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Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI)

The Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI) is the standardised measure of at risk behaviour in problem gambling. It is a tool based on research on the common signs and consequences of problematic gambling. Assessing where your client is now can help you make informed decisions on how to assist them.

  • How does it work?

    The PGSI quiz asks participants to self-assess their gambling behaviour over the past 12 months by scoring themselves against nine questions. The response options attract the following scores:

    • never (score: 0)
    • rarely (score: 1)
    • sometimes (score: 1)
    • often (score: 2)
    • always (score: 3)
  • The categories are:
    • non-problem gambler
    • low-risk gambler
    • moderate-risk gambler
    • problem gambler.

    It is important to note that categorisation through the PGSI is not the same as clinical diagnosis, which requires assessment by a clinician.

    Screens similar to the PGSI are also used to investigate other health issues, such as alcoholism and anxiety.

  • What do the categories mean?

    Non-problem gambler - Score: 0

    • Non-problem gamblers gamble with no negative consequences.

    Low-risk gambler - Score: 1–2

    • Low-risk gamblers experience a low level of problems with few or no identified negative consequences. For example, they may very occasionally spend over their limit or feel guilty about their gambling.

    Moderate-risk gambler - Score: 3–7

    • Moderate-risk gamblers experience a moderate level of problems leading to some negative consequences. For example, they may sometimes spend more than they can afford, lose track of time or feel guilty about their gambling.

    Problem gambler - Score: 8 or above

    • Problem gamblers gamble with negative consequences and a possible loss of control. For example, they may often spend over their limit, gamble to win back money and feel stressed about their gambling.

Take your client through the PGSI quiz

  1. Have you bet more than you could really afford to lose?
  2. Have you needed to gamble with larger amounts of money to get the same feeling of excitement?
  3. Have you gone back on another day to try to win back the money you lost?
  4. Have you borrowed money or sold anything to gamble?
  5. Have you felt that you might have a problem with gambling?
  6. Have people criticised your betting or told you that you had a gambling problem, whether or not you thought it was true?
  7. Have you felt guilty about the way you gamble or what happens when you gamble?
  8. Has gambling caused you any health problems, including stress or anxiety?
  9. Has your gambling caused any financial problems for you or your household?
Please answer all questions.

You experience no issues with gambling.

You experience few, if any issues with your gambling.

You could be starting to experience some issues with your gambling.

You are experiencing issues with your gambling on a regular basis and it’s time to take action.

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