Journal of Gambling Studies

, Volume 31, Issue 4, pp 1799–1818 | Cite as

What’s in a Name? Assessing the Accuracy of Self-identifying as a Professional or Semi-Professional Gambler

  • Nerilee Hing
  • Alex Russell
  • Alex Blaszczynski
  • Sally M. Gainsbury
Original Paper

Abstract

Growing interest in pursuing a professional gambling career has been accompanied by a rise in individuals self-identifying as professional gamblers. Whether this trend reflects an actual increase in individuals sustaining livelihoods from gambling or inaccurate appropriation of a now glamorized identity is unclear. Adopting a self-image of professional gambler in the absence of ability to earn a sustainable income from the activity may increase risk of problem gambling and deter help-seeking. However, extent of problem gambling in this cohort is uncertain. This study aimed to: (1) determine any differences that might validate the self-reported identity of professional and semi-professional gamblers by investigating characteristics and behaviors that distinguish them from amateur gamblers; and (2) identify characteristics and behaviors that distinguish between self-identified semi-professional/professional gamblers with and without gambling problems. In an online survey of 4,594 Australian gamblers, 1.2 % identified as professional gamblers, 6.8 % as semi-professional gamblers, and 92.0 % as amateur gamblers. Self-identified professional and semi-professional gamblers were distinguished from amateur gamblers by preference for skill-based gambling, higher reported likelihood of winning, and greater use of online gambling and multiple online operators. Two-fifths of professional and three-fifths of semi-professional gamblers scored as moderate risk or problem gamblers, but negative consequences were more likely personal, interpersonal and work/study related, rather than financial. Although results support the general accuracy of self-reported semi/professional gambling status, measures are needed to help semi/professional gamblers distinguish whether their gambling is a problem or profession.

Keywords

Professional gamblers Semi-professional gamblers Self-identity Self-image Problem gambling Internet gambling 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nerilee Hing
    • 1
  • Alex Russell
    • 1
  • Alex Blaszczynski
    • 2
  • Sally M. Gainsbury
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Gambling Education and ResearchSouthern Cross UniversityLismoreAustralia
  2. 2.Gambling Treatment Clinic and ResearchThe University of SydneySydneyAustralia

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