Help for degenerate gamblers

Whether you’re gambling or want to help a degenerate gambler, this is a guide for you. We know you’re in a tough spot and want to do our best to get you the support you need. 

Image of degenerate gambler and other gambling terms
Terms of gambling that can be harmful

What does degenerate mean?

In essence, degenerate means that a person has lowered their standards of intelligence and morals. Compulsive behavior characterizes the person to continue doing something, no matter the cost.

So what does it mean to be a degenerate gambler? First, a degenerate gambler is another word for a compulsive gambler or gambling addict. A degenerate gambler could bet on anything. In our article about the gambling addiction curve, the final stage of the curve describes a degenerate gambler well.

  • The next bet controls every aspect of the person’s life.
  • The person lies to people around him.
  • The person borrows money everywhere to finance his gambling.
  • Gambling isn’t fun anymore; it’s part of compulsive behavior.

Degenerate gamblers often go one step further; they often engage in crime to finance their gambling addiction. According to a study (Zorland J, Mooss A, Perkins, 2008), about half of the people experiencing gambling problems have committed crimes.

In the movie Goodfellas with Robert De Niro, there is a scene with a characteristical degenerate gambler.

Scene from the movie Goodfellas

Definition of a degenerate gambler

In the Swedish podcast “Framgångspodden” by Alexander Pärleros, a Swedish compulsive gambler describes his gambling story. He went from being a highly trusted citizen with a well-paid job, a fancy car, and many friends to a degenerate gambler, committing fraud on his friends to finance his gambling. How is that possible?  

A common misconception is that degenerate gamblers continue gambling to recover their lost money. But according to escape theory, addiction is more driven by trying to escape than to win back money. On, we work on the premise that pain is the cause of addiction, and gambling is one way to escape it. We would use a similar definition of a degenerate gambler as for gambling addiction.

We define gambling addiction as: If a person who experiences pain gets an urge to gamble, they are a gambling addict.

As part of the podcast story, the compulsive gambler explains how his gambling completely changed after a car accident. The accident changed his life, and he could no longer work as he had done before. Gambling became an escape, a refuge from the pain.

How to help a degenerate gambler

If you’re trying to support a degenerate gambler, we recommend you read our: How to help a gambling addict guide. It’s an extensive guide full of tips and tools that we believe you’ll find helpful. One of the keys is to focus on yourself first to avoid falling into a co-dependence.

Suppose you want to stop gambling and create a change in your life. We want to support you as much as possible. Change can only come from you, but it’s easier if you have a good support network. In our community, you’ll find 100s of people with similar experiences. From today, you’re not alone anymore.

To break free from addiction, the first step is understanding what the habit is doing for us. It begins by answering the following questions:

  1. What happens when you gamble?
  2. Does it create a moment of peace when nothing else matters?
  3. Could that be the reason it’s so hard to quit?

We believe pain is the cause of addiction, so understanding how gambling affects us and what happens when we gamble is vital. To help you, we’ve developed a test called “The Happiness Test”. It’ll not tell you if you have gambling problems. That, you probably already know. Instead, the test will give you an indication of what causes pain in your life. Maybe, that can help explain why gambling is so attractive to you.

If you want to break free from degenerate behavior, working on its causes will be easier than just trying to change the behavior from one day to another. Our free video courses help our members work with themselves to decrease or transform their pain. For instance, do you think you’d gamble less if you didn’t feel stressed, lonely, or bored?

No matter which way you choose for your recovery, we wish you all the best. Good Luck!


  1. Zorland J, Mooss A, Perkins A. Gambling and offending: An examination of the literature. Georgia State University Gambling Project 2008.
  2. Read more about the movie on Wikipedia.
  3. Framgångspodden Epidsode 240 – Lukas Betting lost $1.5M
Founder of QuitGamble Anders Bergman
Anders Bergman
Founder of, responsible for all content on the platform. He is a dedicated problem solver, with 4 years of…more about Anders