Which Types of Gambling Are the Most Addictive and Why?

Electronic gambling machines and Internet gambling are the most addictive types of gambling games out there. Learn more.

Electronic gambling machines and Internet gambling are the most addictive types of gambling games out there.

The first thing to consider when asking the question about the most addictive types of gambling is that not all gambling problems are created equal. Of the four different types of problem gamblers, the two that are possibly the most opposite in nature are the Action Gambler and the Escape Problem Gambler. The Action Problem Gambler tends to be drawn toward skill-focused games such as poker or blackjack, while the Escape Problem Gambler prefers to sit in front of a slot machine, alone. That being said, there are studies that show some types of gambling games to be more addictive than others. (learn more about: Types of Gamblers)

Types of Gambling That Can Lead to Addiction

Electronic Gambling Machines

According to Help Guide, electronic gambling games may be the most addictive gambling games out there. Help Guide suggests that gamblers who play using electronic machines become problem gamblers almost three times earlier than those who stick with table games and racetrack gamblers. The exact numbers are 1.08 years for an electronic machine gambler to become addicted, versus the 3.58 years that is average for table game and race track gamblers to become addicted.

The Illinois Institute for Addiction Recovery considers these types of gambling - slot machines and video poker - to be the "crack cocaine" of gambling. The Institute claims that it is their immediate gratification that makes video poker and slot machines so very addictive. Also, the Institute has found that gamblers progress much more quickly to the dangerous phases of gambling addiction when playing these electronic machines.

Internet Gambling

 Internet Gambling can be one of the easiest forms of gambling to hide from friends and family. In this type of gambling, gamblers can shut the door and erase their internet files to hide any evidence that they have been gambling online. Help Guide studied 389 gambling addicts who sought care at a health clinic. Only 31 participants reported that they were addicted to internet gambling, but these 31 were pathological gamblers. The study indicated that while internet gambling was the least common type of gambling noted, those who gambled on the internet were more likely to develop problematic gambling habits.


  • The Illinois Institute for Addiction Recovery
  • Help Guide

next: Phases of a Gambling Addiction
~ all gambling addiction articles
~ all articles on addictions

Last Updated: 20 June 2016

Reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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