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Are Auctions Addictive?

January 11, 2017

This may seem a strange topic for a sports betting site but stick with me as we explore the similarities between betting and auctions. More to the point, are auctions addictive? Do auctions encourage a gambling mentality? Both of these questions will be looked at, discussed, and answered throughout this blog post. It’s an interesting topic as auctions can blur the lines between what is and isn’t considered gambling.

Are Auctions Addictive?

To kick-start this article, I want to create a little scenario for you to think about.

Picture this; you’re on eBay, it’s the dying seconds of an auction, and you’ve just submitted a bid. The clock ticks down, and you finally win the auction you’ve been watching for the past week. The thrill you get is crazy, you really feel like you’ve accomplished something. Trouble is, you don’t want this thrill to wear off. So, you start looking at other auctions and bidding on items just for the thrill of it. Before you know it, you start losing more and more auctions. The more you lose, the more you bid in an attempt to get at least one victory and feel that thrill of winning again. Sometimes, you end up paying way over the odds just to get that winning feeling. You spend more and more until your finances start to suffer.

Now, in this scenario, you can see how auctions can be incredibly addictive. They give people a buzz that they thrive on. It’s similar to when you place a bet and end up winning. No matter how big or small your winnings are, you get that feeling of accomplishment. It makes you want to bet again and try and win bigger next time. Likewise, the feeling you get when you lose is very similar when you compare auctions and other forms of gambling. If you lose when betting on sports or playing roulette, you get annoyed, but you often have the urge to bet again. Especially if you’ve won in the past, you want to prove to yourself that you can win a bet, so keep on spending money. This is how many gambling addictions start, with a win, followed by a series of defeats. It’s the same with auctions when you lose, you want to prove that you can win another auction, so look for a new one.

When you compare things like this, there are striking similarities between auctions and regular betting/gambling. They both have a profound effect on your mental state and both give you an urge to carry on going. There are people out there that spend entire days on auction websites trying to snag a bargain and winning as many auctions as possible. I think it’s fair to say that there is definitely an element of auctions that makes them addictive.

Do Auctions Encourage A Gambling Mentality?

Auctions are addictive, but is that a bad thing? Does an addiction to auctions lead to a gambling mentality? To start, there are plenty of differences between auctions and regular forms of gambling. Primarily, you often know what you’re bidding on, and you only lose money if you win. If you lose an auction, you still get hit with that feeling of disappointment that urges you to bid again, but you retain your money. In essence, bidding on items comes with a safety net to prevent you from losing when you lose.

Gambling does not. When you bet on anything, you’re gambling with your money as there’s a big chance you’ll never see it again. There’s no certainty that you’ll win your bet, just like you’re never assured of winning an auction. But, when you lose a bet, you don’t get your money back. This has a massive role to play in the addictiveness of gambling. You feel compelled to bet again and try to win back your money with some extra profit too. Yes, part of the addiction comes from wanting to be a winner. But, a lot of it resides in the fact you need to win to regain your money.

For me, this is a key thing as it helps promote and encourage a gambling mentality. Gambling is all about taking a chance on something. The whole premise revolves around the risk of losing your money. You don’t get this with most auction sites like eBay, you’re always guaranteed to get your money back when you lose. The only way you’ll lose money is when you spend more than you need to spend. You get into a bidding war and end up paying way more just to win. Is this gambling? Are you getting a gambling mentality from this? I’d say it’s more of an addiction to winning and beating someone else than gambling. Again, even though you’re spending more than you need to, and throwing money away, you’re not really gambling on anything.

Final Thoughts

To conclude, I asked two main questions at the start of this post, the first of which was; are auctions addictive? As I’ve spoken about in the piece, I think they are addictive. People get addicted to the thrill of winning and feel like they’ve accomplished something. The second question was; do auctions encourage a gambling mentality? To this, I say no, they don’t. You can get addicted to auctions, but there’s not really a gambling element involved. People bid on things knowing that their money is safe if they lose.

The problem is when things come along that blur the lines a bit. Auction shows like Storage Hunters are an example of where auctions turn into gambling and encourage that mentality. People stand around a storage crate and have no idea what’s inside it. They start bidding on it to try and beat others and get a look at what’s inside. Sometimes, they can earn a profit from the contents and other times a loss. For me, this is the only example of when auctions promote gambling. In this instance, there’s no knowledge of what you’re buying. Therefore there’s a clear gamble involved.

To sum up, general auctions and sites like eBay can become very addictive. However, in my opinion they don’t encourage gambling as there’s no risk involved but I would love to hear your thoughts by commenting below.

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