Problem Gambling Factors

Anna Kravtcova
Anna Kravtcova
Problem Gambling Expert
Fact checked by:
Paruyr Shahbazyan
Last Updated: Mar 5, 2024, 7:16 PM

Exploring the Profile of a Potential Problem Gambler

Who is most likely to develop a gambling problem? Could you fit the profile that researchers associate with potential gamblers? Understanding the various gambler types and examining Freud's views on gambling can shed light on these questions. Additionally, recognizing the signs of gambling struggles is crucial. Let's jump into these topics to gain a clearer understanding.

  • Predisposition to Problem Gambling: Certain personality traits and life experiences may make someone more susceptible to problem gambling. Are these characteristics reflective of your own?
  • Scientific Expectations: Researchers have identified patterns in behavior and psychology that may predict gambling tendencies. How closely do you align with these findings?
  • Types of Gamblers: The gambling world is diverse, with various types of gamblers ranging from the casual to the compulsive. Where, if at all, might you see yourself in this spectrum?
  • Freud's Perspective: Sigmund Freud offered unique insights into the psychology of gamblers, suggesting deep-rooted emotional and psychological factors at play. How do his theories resonate with contemporary understandings of problem gambling?
  • Identifying Gambling Issues: Recognizing someone grappling with gambling can be challenging. What signs should you look for, either in yourself or in others?

Let's explore these questions to better understand the complexities of gambling behavior and its impact.

Types Of Gamblers

Ralph Greenson presented a straightforward classification of gamblers into three distinct categories, shedding light on the diverse motivations and behaviors within the world of gambling:

  1. Amateurs: For amateur gamblers, gambling is primarily a source of entertainment. They engage in gambling activities for fun, without the expectation of significant financial gain. Their approach is casual, and they typically know when to stop to prevent serious losses.
  2. Professionals: Professional gamblers view gambling as a career or a serious form of income generation. They employ strategies, experience, and discipline to earn profits from their gambling activities. Their approach is methodical and, often, based on extensive knowledge and skills related to specific gambling forms.
  3. Neurotics: Neurotic gamblers find themselves in a compulsive need to gamble, often driven by an irresistible urge rather than a desire for entertainment or financial gain. This group struggles with self-control, finding it difficult, if not impossible, to stop gambling, regardless of the consequences.

Problem Gambler VS Pathological Gambler: What’s The Difference?

Edmund Bergler's Contributions to Identifying Problem Gambling Signs:

Edmund Bergler, a notable figure in the study of gambling behaviors, devised a comprehensive list of signs indicative of problem gambling. This list serves as a tool for individuals to conduct self-assessments, helping to identify potential gambling issues.

Responses of Problem Gamblers to Taking a Break:

While a total ban on gambling isn't commonly imposed, self-exclusion for a period is a frequent approach among problem gamblers seeking to manage their addiction. This step, however, presents a significant challenge as it involves battling a deeply entrenched addiction. The experience of taking a break from gambling can evoke a range of emotions and reactions in problem gamblers, including:

  • Relief: Initially, there might be a sense of relief from escaping the constant cycle of gambling and its associated stresses.
  • Withdrawal: As with other addictions, gamblers may experience withdrawal symptoms, including restlessness, irritability, and anxiety.
  • Reflection: The break can provide an opportunity for introspection, allowing individuals to recognize the impact of gambling on their lives and relationships.
  • Temptation: The urge to gamble can remain strong, making self-exclusion a test of willpower and determination.
  • Hope: For many, the period of abstinence can be a turning point, fostering hope for recovery and a healthier lifestyle.
  • Challenges: Facing the underlying issues that led to gambling addiction without the distraction of gambling can be difficult but is essential for long-term recovery.

This period of self-exclusion is a critical step in the recovery process, offering problem gamblers a chance to reset their relationship with gambling, albeit with the understanding that the path to overcoming addiction is often complex and non-linear.

How To Maintain Control?

