Gambling comes in different shapes and sizes, so not all gamblers are exactly alike. While gambling should be a form of entertainment, certain people get hooked on the high feeling that rushes through their bodies on a win. Some gamblers prefer to frequent poker tables at the local casino, bet on their favourite sports team, play online casinos or watch the weekly lotto.
Research has found that even though gamblers exhibit unique and varying social and personal skills, certain general patterns are more highly noticeable among one set of gamblers than others. With these patterns of behaviour, gamblers can therefore be classified into at least six unique types. If you are dealing with a serial gambler, here’s how to identify the type of gambler you have so you can know the angle from which to direct help.
- Gambling is their primary source of income
- Maintains discipline and avoids impulsive betting
Professional gamblers depend on calculative risks to beat huge odds. They tend to prefer gambling mediums where luck does not entirely determine the outcome of their bets. These kind of gamblers have high amounts of patience and can accept financial losses without chasing to win them back. While professional gamblers are not addicted to gambling, they have the potential to become a problem or pathological gambler.
Casual Social Gambler
- Makes no attempt to hide any aspect of gambling behaviour
- Others do not see their gambling as excessive
Social gamblers view gambling just like any other recreational activity. They can therefore put a limit on the amount of time and money spent on the activity. There is a marked infrequency in gambling activities and they are unbothered when they have to stay away from gambling for long periods of time. Social gamblers are happy with the occasional poker game, casual involvement in the lottery or a yearly trip to Las Vegas.
Serious Social Gambler
- Others may view their gambling as excessive
- Able to maintain control over their gambling
Serious social gamblers spend more time gambling than casual social gamblers. For them, gambling is a major form of entertainment and relaxation but they are still able to focus on their family and work responsibilities. Therefore, while they may spend a lot of time in casino rooms or other gambling activities, they display noticeable control over their habit.
Anti-Social or Personality Gambler
- Uses gambling as a way to steal money
- May have a diagnosis of Anti-Social Personality Disorder
Anti-social or personality gamblers do it for illegal monetary benefits. They may use marked cards, loaded dice and fixed sports events or horse races. They are quite difficult to spot unless you move in the same circles with them or frequent their place of operation.
- Lack of control over the habit
- Shows serious signs of gambling addiction
Compulsive gamblers prioritise gambling over more important areas of their life – health, family, work, and so on. Sometimes, other signs of addiction such as alcoholism might be present. This kind of gambler is usually impulsive and can hardly keep a stable job so, they jump from one financial difficulty to the other.
Escape or Relief Gamblers
- May go into a trance-like state of consciousness while gambling
- More likely to be women than men.
Escape or relief gamblers use gambling to deal with depression, anxiety or some other form of emotional turmoil. Gambling for them becomes a form of therapeutic experience instead of a euphoric one. These kinds of gamblers prefer to bet at slot machines and video poker. Escape or relief gamblers usually quit gambling when they are able to find a different, more effective way of sorting out their problems.
When you love gambling, it is normal to feel the urge to engage in the habit. But when you make healthier choices and join a strong support system, resisting the temptation becomes easier. If you are dealing with gambling addiction, call a trusted family member who can assist you or go to a Gamblers Anonymous meeting.