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Screening and assessment tools are used as part of an ongoing, collaborative process between client and counsellor to determine whether a problem exists and the degree of severity and impact.​

Clipboard with screener 
Gambling, Gaming & Technology Use
Knowledge Exchange


Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI)

The PGSI is an abbreviated version of the original tool called the Canadian Problem Gambling Index, consisting of nine items rather than 31. Clients can use it as a self-assessment tool, or you can use it as part of your screening process.

​The original 31-item tool, which measures gambling involvement, problem gambling behaviour and consequences, was initially developed to measure the prevalence of gambling and problem gambling in the general population. Research is currently being done to test its use with a treatment population.

The Gambling Quiz​ is an online version of the PGSI, and a ​​PDF version is downloadable below.

​​Problem Gambling Severity Index​ - English

​​Problem Gambling Severity Index​ - French

​DSM-5 Diagnostic Criteria: Gambling Disorder

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Version 5 (DSM-5) is the primary system used to classify and diagnose mental health disorders.

The criteria for "Gambling Disorder" in the DSM-5 are listed below.

  1. Persistent and recurrent problematic gambling behaviour leading to clinically significant impairment or distress, as indicated by the individual exhibiting four (or more) of the following in a 12-month period:
    1. Needs to gamble with increasing amounts of money in order to achieve the desired excitement.
    2. Is restless or irritable when attempting to cut down or stop gambling.
    3. Has made repeated unsuccessful efforts to control, cut back or stop gambling.
    4. Is often preoccupied with gambling (e.g., having persistent thoughts of reliving past gambling experiences, handicapping or planning the next venture, thinking of ways to get money with which to gamble).
    5. Often gambles when feeling distressed (e.g., helpless, guilty, anxious, depressed).
    6. After losing money gambling, often returns another day to get even (“chasing” one’s losses).
    7. Lies to conceal the extent of involvement with gambling.
    8. Has jeopardized or lost a significant relationship, job or educational or career opportunity because of gambling.
    9. Relies on others to provide money to relieve desperate financial situations caused by gambling.
  2. The gambling behaviour is not better explained by a manic episode.
  3. Specify if:
    Episodic: Meeting diagnostic criteria at more than one time point, with symptoms subsiding between periods of gambling disorder for at least several months.
    Persistent: Experiencing continuous symptoms, to meet diagnostic criteria for multiple years.

    Specify if:
    In early remission: After full criteria for gambling disorder were previously met, none of the criteria for gambling disorder have been met for at least 3 months but for less than 12 months.
    In sustained remission: After full criteria for gambling disorder were previously met, none of the criteria for gambling disorder have been met during a period of 12 months or longer.
    Specify current severity:
    Mild: 4–5 criteria met.
    Moderate: 6–7 criteria met.
    Severe: 8–9 criteria met.​

Learn more about Gambling Disorder in the DS​M-5​.

Source: American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.). Washington, DC: Author. [Refer to section 312.31]

Inventory of Gambling Situations (IGS)

The IGS is a treatment planning ​and/or relapse prevention tool developed by researchers at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. Learn more about the IGS.



The NODS-CLiP is a three-question assessment tool that is effective in identifying people who have gambling problems. If one or more of the three questions is answered with a "yes," the person may have a problem with gambling, which then needs to be further explored (e.g., using the PGSI). Learn more about the NODS-CLiP.