ACCESSIBILITY, CONTROL, and EXCITEMENT best explains the three main reasons underlying the addiction.

ACCESSIBILITY - Before the Internet, gambling meant trips to Las Vegas or nearby casinos or the local convenience store to buy lotto tickets or attendance at church bingo's. Stock investments meant phone calls or visits to brokers and evaluating their advice on the latest stock options. Shopping meant, waiting in long check out lines, fighting the mall crowds, or spending hours searching for a specific item. After the Internet, we now have immediate access to hundreds of virtual gaming sites, to online trading sites that provide up-to-the-minute stock reports, and to online auction houses to find any item imaginable. This type of accessibility makes it convenient to gamble, invest, or shop at anytime day or night. As the hassles and limitations of real-life are removed, we now live in a culture where we can indulge in these activities to seek out immediate gratification and satisfy our impulsive whims.

CONTROL - Control literally refers to the personal control that one can now exercise over his or her own online activities. This is a particularly salient issue with respect to online trading. In the past, people had to rely upon brokers to advise, make purchases, and monitor accounts. Today, the ability to take control over one's own investing has the potential to fully replace the need for brokers leaving such personal control to become an major obsession. Additionally, online auction houses create a climate to control shopping opportunities such that rare or unique items can easily be located and one can anonymously transform into an aggressive bidder to win over the competition.

EXCITEMENT - Excitement represents the emotional "rush" or "high" associated with winning. In gambling, one wins the bet, wins money, and it becomes a great reinforcement to keep playing. In trading, one can watch the stock market to view current profits made that day. At the auction house, the ability to conquer others as the highest bidder can be intoxicating as one beats out others in the last precious seconds to win the desired prize. In each case, the excitement surrounding the activity becomes a powerful hook that continues to reward future behavior.

How can you tell if you suffer from a Net Compulsion? Take one of the self-tests listed below:

SELF-TEST FOR ONLINE GAMBLERS - Do you spend too much money gambling online? Have you been unable to stop betting once you start? The invention of online gambling sites has not only become a political and legal concern, but a serious health issue. Compulsive gambling has already been established as a clinical disorder, but now the Internet makes the ability to extend one's gambling habit to virtual casinos immediately available without the hassles of traveling to Las Vegas or Atlantic City. This ability allows people with an established gambling problem to freely explore the net as another vehicle to satisfy their addiction. This accessibility also encourages a new breed of gambling addicts to those curious individuals who otherwise might not have tried it such as teenagers or college students. Young adults who seek admission to an online gaming site can enter freely as no one is there to check for proof of age. This has already created a stir among college campuses who have discovered students using their Internet privileges to gamble and for parents concerned about their young children having access to such sites.

SELF-TEST FOR ONLINE AUCTION USERS - Have you woken up at strange hours just to be there for the last remaining minutes of an online auction? Do you feel a sense of accomplishment when you discover you are the highest bidder? Forget QVC or the Home Shopping Network - online auction houses will be the next frenzy leading to shopping addiction. In a panic, one woman fought desperately to gain access to her Internet service provider, whose line was busy. It was 5AM, just minutes before the online auction was over for a rare teapot she found on the eBay web site. She had intentionally set her alarm to be the highest bidder. Click after click, she tried to log on. Finally, success - as the modem dialed into the service and she quickly tapped away at the computer to be the highest bidder, with just seconds remaining. Relief and satisfaction exuberated from her as she won. This is a typical case of how one can get caught up into the excitement of online auction houses. People begin to buy items they don't need just to experience the rush of winning - sometimes to the point that they go into financial debt, take out a second mortgage, or even go into bankruptcy just to afford their online purchases.

SELF-TEST FOR ONLINE STOCK TRADERS - Do you watch your stocks repeatedly? Sometimes spending hours just looking at the tickers run across your computer screen? Do you stay up at night strategizing your next online purchase? While online trading is an expedient means to monitor the stock market and conduct one's own online business transactions, it can turn into an addiction quite easily. One gentleman estimated that he spent nearly 16 hours a day between monitoring his investments and researching new stock options. As a result, his work suffered and his wife constantly complained about the amount of time he spent at the computer. While men are more likely to become hooked on online trading, women are gradually gaining momentum because of the ease of online trading. Obsessive online trading has already been reported in major financial and business magazines and this new craze doesn't seem to be letting up as new sites are rapidly emerging.

FINDING HELP - If you are addicted to online auction houses, online gambling, or online stock trading seek help immediately in our Virtual Clinic to provide fast, caring, and confidential therapy. Also, read Caught in the Net the first recovery book for Internet Addiction.

next:  What Are The Risk Factors Involved With Internet Addiction?
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APA Reference
Staff, H. (2009, January 1). Compulsive Online Gambling, Auctions and Day-Trading, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 18 from

Last Updated: October 6, 2015

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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