Recovering from a gambling problem isn't easy. It takes hard work and a lot of encouragement. Many people with a gambling addiction can turn their lives around because of support from people close to them.
We can help you provide this support with information and tips specifically suited to your situation.
Identifying if someone close to you has a gambling problem
Gambling issues are often easy to hide. People who gamble compulsively may feel ashamed and fear being rejected. These factors combine to create considerable barriers to help-seeking and explain why some people deny the problem until the impacts are severe.
If your friend or family member is strugging with their gambling, he or she might:
- have long, unexplained absences from home, school, or work.
- withdraw from family and friends.
- seem anxious or distracted, or have difficulty paying attention.
- have mood swings, usually high when winning and lower when losing.
- get overly upset at the conclusion of sporting matches or online games.
- suddenly become secretive over money and finances or start to hide bank and credit card statements.
- display intense interest in gambling conversations.
- ask friends and family for money.
- have unexplained debts, or windfalls of cash or new items (like new clothes or jewellery).
- is always either short of money, or exceedingly generous.
- has money conflicts with other people.
You may notice that:
- money is missing from the house or from bank accounts.
- an increasing lack of money despite the same income and expenses.
- your family member takes on extra jobs, but you don't see any extra money.
- unexplained dwindling of savings and assets.
- jewellery or other valuables mysteriously disappearing and reappearing as they are pawned.
- your family member talks about gambling all the time.
- your family member defends gambling as a way to get money.
- Your family member may get secretive, defensive or even blame you for the need to gamble, telling you that it is all for you and you need to trust in the "big win someday."
I’m worried my friend or family member has a problem with gambling
Information on how to help your loved ones.Learn more
Ensuring that you’re in a good position, mentally and emotionally, to support
Steps to limit the impacts of your loved one’s gambling on you.Learn more
Understanding why people gamble
Understand how gambling can start and why it’s hard to stop.Learn more
Looking after your finances
Tips for partners, family and friends to protect your financesLearn more
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A close friend of mine looks back on a time in his life, just a few years ago, and it terrifies him. Gambling took him to a place where he was down and out. But courageously, he’s fought his way back.
Over the course of my career in basketball, I’ve seen two colleagues file for bankruptcy after having issues with gambling. Both of them were great guys and very successful before they lost relationships, careers, opportunities and great lifestyles.