Gambling Addiction: A Guide to the Different Types of Gamblers

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a man rolling two red-sided dice forwards on a casino table
BetMGM Aug 07, 2023, 6:21 AM

Gambling is a fun and engaging leisure activity when it’s enjoyed responsibly. The chance to win money and prizes adds an exciting risk factor to casino entertainment options, where games have dynamic outcomes based on a combination of luck, skill and odds.

There’s much variety when it comes to types of gambling games. Bettors enjoy the freedom to wager on any format they prefer, but that freedom can quickly give way to compulsion if betting habits spin out of control and bad forms of behavior take over.

The best online casino games make it clear to players from the start that gambling is recreational and playing irresponsibly is a recipe for disaster. That said, addictive gambling is tough to pinpoint. There are types of gambling that can be addictive to certain personalities, while others aren’t seen as problematic even if you’re playing the odds every day of the week.

Types of Gambling

Casino games represent the largest group of forms of gambling, which include classic casino formats such as slot machines, blackjack and roulette, as well as more recent favorites such as Slingo, video poker and sic bo. 

Casino Gambling

Most casino games can be split into two categories: skill-based and chance-based games. Games such as baccarat and poker combine both these for a compelling combination of fortune and ability, ensuring a range of gambling options that reflect the diverse preferences and personalities of players.

Sports Betting

Sports betting is one of the fastest-growing forms of gambling worldwide and includes everything from horse racing and motor championships to NFL play-offs and FIFA finals. Bettors speculate on the outcomes of matches and races, backing their favorite teams in leagues and competitions of the world’s most popular spectator sports.


Interestingly, jackpot lotteries are legal in several countries where gambling is still illegal. Playing the lottery is the most socially acceptable form of gambling there is, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get addicted to this form of gambling.  

Truth be told, every form of gambling can become addictive. It all depends on your betting habits, bankroll management, self-awareness and self-control. Gambling thrives on multiple addictive tendencies and recognizing the signs of addiction will help you distinguish between problematic gambling and harmless wagers.

Signs and Symptoms of Gambling Addiction

The trouble with gambling addiction is the lack of visible symptoms. There are signs to look out for, but it’s not the same as drug addiction, where a user may lose weight rapidly or behave erratically. Compulsive gamblers tend to be secretive and lie about how often they play, making it tough for anyone to intervene before serious problems arise.

Addicts chase the highs of betting relentlessly, using gambling as a way to escape even when funds are running dry and debts begin to pile up. In desperation, some go as far as stealing to support their habit. The consequences of addiction are also felt by family and loved ones, especially when the addict is an important provider. 

Fortunately, psychotherapy treatments, prescribed medications and support groups such as Gamblers Anonymous can all assist with overcoming gambling addiction. Much like any other addiction, the first step is to open up to someone about having a problem, no matter how embarrassing it feels to admit weakness. 

Types of Gamblers

Understanding the different types of gamblers can help you understand when gambling habits are detrimental. Personality affects gambling habits and ultimately dictates what type of player you are, the games you prefer and the odds you’re comfortable with.

Whether you’re playing online poker or brick-and-mortar baccarat, knowing the five types of players can also give you an edge over opponents, particularly in skill-based games where the study of psychology and behavior are a crucial part of advanced strategies.

1. The Social Gambler

Social gamblers play the odds purely for recreational purposes. They enjoy the social aspects of betting games and tend to have a low risk of addiction. The social gambler can be an introvert or extrovert, a big spender or timid bettor, but they always know when to walk away and call it a day.

Casual social gamblers don’t bet often and gambling isn’t seen as a primary hobby. On the other hand, serious social gamblers make gambling their main pastime, similar to dedicated fans of traditional sports.

2. The Problem Gambler

Problem or compulsive gamblers suffer from gambling addiction. They lose complete control of their betting habits in a progressive downward spiral, crossing moral boundaries to get their “fix” and causing grief for those closest to them.

Many compulsive gamblers need help with underlying issues such as impulse control, genetic predisposition and other external factors contributing to their behavior. Pathological gambling is a psychological disorder and can only be treated effectively with the aid of medical professionals.

3. Relief Gamblers

Relief gamblers play betting games habitually for relief from stress. They have the highest chance of becoming addicts. In heightened states of vulnerability, these gamblers can easily fall into destructive habits. Playing to escape from the world isn’t a problem on its own, but it becomes an issue when gambling is used as a crutch to avoid processing feelings of depression, anger and anxiety.

4. Antisocial Gamblers

If a gambler is described as having an antisocial personality, it’s best to avoid all games they participate in. Antisocial gamblers try to make money illegally, engaging in match-fixing and other forms of cheating. They’re highly manipulative, can become aggressive when confronted and are no strangers to crime and illegal activities. Avoid these types of gamblers at all costs.

5. The Professional Gambler

Professional gamblers can earn a living from skill-based games. They dedicate countless hours to perfecting their skills, learning how to exploit weaknesses in opponents and studying all strategies to improve their chances of winning.

Most importantly, pro gamblers don’t rely on impulse and emotion when making decisions. They are patient enough to wait for a profitable opportunity and always limit the money and time they spend on gambling.

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Our BetMGM editors and authors are casino experts with a wealth of knowledge of the online casino industry at all levels. Their coverage includes company news, game reviews, how-to instructional articles, strategy guides, and editorials showcasing BetMGM’s superior product and game library.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are casino experts with a wealth of knowledge of the online casino industry at all levels. Their coverage includes company news, game reviews, how-to instructional articles, strategy guides, and editorials showcasing BetMGM’s superior product and game library.