Awareness and prevention
Many people with gambling problems take their first steps towards getting help when they understand the effect their gambling is having on others.
One of the very first steps to recovery is talking about it.
If someone close to you has a gambling problem, an honest, non-confrontational conversation may be just what they need to get started on the road to recovery.
Once you've opened up the conversation, there are many practical ways you can help someone with a gambling problem. Together you can talk about what might work and put actions in place.
To begin with, you could:
Because everyone's circumstances are different, the tips below may work for some people but not for others. It's a good idea to speak with a professional counsellor when considering the best approach for you and the person you're concerned about.
It's likely the person you're concerned about has difficulty handling money when gambling opportunities exist. You could:
You may also need to protect your own money. If necessary:
The person with a gambling problem may ask you to give or lend them money. If you give them financial help, make sure they get counselling help as well. Be clear that loans must be paid back, even if it's only a small amount each week.
You can call Gambler's Help on 1800 858 858 to talk to a financial counsellor. Financial counsellors can help with:
One way to support someone with a gambling problem is to help them avoid places where they may be tempted to gamble.
In Australia people can ban themselves from visiting a venue or from betting on gambling websites. This is called self-exclusion. You can help the person with a gambling problem exclude themselves from clubs, pubs or TABs, or from placing a bet online. Read more about self-exclusion.
It's helpful to try to replace someone's gambling with other activities they enjoy. Think about when they gamble and suggest other fun or social activities, like going to the movies or having a meal together.
Looking after yourself and keeping active is also a good idea for anyone supporting a person with a gambling problem.
For more information about getting help if someone close to you has a gambling problem, see:
You can also call Gambler's Help on 1800 858 858 or Gambler's Help Youthline on 1800 262 376 for free, confidential, professional advice and support. These phone lines are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
If you would like to chat live with a counsellor online, visit gambling help online. This service is also available 24/7.