The National Centre for Social Research, acting on behalf of the UK Gambling Commission has completed a study of 43 gamblers designed to "provide further insight into participants' gambling behaviour" and, where relevant, "to explore the downsides of gambling".
One of the more interesting findings of the researchers is that gamblers fall into four distinct categories when it comes to thoughts and actions, and that the current broad division of gamblers into "non-problem" and "problem" classifications is insufficient.
Accordingly, the study suggests four classifications: peripheral gamblers, gambling enthusiasts, business gamblers or compulsive gamblers.
* Peripheral gamblers bet infrequently and do not necessarily view their actions as gambling. Motivation is something other than the gambling itself  e.g. social  experience or to get a large win from a small outlay.
* Gambling enthusiasts bet frequently but feel no compulsion to do so. They view betting as a fun activity and are motivated by the desire to outsmart bookmakers.
* Business gamblers see betting as a business rather than a hobby or leisure pursuit.
* Compulsive gamblers,  spurred on by a sense of escapism, have a powerful internal drive to punt. Gambling can become a central and controlling feature of their life.