How to help someone with gambling addiction
Recovering from a gambling problem isn't always easy. It can take 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.
Why do people gamble?
Generally, there are four main reasons why people gamble. These might help you understand how gambling can become addictive and why it’s hard to stop.Learn more
I’m worried about someone’s gambling
If you're concerned that someone close to you has a gambling problem, it's best to say something to them, sooner rather than later.Learn more
How to prepare yourself to support someone, mentally and emotionally
You might become preoccupied with loved one's gambling issue and ignore your own needs. Take steps to limit the impacts of your loved one’s gambling on you.Learn more
How to talk to someone about their gambling
The best way to find out if someone has a gambling addiction is to ask. Make sure you choose a time when you can talk in private and are both calm.Learn more
Looking after your finances
Online gambling is gambling you do on your phone or computer.Learn more
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 seeking help. And can explain why some people deny the problem until the impacts are severe.
If your friend or family member is struggling 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.
- 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 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. They may you that it is ‘all for you’ and you need to trust in the ‘big win someday.’
“You’re not alone and help is available.” Sunenna says many people think their story is unique, but there are lots of people fighting similar battles.
“You don’t need to keep it to yourself.” Chandana’s was shocked to find out about her partner’s gambling. She says that without the help of others, she could never have rebounded so quickly.
Real storiesSee full listing of stories
They saved a deposit to build a new house but had to use that money to pay off debts.
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.