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Moving from “Problem Gambler” to “Person with a Gambling Problem”

Published: January 3, 2022

With a new year upon us, Before You Bet wants to encourage a societal shift from saying “problem gambler” to “person with a gambling problem” to help those struggling feel heard and to end the stigma of problem gambling.

“Problem gambler” has been used for years, and while it does help explain the behavioral health condition, it can also come with negative connotations. For example, terms like “drug addict” or “degenerate gambler” carry the false notion that a mental health or addictive disorder is a core characteristic of someone or a moral failing, rather than being a disorder or illness. 

For these reasons, the responsible gambling industry has started to shift away from those common phrases. Instead, if people say, “person with a gambling problem,” it helps to distinguish that this is different than someone who has a diagnosable Gambling Disorder, an addictive illness. We can modify behaviors, but often need medical or clinical intervention to reach recovery from an addiction or mental illness.

There is still much to be done to break the stigma for those who struggle with problem gambling, but this shift in language change can be a significant step.

Here are some other ways you can help to foster progress in 2022:

  • Encourage your local media outlets to change how they discuss gambling and problem gambling with their audience members. 
  • If you’re a specialist in the field, the Before You Bet Media Kit has resources like Press Releases that can be utilized to help keep you updated on the latest developments in Problem Gambling news.
  • Even if you are not in the Responsible Gambling field, you can promote awareness of the issue in your everyday life through social media platforms and volunteering at local mental health treatment centers.

If you’re interested in learning more about problem gambling and how to keep gambling responsible for all, please visit

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