Client and clinician-rated characteristics of problem gamblers with and without history of gambling-related illegal behaviors

Jennifer D. Ellis, Wayne State University
Jamey J. Lister, Wayne State University
Cara A. Struble, Wayne State University
Molly Caincross, Wayne State University and University of Windsor, Canada
Meagan M. Carr, Eastern Michigan University


Individuals with gambling disorder are at an elevated risk for engaging in gambling-related illegal behaviors. The present study examined client (N = 88) and clinician ratings (N = 30) of client characteristics associated with a history of gambling-related illegal behaviors. We also examined client characteristics associated with history of arrest for a gambling-related crime. Gambling-related illegal behaviors and arrest were common (57.3% and 23.9%, respectively) in the present sample. Clients of younger age, and those with greater gambling-related financial consequences, lifetime alcohol problems, impulsivity, mood symptoms, and daily living role difficulties were more likely to report gambling-related illegal behaviors. Clients who had been arrested for a gambling-related crime were more likely to report daily living and role functioning difficulties and lifetime alcohol problems. Clinicians rated clients with a history of gambling-related illegal behaviors and/or gambling-related arrests as more impulsive, and clinicians also endorsed higher rates of treatment failure among these clients. Both client and clinician report suggested that clients with a history of illegal behaviors may have a variety of comorbid problems that may be a focus of clinical intervention.