Volume 34, Issue 2 (March 1989)
Compulsive Gambling and the Expert Witness
Compulsive gambling is a mental disorder which affects an estimated 3% of the adult population of the United States. This psychological addiction is often associated with other addictive behaviors and with criminal activities.
Attorneys and judges have only minimal training in understanding mental disorders. Few know the differences in types of gamblers, understand the nature and progression of the disorder, or know the types of crimes committed by compulsive gamblers; nor are they aware of treatment options.
The expert witness must not only evaluate the defendant, but must also educate the defense and prosecuting attorneys, probation and parole officers, and the judge. In this regard, the expert must consider factors binding upon the legal and judicial systems, the potential for restitution for the victims, and treatment options for the compulsive gambler.
Guidelines and frequent problems encountered by the compulsive gambling expert witness are included.