Misconceptions About Pathological Gamblers

7 min read
Cristina Varela Galan
Cristina Varela Galan
Problem Gambling Expert
Fact checked by:
Paruyr Shahbazyan
Last Updated: May 27, 2024, 3:16 PM

The Complex Reality of Pathological Gambling

A gambler down on his luck

In recent years, the understanding of pathological gambling has evolved significantly, yet it remains enveloped in misconceptions and stigma. Classified as a significant socio-sanitary issue, its prevalence is noted to be between 2 to 5% according to various surveys. This alarming statistic underscores the pervasive ignorance and societal stigma surrounding pathological gambling, leading to widespread public misconceptions that tend to minimize or rationalize the issue rather than addressing its core complexities.

Debunking the Myths: A Closer Look at Gambling Addiction

To dispel the myths and illuminate the true nature of gambling addiction, it's crucial to confront and correct the most common misconceptions.

Myth 1: Gambling is Merely a Vice

  • Contrary to the belief that gambling is a vice indicative of moral failure, it is in fact recognized as a mental health disorder. The distinction is critical, as it shifts the narrative from moral judgment to understanding and treating a psychological condition.

Myth 2: Gambling Cannot Lead to Addiction

  • The addictive potential of gambling is often underestimated. Like substance addictions, gambling addiction starts with the allure of positive reinforcement but becomes entrenched through the need to alleviate discomfort, leading to a profound psychological dependence.

Myth 3: Gamblers Willingly Choose Their Predicament

  • The progression into pathological gambling is not a choice. Initial engagement in gambling does not equate to a conscious decision to face financial ruin, social isolation, or self-deception. Understanding the psychological phases of gambling addiction is essential to recognize the involuntary descent into addiction.

Myth 4: Frequency of Gambling Determines Addiction

  • Addiction is not quantified by the frequency of gambling activities but by the psychological, physical, and social repercussions that denote an unhealthy dependency, regardless of how often one gambles.

Myth 5: Financial Loss is the Sole Indicator of Gambling Problems

  • The severity of gambling addiction is not exclusively measured by financial loss. The issue encompasses a range of emotional and psychological ramifications, transcending mere monetary concerns.

Myth 6: Gambling Issues Are Only Financial in Nature

  • Viewing gambling addiction as merely a financial dilemma overlooks the emotional turmoil and compulsion underlying the behavior, which persists even after financial debts are cleared.

Myth 7: Only the Irresponsible Fall Prey to Gambling

  • Gambling addiction does not discriminate by intellect or background; it can afflict anyone, challenging the notion that only those lacking responsibility or willpower are vulnerable.

Myth 8: Gambling Addiction Stems from Heredity or Mental Weakness

  • Attributing gambling behavior solely to hereditary factors or perceived mental frailties ignores the social and environmental influences that shape attitudes towards gambling, including societal glorification of quick wealth.

Promoting Responsible Gambling

At the core of Responsible Gambling is the belief that gambling, when approached with caution and awareness, can remain a harmless leisure activity. Adopting responsible gambling practices, such as setting financial and time limits, choosing legal platforms, and utilizing available gambling control tools, is crucial for maintaining safety and enjoyment in gambling pursuits.


Dispelling the myths surrounding pathological gambling is imperative for fostering a more compassionate and informed societal perspective. By addressing these misconceptions, we can pave the way for more effective prevention, intervention, and support strategies, ensuring that individuals struggling with gambling addiction receive the understanding and assistance they deserve.


Meet Our Authors

Paruyr Shahbazyan began his business career in 2000 as a private entrepreneur. Over thirteen years, he developed a deep understanding for business and leadership, laying a solid foundation for his professional journey.

In 2013, Paruyr stepped into the sports and betting industry as the founder and president of Bookmaker Rating. This online mass media platform, which he led until 2020, focused on providing in-depth analysis and insights in sports betting, earning a reputation for its quality content. 

Continuing his innovative approach in 2022, Paruyr co-founded Azuro, a decentralized betting protocol. This venture showcases his dedication to integrating advanced technology in the evolving landscape of sports betting. Through these diverse experiences, Paruyr has continuously influenced and shaped the betting industry, driving new trends and setting high standards.

Engaged in private entrepreneurship2000-2013
Founder and President at Bookmaker Rating, an online platform focused on sports and betting2013-2020
Co-founder at Azuro, a decentralized betting protocol2022

"Innovation in sportsbetting comes from a deep understanding of both technology and the human element of sports." 

- Paruyr Shahbazyan, Founder, RG


Principles and Ethics

Paruyr Shahbazyan's core beliefs lie in the power of informed decision-making and integrity in the betting industry. He understands that the foundation of successful betting is not just about odds and predictions, but also about the trust and reliability of the information provided. Paruyr advocates for a betting environment where transparency and knowledge are paramount, ensuring that bettors are well-equipped with accurate data and insights.

