15 Activities That Can Lead to Problematic Gambling Behaviors

Published 03/09/2017

A column sharing the expertise of FHR's diverse staff, comprised of over 600 employees across 8 states


March is National Problem Gambling Awareness Month, which aims to raise awareness and educate the public about the warning signs of problem gambling and promote the availability of help and hope nationwide.

While many are familiar with common types of gambling, like casino-style card games or lottery tickets, there are a number of other activities that could potentially lead someone to develop issues with gambling.

Our staff across eight states have created the following list of 15 activities that might lead to problematic gambling behaviors:

  1. Fantasy sports
  2. Lottery online
  3. Horse/dog racing
  4. Cell phone or tablet games, like Candy Crush
  5. Restaurant-gaming chains, such as Chuck E. Cheese and Dave & Buster’s
  6. Lottery scratch tickets
  7. Casino play - machines or tables
  8. Off-track betting
  9. Online sports betting, like FanDuel or Draft Kings
  10. General sports betting, like March Madness brackets or Super Bowl Squares
  11. Stock market
  12. Bingo
  13. Bets
  14. Card games, such as poker, Texas hold ‘em, High-Low-Jack
  15. Wagering on awards shows, pageants, or sporting events

The National Council on Problem Gambling has shared the Lie/Bet Questionnaire, a two-question screening tool for pathological gambling. The two questions were selected from the DSM-IV criteria for pathological gambling because they were identified as the best predictors of pathological gambling. It is useful in determining if a longer screening tool or further assessment is appropriate.

Lie/Bet Questionnaire:

  1. Have you ever had to lie to people important to you about how much you have gambled?
  2. Have you ever felt the need to bet more and more money?

“Yes” response to one or both items: further assessment is needed. Refer to problem Gambling Treatment.

“No” response to both questions: no referral necessary for Problem Gambling Services.


Additional Resources:

National Council on Problem Gambling 

Gamblers Anonymous 

Gam-Anon 

National Problem Gambling Helpline: (800-522-4700)


Words on Wellness is a series compiled of the thoughts of individuals and does not necessarily reflect the position or opinion of FHR. Some responses have been edited for length or clarity.