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How Hearthstone helped cure a gambling addiction

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A Reddit user going by the name Lanztar has recently shared his story about how Hearthstone “cured” his gambling addiction. Mr. Lanztar had a very serious addiction and racked up over $30,000 in debt, which is almost half a million Rand. He played everything, including slots, blackjack and roulette. Mr. Lanztar was in a lot of trouble, seeing as he only makes around $46,000 a year.

He got evicted from his apparent and moved back to his parents, alienating his friends and family while sitting under a crushing amount of debt; with his gambling addiction still not cured. Until Hearthstone happened.

The Hearthstone effect

Mr. Lanztar explains how he sought help but due to withdrawals, he kept going back to the casino, until he picked up Hearthstone thanks to a friend:

“I went to seek help via gamblers anonymous and therapy websites. But encouraging words from random people just weren't enough. I fell apart during my withdrawals and went back to the casino... and lost more money that I didn't have. The turning point happened a couple years ago around June 2014, one of my friends brought this game, Hearthstone, to my attention; but challenged me to not spend real cash on anything.

I was thinking this was just another stupid freemium game that I'll toss aside in a couple days. Oh boy was I surprised. I got hooked. And that's an understatement. The game is insanely addicting especially to someone trying to treat a gambling addiction.” - Source

Now Hearthstone itself is a very addictive game, so it is not that surprising that the game could become a substitute for someone with a gambling addiction. I’ve studied and worked with addicts in the past during my Psychology training, and one important thing I learned about gambling addicts is that for quite a few of them is that it’s not about the money, but rather the excitement or "rush" gambling provides. The excitement of gambling is what Mr. Lanztar mentions as the root of his addiction. An excitement that Hearthstone provides.

Late last year I wrote an opinion about Hearthstone entitled “How much luck is in Hearthstone?” and mentioned that even the “finding opponent” search function looks like a slot machine. Although skill also plays a huge factor, a lot of the game’s aspects is about luck, for example getting that perfect Arena deck or opening a card pack and finding two Legendary cards.

Mr. Lanztar explains why Hearthstone was so exciting for him and helped him overcome his gambling addiction:

“Perhaps it's the insane amount of RNG everywhere. My mind is practically racing in ecstasy when: 

  • I topdeck the perfect lethal. Like hitting into a perfect 21 in blackjack.
  • I get the "perfect" starting hand. Like getting a blackjack in blackjack.
  • I flip a golden legendary in a card pack. Or heck even just a regular legendary. Opening card packs is like softcore roulette to me.

The Arena mode is practically a casino in itself. Everything about the Arena is gloriously satisfying to my feeble gambling-addict mind - from drafting a ridiculous deck to getting 12 wins. And boy I felt like I won a lottery drawing whenever I get 12 wins from the Arena.” - Source

Due to the fact that Mr. Lanztar didn’t spend any money on Hearthstone and that the game kept him away from the casinos, he paid off most of his gambling debts in two years. He mentioned that his “friends and family respect him again” and that he now wanted to tell his story to the Hearthstone Subreddit on the two-year anniversary of the first time he played the game. Big congratulations to him for beating his addiction.

What do you think of Mr. Lanztar’s story of how Hearthstone cured his gambling addiction? Do you agree that Hearthstone does involve a lot of luck comparable to that of casino games? Let us know in the comment section below.  

Source: Reddit

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