Purpose and hypotheses: the objective of this study was to describe the cognitive distortions and the incidence of structural characteristics in PMU (horseracing) punters. Structural characteristics of horseracing punters were correlated with the degree of severity of gambling. Punters presented cognitive distortions that were correlated with structural characteristics. Method: horseracing punters were recruited from PMU points of sale, Parisian region racetracks and public places. They were evaluated by using the South Oaks gambling screen (SOGS), the Gambling related cognition scale (GRCS) and a questionnaire measuring the incidence of structural characteristics among horseracing punters, corresponding to gambling-inherent properties likely to encourage punting or betting. Results: in a group of 100 horseracing punters, detected by means of the SOGS, 45 were recreational gamblers, 43 were problem gamblers and 12 were probable pathological gamblers. A positive correlation of 0.27 was observed between SOGS and structural characteristics. Horseracing punters presented strong adhesion to "predictive control", "hope related to gambling" and "perceived inability to stop gambling" cognitive distortions, related to "gambling" and "educational" characteristics. Discussion: the structural characteristics of horseracing punters are relevant to the study of pathological gambling and have a probable impact on the degree of severity of gambling. Links were observed between certain structural characteristics and certain cognitive distortions in the addiction process.