Strategic Vision

Paruyr's vision is to revolutionize the sports betting industry through the integration of technology. He sees the future of betting as a blend of traditional sports knowledge with innovative tech solutions, like decentralized protocols, to enhance user experience and fairness. His aim is to create platforms that are not only user-friendly but also uphold the highest standards of ethical betting, contributing to a more responsible and enjoyable betting culture.

Future Perspectives

Looking towards the future, Paruyr envisions a betting landscape that is more inclusive, technologically advanced, and globally connected. He anticipates a significant shift towards more decentralized and transparent betting systems, driven by blockchain technology. Paruyr is committed to being at the forefront of this change, continuously exploring new possibilities and innovations that can redefine what it means to engage in sports betting in a digital world. His focus is on building systems that prioritize user empowerment, fairness, and the global growth of the sports betting community.


Sol Fayerman-Hansen
Sol Fayerman-Hansen

Sol's interest in sports was sparked at a young age, inspired by athletes such as Barry Sanders, Michael Jordan, and Wayne Gretzky. This early fascination evolved into a deep-seated passion, guiding him toward a career in sports journalism in 2007. Over the years, Sol has contributed thousands of articles and reviews to dozens of online platforms, sharing his research, knowledge, and perspectives.

“In the world of sports betting, truth is more valuable than any bonus offer.”

Content Manager, OnlineCasinoReports2012-2021
Sports Journalist, Dottraffic2009-2011
Content Writer, HouseTech2007-2009
Cristina Varela Galan
Cristina Varela Galan
Problem Gambling Expert

Cristina used to work as a Psychology Assistant in the Bizkaia Pathological and Risky Gamblers Association. She was also part of a research team in Deusto University, specializing in pathological gambling area. While working there, she managed to develop her own project 

 “Exploring the association between emotional regulation, alexithymia, stressful life events and gambling in adolescent and young adult women”.

Nick Ashbourne
Nick Ashbourne
Senior Writer

Nick has been fascinated with sports since he was first taken to a Toronto Maple Leafs game back in 1998, and he's written about them professionally since 2014.

Nick has covered baseball and hockey for outlets like The Athletic, Sportsnet, and Yahoo Sports, and his sports betting expertise has grown since its legalization in Ontario in 2022. 

Between 2022 and 2023 he worked for a betting startup called NorthStar Bets, and in 2024 he contributed to Oddspedia before joining the Responsible Gambling team.

Anna Kravtcova
Anna Kravtcova
Problem Gambling Expert

Ph.D. in organizational psychology, an internationally certified psychologist (EuroPsy 2022, Cognitive behavioural therapy of mindfulness 2020, International Society for Emotional Intelligence 2017, Russian Psychological society 2014, American Psychological Association(Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychologist) 2011), speaker of many international conferences (USA, Brazil, Portugal, Czech Republic, Russia, etc.). TEDx speaker.

Mike made the decision to dive headfirst into the booming world of sports betting fresh out of college. Back in the day, when 1-800 pick lines and sports pagers were all the rage, he couldn't resist the allure, having grown up idolizing sports legends like Sweetness, MJ, and Slammin Sammy. Mike dedicated his early years to the industry, tirelessly analyzing games, writing articles with free picks, and selling his expertise on reputable handicapping sites. Unlike many others, Mike was known for his integrity and only released one Game of the Year per sport, per season. His hard work and unwavering commitment paid off, earning him a devoted following and propelling his career to new heights. Then came the explosion of Daily Fantasy Sports. Believe it or not, companies like DraftKings and FanDuel used to pay Mike's company to increase their brand exposure. Now, those same industry giants don't even bother responding to his emails. While Mike appreciates the convenience of being able to place legal bets in his own backyard, he can't help but feel disheartened by what has become of the industry. People are being led astray, falsely believing that a mere $5 wager on a 20-team same-game-parlay will be their ticket to financial security. If there’s one thing Mike learned from making book back in the day, it’s that parlays are a bookie’s best friend. A bankroll is the only leg you have to stand on in the battle with the books, and Mike’s here to offer up advice on how to protect it.

Mark Medina
Mark Medina
NBA Reporter

Mark Medina is a longtime NBA reporter that includes stints as a Lakers blogger with The Los Angeles Times (2010-12), Lakers beat writer with the Los Angeles Daily News (2012-17), Warriors beat writer with Bay Area News Group (2017-19) as well as an NBA reporter/columnist for USA Today (2019-21) and NBA.com (2021-23). Medina is also an NBA insider with Fox Sports Radio and frequent contributor to CBSLA's SportsCentralLA with Jim Hill and with Spectrum Sportsnet.

Daria Tuboltseva
Daria Tuboltseva
Hockey Journalist

Daria went to St. Petersburg State University and earned a bachelor of international journalism. Working as a sports journalist from 2014, from 2016 as a hockey journalist. Covered 5 World Championships, 2022 Winter Olympics, 2020 World Juniors, 6 Gagarin Cup Finals. 

Owner of a telegram channel Coolest Game on Earth.

Integrative nutritionist specializing on sports nutritionology.