Playing with a Stacked Deck: Literature Review and Case Series of Problem Gambling in Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

  • Thomas ScheidemantelEmail author
  • Ashley Braun-Gabelman
  • Kristina Stefanac
  • Stephen Ruedrich
  • Margaret Kotz
Original Paper


Problem gambling (PG) is associated with significant personal and societal loss. These losses may be exacerbated when a person with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), who may not fully appreciate the inherent risks, engages in such behavior. Literature on this particular population is scarce, leaving the scientific community and treatment providers at a loss as to best practices. The present paper reviews three cases that illustrate common challenges faced by people with IDD and PG. Suggestions for effective prevention and treatment efforts are offered. Future directions include development of measures and instruments, with the eventual goal of effective prevention and treatment for this unique population.


Problem gambling Pathological gambling Gambling disorder Intellectual disability Cognitive impairment 


Authors’ Contributions

TS, KS, and SR provided case presentations, performed background literature searches, and contributed to the discussion portion of the manuscript. ABG and MK provided clinical expertise pertaining to the diagnosis and treatment of gambling disorders, as well as editorial revisions for the content of the manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

TS, ABG and KS have no conflict of interest to disclose. SR has current research grant support from the Alana Foundation and the Alzheimer’s Association, neither of which pose any actual or potential conflicts of interest with respect to the contents of this manuscript. MK reports funding for consulting with the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry as part of SAMHSA/CSAT Grant for the Provider’s Clinical Support System for MAT, which does not pose any actual or potential conflicts of interest with respect to the contents of this manuscript.

Ethical Approval

This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors. All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryUniversity Hospitals Cleveland Medical CenterClevelandUSA
  2. 2.Psychological & Psychiatric Consultants, LLC.BeachwoodUSA

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