Type 2: The Casual Social Gambler
As the title suggests, this is someone for whom a bit of a flutter and a bit of a gamble is fun and just one of many hobbies and leisure activities. Casual social gamblers will rarely develop a problem – in fact; they might even look down on gamblers who can’t keep a check on themselves, those who chase their losses and end up in trouble. If the casual social gambler does develop an addiction, it will most likely be as a result of some unassociated traumatic event, or sometimes because of a big win.
But generally, social gamblers can be spotted by a few obvious habits:
- Maybe combining casino games with a meal or drink, to enhance the social experience
- Playing with friends and family, enjoying the thrill of the game as part of a day or night out – perhaps visiting the local casino when on vacation
- Choosing more social casino games, both off- and online, like roulette, craps or a Friday night poker game
The casual social gambler is like the social drinker, and playing cards or playing the tables for them is a great way to de-stress, meet new people and enjoy the thrill of maybe winning a few dollars.
Interestingly, one Canadian study found that the social aspect can be a very positive experience for older people with benefits, including:
- Social interaction
- Reduced loneliness
- Relief from boredom
- Improved memory
- Better hand-eye coordination
Type 3: The Serious Social Gambler
There are two distinct strands of thought on the serious social gambler: whether they sit between the professional and the casual social gambler, or whether they sit pretty much on the divide between fun and addiction potential. Whichever option, the real deciding factor seems to be whether the serious social gambler can keep a check on their winnings or losses. As well as keeping their habit in check – and maintaining a healthy balance between time spent in either land-based or online casinos and time spent on all the other aspects of life.
While the casual gambler will likely gamble infrequently and have lots of other hobbies, the serious social gambler turns to gamble as their sole entertainment form. As a coping strategy, the casual social gambler has many avenues open to help relieve stress, but the serious social gambler will always turn to the casino to help them cope. Most of the time, this type of gambler can control their habits, but a traumatic event, work stress, or relationships problems can disable their normal inhibitions and lead to problems. And sometimes, even if the player themself doesn’t see a problem, their family and friends may perceive them as an addict, due to the long hours spent on casino games.
Type 4: The Antisocial Gambler
Also known as ‘personality gamblers,’ these players operate on the illegal side of betting and playing, whether in land-based or online casinos. They’re unlikely to be found playing slots, table games, or card games, at least not in the traditional sense. While antisocial gamblers may not necessarily have a problem with addiction to gambling, per se, they may often have an antisocial personality disorder and a history of unlawful behaviour. The antisocial gambler spends their time fixing sporting events, such as soccer matches or horse races, and can also be found conducting private poker games where marked cards and sleight of hand are a common feature.
Anything illegal that’ll make them some money – that’s the antisocial gambler’s game of choice.
This person may not have or develop a gambling addiction, but their general personality traits mean they have some severe problems, such as:
- Superficial charm
- Lack of remorse
This is probably one type of gambler you’ll most likely want to steer well clear of.
Type 5: The Relief and Escape Gambler
This type of gambler uses games of luck or maybe games of strategy to fulfill an emotional need, as other vulnerable people might use alcohol or drugs – to deal with issues they aren’t equipped to verbalize. To them, the game has a therapeutic effect – or so it seems.
They’ll turn to the casino to try and cope with anxiety, depression, loneliness or other problems in their personal or professional lives. Their emotional turmoil means they’ll probably have a poor judgement, which, in turn, can lead to greater problems when ‘chasing’ – an indication of a potential slide into compulsion.
The escape gambler self-medicates, literally to ‘escape’ from psychological and emotional pain, usually playing luck games such as bingo, lottery, slots or keno machines. The Division of Problem Gambling in Arizona offers a helpful and detailed guide to four phases of problem gambling. The first two of these are highly relevant to the relief and escape gambler, including such symptoms as those listed below:
Several small – or even large – winning episodes
Emotional escape whilst betting
Possible feelings of excitement and living on the edge
Losing / Chasing phase
Losses rationalized as bad luck with a ‘big win’ around the corner
The cycle of winning, losing and breaking even begins
Hiding gambling activity
Unsuccessful attempts to stop or limit gambling
Playing til the last dollar is gone
Angry when confronted about behaviour
Feels remorse after playing
This sort of gambler will often quit once they’ve sorted out the emotional issues that led to unhealthy betting in the first place.
Type 6: The Compulsive Gambler
As the name suggests, this type of gambler has lost all control over their betting habits, prioritizing spending time in the casino over everything else in life: work, family, friends, the personal and the professional. These gamblers are classified as having a pathological disorder, and their whole self-worth is tied up with winning and losing.
Requiring professional treatment to overcome their addiction, Dr. Custer, in his study of gambling types, defined compulsive gamblers as people who: