The aim of this study was to explore the relations between gambling, brain emotion systems, personality, self/other perception, and hopelessness in an Italian community. Dimensions of gambling, positive and negative emotions, self/other perception, personality and hopelessness were assessed in a community sample of 235 adults aged 19–59 years. Two structural models were tested. We found a significant correlation between problem gambling and impulsivity, which in association with aggressivity and negative personality dimensions may help explain the psychopathology factor, i.e. a latent variable involving neurotic personality, hopelessness, high sensation seeking, low metacognitive responsiveness, and disorganized patterns of interpersonal relationships. These results contribute to develop a theoretical framework of gambling in relation with personality factors and provide a new approach for clinical intervention of problem gambling that relies on a solid multidimensional perspective.