The theory that a pathological gambler in recovery must completely abstain
from all gambling. Abstinence is the goal of Gamblers Anonymous and
most, though not all, treatment professionals.
The term most commonly used by the public to describe someone with a
gambling disorder, but generally rejected by the therapeutic community
in favor of pathological gambling. The term disordered gambling is also
A theory of treatment for pathological gambling in which the patient
is allowed to gamble on a limited basis. Controlled gambling currently
has few adherents in North America but is somewhat more popular overseas.
A term coined by Howard Shaffer, Matthew Hall, and Joni Vander Bilt
in 1997 to encompass the range of pathological, problem and excessive
gambling. In their lexicon, level 1 of disordered gambling includes
those with no gambling problems, level 2 includes people with gambling
problems who do not meet the criteria for pathological gambling, while
level 3 includes pathological gamblers.
A fellowship for the families of pathological gamblers with chapters
throughout North America.
An international network of groups for people attempting to recover
from pathological gambling. Gamblers Anonymous is a 12-step program
modeled after Alcoholics Anonymous. Local chapters provide fellowship
in which people share their experiences, support, and hopes in order
to stop gambling.
A chronic inability to resist the impulse to gamble. The term is usually
limited to cases where the gambling causes serious damage to a person's
social, vocational, or financial life. Often referred to as compulsive
gambling and less frequently as disordered gambling, it is considered
by most to be an impulse control disorder. It is not synonymous with
Gambling activity that causes difficulty for the individual but does
not meet the standards for pathological gambling. Sometimes referred
to as "at-risk," "in-transition" or "potential
pathological" gambling, though it is not known at what rate problem
gamblers become pathological gamblers. Referred to by Shaffer, Hall
and Vander Bilt (1997) as level 2 of disordered gambling.
One who gambles as a way to make part or all of their living. Often
confused with pathological gamblers, professional gambling is characterized
by limited risks, discipline, and restraint, items all lacking in the
pathological gambler. Professional gambliers wager on games with skill
elements rather than games of chance, and wait to bet until the odds
are more in their favor. Professional gamblers can, however, lose control
and exhibit chasing behavior, at which time they become problem or pathological
Gamblers who exhibit few or none of the difficulties associated with
problem or pathological gambling. Social gamblers will gamble for entertainment,
typically will not risk more than they can afford, often gamble with
friends, chase losses briefly, gamble for limited periods of time, and
are not preoccupied with gambling. Synonymous with recreational gambling.
Level 1 on Shaffer et al's typology of disordered gambling.
thanks to the North American Association of State & Provincial Lotteries
for compiling the above definitions and terms.