This is not insignificant. I have had the opportunity to be invited into a group of Sr gamers who have spent tens of thousands of dollars on equipment and gaming charges. They are absolutely addicted, spending 6 - 10 hrs daily at the keyboard gaming. Ther worse nightmare is the failure of their group. These are people they have met online who become, over a period of years, fast friends. Several in my acquaintance have married.
Saw this in Ultima Online.
My friends played for a while, and eventually bailed, but they made real money selling their castle sites before they left.
I tried for a while but never saw the attraction.