Common Gambling Thinking Errors

Common Gambling Thinking Errors

Here are some tips on how not to lose control of your gambling:

  • Engage in stimulating activities during calm periods to offset the need for adrenaline, such as trying a new hobby, undertaking a project, or engaging in physical exercise.
  • Counteract "automatic fantasies" of past gambling victories by immediately diverting thoughts to different subjects to prevent habitual thinking patterns.
  • Channel emotional tension into creative outlets; if ineffective, consider consulting a psychologist or reaching out to supportive friends or family members.
  • At the onset of the urge to gamble, resist negotiating with the impulse—akin to "not negotiating with terrorists."
  • Recognize the critical point of temptation to gamble and proactively self-exclude from gaming environments, contact supportive individuals, or seek professional help.
  • If deciding to gamble, involve a trusted individual to monitor and regulate behavior during the activity.
  • Become aware of and address common cognitive distortions that fuel gambling addiction, recognizing and correcting "thinking errors."
  • If deciding to gamble, involve a trusted individual to monitor and regulate behavior during the activity.
  • Become aware of and address common cognitive distortions that fuel gambling addiction, recognizing and correcting "thinking errors."
The Gambling Cycle

The Gambling Cycle

Factors Influencing Problem Gambling?

Research has identified patterns in youth that predispose them to develop gambling issues later in life:

  • Early exposure to gambling activities, often alongside parents.
  • A strong attraction to gambling-style board games, including card games and Monopoly.
  • A predominant focus on material values, accompanied by envy towards wealthier peers and relatives.
  • A belief in money as a universal solution to problems.

These childhood factors often translate into adult gambling behaviors, influenced by:

  • A predisposition towards addictive or dependent behaviors.
  • Viewing gambling as a quick route to financial success.
  • Association with friends who gamble regularly.
  • Poorly structured leisure time.
  • Discretionary funds and lack of budget management.
  • Experiencing conflicts in personal relationships.
  • Exposure to gambling through positively framed advertisements.
  • Easy access to gambling venues or platforms.
  • Participation in lottery games.

Understanding these contributors can help in addressing and mitigating the risk of problem gambling across different age groups.

What Do Psychologists Say About Problem Gamblers?

Psychologists offer diverse insights into the motivations behind problem gambling:

  • Sigmund Freud proposed that problem gambling might stem from a subconscious desire to experience loss, triggering feelings of injustice and self-pity. This inclination could be rooted in childhood experiences of lacking maternal attention, enduring paternal punishment, or a teenage propensity for testing boundaries through risky behavior.
  • Hoffman suggests that the underlying drive for problematic gambling is the pursuit of risk. Individuals who encounter sufficient risk in their daily lives and occupations might be less drawn to seek out additional risk through gambling.
  • Broad research indicates that gamblers are generally drawn to the intense emotions associated with the activity.

These insights underline the importance of awareness and proactive measures to navigate away from the pitfalls of problem gambling. Being vigilant and seeking healthy ways to manage and understand one’s emotions and risk-seeking tendencies can be crucial in avoiding gambling issues.

Meet Our Authors

Sol Fayerman-Hansen
Sol Fayerman-Hansen

Sol's interest in sports was sparked at a young age, inspired by athletes such as Barry Sanders, Michael Jordan, and Wayne Gretzky. This early fascination evolved into a deep-seated passion, guiding him toward a career in sports journalism in 2007. Over the years, Sol has contributed numerous articles and reviews to various online platforms, sharing his knowledge and perspectives.

Central to Sol's approach is his dedication to honesty, especially regarding sports betting platforms. He believes in providing bettors with straightforward and detailed reviews, distinguishing his work by avoiding the often overly positive spin on bonus offers and promotions. His commitment to truthfulness has made his reviews a reliable source for those seeking authentic advice and information, thereby earning him a reputation for integrity among his readers.

“In the world of sports betting, truth is more valuable than any bonus offer.”

Content Manager, OnlineCasinoReports2012-2021
Sports Journalist, Dottraffic2009-2011
Content Writer, HouseTech2007-2009
Cristina Varela Galan
Cristina Varela Galan
Problem Gambling Expert

Cristina used to work as a Psychology Assistant in the Bizkaia Pathological and Risky Gamblers Association. She was also part of a research team in Deusto University, specializing in pathological gambling area. While working there, she managed to develop her own project 

 “Exploring the association between emotional regulation, alexithymia, stressful life events and gambling in adolescent and young adult women”.

