Problem and Pathological Gambling
The objective of this book is to provide the clinician - or graduate student - with essential information about problem and pathological gambling. After placing this behavioral addiction and its co-occurring difficulties in perspective, by describing its proliferation, the associated costs, and diagnostic criteria and definitions, the authors present detailed information on a strategy to assess and treat gambling problems in an outpatient setting.
Problem and Pathological Gambling
Description of Problem and Pathological Gambling
Gambling can be defined as any behavior involving the risk of money or valuable possessions on the outcome of a game, contest, or other event in which the outcome is at least partially determined by chance. There are many forms of gambling: purchasing lottery tickets, participating in sports pools, an evening at the casino, wagers on the golf course, or speculating on the futures and stock markets. Sometimes we actually call it gambling; other times we use terms that are less pejorative, such as gaming, investing, or a friendly wager.
A variety of terminology has been used to describe the degree to which individuals experience gambling-related problems. Some of these terms, such as compulsive gambling, reflect dated conceptualizations of the problem while others were adopted as early screening instruments were developed. Understanding this language can be difficult, particularly because many of the terms have been used inconsistently. We will return to this issue in Section 1.1.2 .
1.1.1 Gambling as Recreation
Gambling is available and acceptable
The study by Welte and colleagues (2002) has provided a great deal of information about the gambling behavior of those living in the U.S. As shown in Table 1 , individuals who have gambled in the past year wagered an average of $1,735 over 60 episodes during that year. While similar percentages of women and men gambled, interesting differences between the two emerge. Compared to women, men were more likely to gamble weekly, wager more frequently, and with more money. A smaller percentage of ethno-cultural minorities, compared to Caucasians, gambled, but if they did gamble they tended to gamble more often and spend more money. The percentage of respondents who gambled in the past year decreased with increasing age. However, the amount of money wagered per year did not change as age increased. Gamblers wagered with similar frequency and intensity regardless of age.
Purchasing lottery tickets (66%) was by far the most common form of gambling followed by raffles, charitable gambling, or office pools (48%). However the level of financial investment in these activities was considerably lower than for other forms of gambling. Twenty-seven percent of respondents reported casino gambling. Casino gamblers, racetrack bettors, and dice game players tended to expend larger amounts of money compared to those who engaged in other gambling activities. Interestingly, internet gambling was reported by less than one percent of the sample, although most believe that internet gambling is a growing market, and possibly a growing problem.
Past Year Gambling as Reported in the National Survey on Gambling Behavior, 1999 - 2000 ( N = 2630)
% Gambled weekly
Mean gambling episodes
Mean gambling involvement in U.S.$/yr.