It affects between 1 and 3% of adults, most often men. It is customary for men to start in adolescence and in women later. The addition to the game usually progresses from casual play to regular play. The will to play becomes so high that it causes a tension that is only relieved by the return to play. Increasing stakes and personal risks arise, as well as the neglect of other interests, family, and work.

Severe family problems, financial ruin, or criminal activity may occur to sustain the game. The cause for this behavior is not yet known. One of the frequent risk factors is alcohol abuse that has a disinhibiting effect and alters the rationale.


  • Continue the game, regardless of whether you are losing or winning, until you lose all money or end game
  • Play until you accumulate big debts
  • Lack of consideration for social expectations or law
  • Illegal or criminal behavior for payment of debts

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