Paruyr Shahbazyan began his business career in 2000 as a private entrepreneur. Over thirteen years, he developed a deep understanding for business and leadership, laying a solid foundation for his professional journey.

In 2013, Paruyr stepped into the sports and betting industry as the founder and president of Bookmaker Rating. This online mass media platform, which he led until 2020, focused on providing in-depth analysis and insights in sports betting, earning a reputation for its quality content. 

Continuing his innovative approach in 2022, Paruyr co-founded Azuro, a decentralized betting protocol. This venture showcases his dedication to integrating advanced technology in the evolving landscape of sports betting. Through these diverse experiences, Paruyr has continuously influenced and shaped the betting industry, driving new trends and setting high standards.

Engaged in private entrepreneurship2000-2013
Founder and President at Bookmaker Rating, an online platform focused on sports and betting2013-2020
Co-founder at Azuro, a decentralized betting protocol2022

"Innovation in sportsbetting comes from a deep understanding of both technology and the human element of sports." 

- Paruyr Shahbazyan, Founder, RG


Principles and Ethics

Paruyr Shahbazyan's core beliefs lie in the power of informed decision-making and integrity in the betting industry. He understands that the foundation of successful betting is not just about odds and predictions, but also about the trust and reliability of the information provided. Paruyr advocates for a betting environment where transparency and knowledge are paramount, ensuring that bettors are well-equipped with accurate data and insights.

Strategic Vision

Paruyr's vision is to revolutionize the sports betting industry through the integration of technology. He sees the future of betting as a blend of traditional sports knowledge with innovative tech solutions, like decentralized protocols, to enhance user experience and fairness. His aim is to create platforms that are not only user-friendly but also uphold the highest standards of ethical betting, contributing to a more responsible and enjoyable betting culture.

Future Perspectives

Looking towards the future, Paruyr envisions a betting landscape that is more inclusive, technologically advanced, and globally connected. He anticipates a significant shift towards more decentralized and transparent betting systems, driven by blockchain technology. Paruyr is committed to being at the forefront of this change, continuously exploring new possibilities and innovations that can redefine what it means to engage in sports betting in a digital world. His focus is on building systems that prioritize user empowerment, fairness, and the global growth of the sports betting community.


Anna Kravtcova
Anna Kravtcova
Problem Gambling Expert

Ph.D. in organizational psychology, an internationally certified psychologist (EuroPsy 2022, Cognitive behavioural therapy of mindfulness 2020, International Society for Emotional Intelligence 2017, Russian Psychological society 2014, American Psychological Association(Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychologist) 2011), speaker of many international conferences (USA, Brazil, Portugal, Czech Republic, Russia, etc.). TEDx speaker.

Mike Rosenberg
Mike Rosenberg
Content Writer

Mike made the decision to dive headfirst into the booming world of sports betting fresh out of college. Back in the day, when 1-800 pick lines and sports pagers were all the rage, he couldn't resist the allure, having grown up idolizing sports legends like Sweetness, MJ, and Slammin Sammy. Mike dedicated his early years to the industry, tirelessly analyzing games, writing articles with free picks, and selling his expertise on reputable handicapping sites. Unlike many others, Mike was known for his integrity and only released one Game of the Year per sport, per season. His hard work and unwavering commitment paid off, earning him a devoted following and propelling his career to new heights. Then came the explosion of Daily Fantasy Sports. Believe it or not, companies like DraftKings and FanDuel used to pay Mike's company to increase their brand exposure. Now, those same industry giants don't even bother responding to his emails. While Mike appreciates the convenience of being able to place legal bets in his own backyard, he can't help but feel disheartened by what has become of the industry. People are being led astray, falsely believing that a mere $5 wager on a 20-team same-game-parlay will be their ticket to financial security. If there’s one thing Mike learned from making book back in the day, it’s that parlays are a bookie’s best friend. A bankroll is the only leg you have to stand on in the battle with the books, and Mike’s here to offer up advice on how to protect it.