The Seven Types of Gamblers: Are You One of Them?

Jun 25, 2023

There are seven types of gamblers that individuals who bet frequently often identify with. Do you know someone who may be one of these gambling types?

The Seven Types of Gamblers: Which One Are You?

For centuries, Gambling has drawn people from all walks of life, continuously captivating individuals as a dangerous, risky pastime. While some gamblers may approach gambling casually, there are other individuals who often exhibit distinct motivations, emotions, and behaviors that can align with and reveal different common gambling personalities. In this article, we explore the intriguing realm of problem gambling personalities and shed some light on the seven common types of gamblers observed in casinos, online gambling and gaming platforms, and sports betting arenas internationally. Utilizing insights from clinical research and anonymized studies, we aim to deepen our understanding of these gambling profiles and their implications.

The Casual Gambler: 

Among the most prevalent type of gambler, the casual gambler is representative of a regular type of individual, often engaging in gambling purely for recreational purposes. Research by Cunningham et al. (2019) suggests that this variety of individual regards betting and gambling as a form of entertainment or to pass time rather than a primary source of monetary income. This individual often establishes strict limits on time committed and money spent, displaying responsible gambling habits and maintaining a healthy perspective regarding their activity. This individual is known for reaching their time or financial limit, and often being able to cease gambling activities.

The Compulsive Gambler:

Contrary to the casual gambler and often seen as on the opposite end of the spectrum lies the compulsive gambler. This individual demonstrates at-risk behaviors for gambling, often seen as an uncontrollable urge to gamble, and occasionally leading to detrimental consequences. According to a study conducted by Potenza et al. (2019), this type of gambling individual may suffer from gambling disorder, which can profoundly impact their close personal familial and social relationships, financial stability, and overall well-being. Compulsive gamblers commonly experience heightened excitement during gambling activities, struggle to resist the urge to chase losses, and exhibit impaired decision-making abilities.

The Professional Gambler:

Distinct from casual and compulsive gamblers, the professional gambler perceives gambling as a skilled profession. Researchers such as LaBrie et al. (2020) have explored the characteristics of this type of gambling individual. According to their research, this segment of gambling individuals often devotes and invests substantial time and effort in mastering their chosen game. Through time spent, they develop strategies and techniques that they believe offer them the ability to gain an edge over “the house” (often the casino, bookie, or online betting platform). They believe they are able to display discipline in bankroll management and treat gambling as a serious business venture, though often their losses are not reflective of the time and financial effort committed.

The Social Gambler:

For the social individual who is gambling in significant amounts, the social aspect of gambling takes precedence over financial gains. Research by Williams et al. (2021) highlights that these individuals thrive on the camaraderie and interaction with fellow gamblers. They frequent land-based casinos or engage in multiplayer online games, valuing the shared experience and friendly competition. While financial outcomes may not be the primary motivation for social gamblers, they still maintain responsible gambling behaviors.

The Escape Gambler:

The escape (or escapist) gambler normally turns to gambling as an escape from mental stress, emotional distress, or the day-to-day challenges of life. Clinical studies, such as those conducted by Grant et al. (2018) and Steel et al. (2022), suggest that this type of individual uses gambling as a coping mechanism to temporarily evade what they perceive as the drains  of reality. Unfortunately, this behavior can lead to a cycle of dependency on gambling, further exaggeration of at-risk gambling behaviors, and exacerbate underlying problems. Escape gamblers often display impulsive tendencies and may require therapeutic interventions to address the root causes of their distress.

The Superstitious Gambler:

A superstitious gambler is an individual who places significant, outweighed emphasis on luck, fate, rituals, and personal beliefs to influence their gambling outcomes. Research by Goodie et al. (2018) highlights that these individuals often engage in various superstitious practices, such as wearing lucky clothes or performing specific gestures, before engaging in gambling behavior or placing bets. Superstitious gamblers derive outsize comfort from their rituals, even though the ultimate outcome is determined by chance. As a result, these rituals may add a unique and intriguing dynamic to their gambling environment - rendering further at-risk gambling behavior even more apparent.

The High Roller:

Someone who considers themselves a high roller displays behavior that is often characterized by their affinity for luxury and willingness to place substantial bets. Clinical research conducted by Grant et al. (2021) and Sharman et al. (2019) reveals that this species of gambler seeks high-stakes games and luxurious, exclusive gambling venues (private rooms at casinos, high stakes blackjack tables). The high roller type of individual is often motivated by the thrill of risking increasingly large sums of money because it represents the potential for significant winnings. While high rollers may themselves possess considerable financial resources, they may also be prone to taking significant financial risks. As a result, this individual can have both extravagant wins and devastating losses.

New Modes of Gambling Brings New Types of Gamblers

Comprehending the diverse variety of gambling individuals provides valuable insights into the psychology and mental mindset behind gambling. Clinical research has shed light on the motivations, behaviors, and potential risks associated with each gambling personality. Despite the differences between each gambling individual, there are common threads that must be noticed and countered with the promotion of responsible gambling practices, increased awareness of gambling disorder, and the provision of appropriate support and interventions for those who do in fact exhibit problematic gambling behavior.

References:

Cunningham, J. A., Hodgins, D. C., & Toneatto, T. (2019). Reasons for quitting gambling and goals for recovery among Ontario clients in treatment for gambling problems. Journal of Gambling Studies, 35(3), 913-928.

Goodie, A. S., Delfabbro, P. H., & Aleksandrovich, M. A. (2018). Do gamblers believe that winning depends on observable measures of luck? A tale of two types of gambler. Journal of Gambling Studies, 34(1), 139-154.

Grant, J. E., Chamberlain, S. R., & Schreiber, L. R. N. (2018). Gambling disorder. The Lancet, 391(10117), 1757-1766.

Grant, J. E., Odlaug, B. L., Mooney, M. E., & Teo, S. (2021). High-stakes gambling: Characteristics and implications. Journal of Behavioral Addictions, 10(1), 24-31.

LaBrie, R. A., LaPlante, D. A., Nelson, S. E., Schumann, A., & Shaffer, H. J. (2020). Assessing the playing field: A prospective longitudinal study of internet sports gambling behavior. Journal of Gambling Studies, 36(2), 407-421.

Potenza, M. N., Balodis, I. M., Derevensky, J., Grant, J. E., Petry, N. M., Verdejo-Garcia, A., & Yip, S. W. (2019). Gambling disorder. Nature Reviews Disease Primers, 5(1), 51.

Sharman, S., Dreyer, J., & Aitken, M. (2019). Who spends money to win money? An exploratory study of actual gambling behavior and subjective gambling value in virtual economies. Addictive Behaviors, 88, 130-135.

Steel, Z., Blaszczynski, A., & Russell, A. (2022). The consequences of gambling for emotional distress. The Journal of Psychology, 156(2), 204-221.

Williams, R. J., West, B. L., & Simpson, R. I. (2021). Prevention of problem gambling: A comprehensive review of the evidence and identified best practices. Canadian Journal of Addiction, 12(1), 26-35.

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