The Psychology of Gaming: Similarities Between Mobile Games and Online Casinos

How Mobile Games and Online Casinos Affect the Players

There are tons of ways to be entertained, but when it comes to entertainment today, mobile games and online casinos are probably two that have the most rapidly growing number of users overall. The place where this is most evident is Canada.

There’s an incredible similarity between these two. The psychology behind what happens when we’re playing mobile games or any online casino games is quite similar. So, we’re going to discuss what happens that brings these two psychologically close in our minds.

Psychological Foundations of Gaming and Gambling

What is the thing that makes humans behave the way they do when gambling? Better yet, why do they behave seemingly similarly when they’re gaming? There are plenty of theories that can explain the similarities between these two.

However, we’re going to talk about one particular principle, the principle of reward-based learning. It speaks about how we’re motivated to do the same things when we feel something good after doing it.

In professional terms, you’re likely to repeat a behavior when you know that the outcome of that behavior will be good. So, when you win the jackpot, you feel good and you want to gamble more, or similarly when you level up your character in a mobile game, you feel good and you want to play more. This is the principal similarity.

The second one is that there’s an assessment happening in your head. You’re thinking what’s the potential gain and what’s the involved risk. It’s the decision-making process, and this happens when you’re facing a boss in a game or when you’re weighing your chances on the Texas Holdem River.

One more thing, the flow. If you’ve heard about the flow, you know that it means you’re fully immersed in an activity with a deep focus and not much can distract you. Why do you become so absorbed by what you’re doing? Because you’re enjoying it very much.

The flow happens in mobile gaming and online casinos. Whether you’re playing the slots or you’re going through levels in a mobile game, the flow is the same, you’re focused and you’re enjoying yourself.

So, when you think about the similarities, mobile games and online casinos are very similar according to the psychological aspects. We want pleasure, and we get it from the wins, we want excitement, and we get it from the uncertainty, and we want mastery which we get from practice.

Engagement Strategies in Mobile Games and Online Casinos

The reward systems in place for both mobile games and online casinos are one of the more common engagement strategies. If you’ve ever played a mobile game or gambled online, you’ve experienced this.

It’s like Coin Master, if you watch an ad, you get free spins, you win money, and you build your village to be strong, the more money you get the stronger the village. While in the Book of Ra online slot, if you collect three or more books, you get free spins. The reward is different, but the principle is the same.

These rewards motivate players because they reinforce the desired behavior. You get the reward, you want to do it more, and that’s how you become hooked, and you enjoy the game and feel like you can get more and more.

Then there are visual and sound cues as an engagement strategy. This is a less potent strategy, but it still makes you experience some kind of pleasure. The noises and the graphics in online casinos are just as strong as the ones you get in mobile games.

Finally, there are different social features. You can play a mobile game in multiplayer mode, or you can see the scoreboards with the names of the other players playing the same game as you. It’s more or less the same with online casinos.

In online casinos, you can participate in a live chat or gamble with other people at the same table, much like in Texas Holdem or other games. But in Canada, this is unlike anywhere else. People enjoy these social engagement strategies.

So, if you’re the type of person who thinks this might be their cup of tea, and you want to try out some reputable online casinos in Canada to test out the theory, you can visit and find an online casino you might enjoy.

The Role of Accessibility and Convenience

The role of accessibility and convenience in the similarity between mobile games and online casinos is a pivotal one. The digital entertainment sector always had the upper hand where it was accessible and it was convenient.

So, the reason both mobile games and online casinos are so popular is the fact that you can access them both from the comfort of your home. As long as you have an internet connection and you have a device you can use to play, you enjoy yourself.

The best thing about it all is that they’re both optimized for a wide variety of operating systems and screens. Games and casinos are available 24/7, so you don’t have to worry if it’s closed or not, it’s always there.

This might be something that we should worry about as well. The fact that it’s so easily accessible can lead to some difficult situations and psychological impacts. With traditional gambling and arcades, we didn’t have to worry about overuse.

With the modern digital entertainment possibilities and games and casinos being available online all the time, we need to be careful. It also caters to instant gratification which boosts the experience.

When you’re immediately rewarded, you tend to play more. It’s all because the pleasure centers in your brain are triggering the release of dopamine, and you want more and more, and then you’re constantly engaged.

But with all this access, we still need convenience, so we have settings that we can customize for both gaming and gambling and payment options as well. It’s incredible what role accessibility and convenience play here.

Responsible Gaming and Psychological Well-being

What should we do when we have all of these things drawing us to play more and more? We should try to implement responsible gaming practices and protect our psychological well-being. This means that we need a healthy balance between games and other activities.

The potential risks of gaming and online casinos are evident, so we need to recognize them and try to prevent them. It’s necessary to make boundaries like how much time we should dedicate and what the budget would be when we’re gambling.

Imagine sitting on your phone for hours and playing a game, or gambling for hours. It’s not healthy in any sense, so try to take breaks and remain disciplined and moderate. You need to do so to avoid the negative effects of these temporary pleasures.

Don’t be afraid to communicate with your friends and your family about any situation related to your psychological well-being. It’s important to have open communication about what’s happening related to your mental health, especially if you’re experiencing the consequences of an addiction.

The Future of Gaming and Gambling Psychology

Although we’ve discussed the somewhat bad psychological impacts of gaming and gambling, the future might hold a different perspective or image. With the development of AI, we might get more tailored experiences for gambling and gaming.

Then you have AR (Augmented Reality), which is a game changer for gaming. Imagine doing chores as if they were a game on your phone, or sitting at a poker table with other people holding their cards.

With VR it’s going to be a bit different, you’ll get even more graphics and sounds. They’re really going to tap into the possibilities to immerse you in the entire experience. The most important thing we can take out of all that is the possibility to learn from those experiences.


The psychological effects of mobile games and online casinos are similar as we get the same hormone released in our brains. We feel rewarded through the reward strategies offered by these forms of entertainment.

There are other engagement strategies such as social features used by online casinos and mobile games to promote more play. Give these a try and see if we’re on point, you might learn something new, but try to be responsible when playing either.

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