Awareness and prevention
If you think someone close to you has a gambling problem, taking the first step to help them can be difficult. They may feel embarrassed or ashamed, or they may actually feel in control of their gambling and think they don't need to change.
People with gambling problems often aren't aware they are affecting others. Once they understand how much their gambling is hurting those close to them, many take their first steps towards getting help.
Deciding whether to say something isn't easy, and it can be complicated by the nature of your relationship. For example, you may be concerned about a friend's gambling, and not know if their partner or family are aware of it. You may wonder whether it's your place to say something.
While it's difficult, 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.
To help work out the best way to approach the conversation you can:
The best way to find out if someone has a gambling problem is to ask. Make sure you choose a time when you can talk in private and are both calm.
Gambling can be a huge stress on a family and relationships, so much so that in extreme cases it has been associated with domestic violence. Make sure you're going to be safe when you bring up gambling with the person you're concerned about.
Explain what you've noticed, why it concerns you and how it makes you feel. For example, you may have noticed that they:
It's very important to listen to what the person with the gambling problem has to say.
They may say very little or deny there's a problem as they aren't ready to talk. They may get angry and tell you to mind your own business. If they deny they have a problem or get angry, you can:
Often, people are relieved to finally talk about their gambling. An honest, non-confrontational discussion can be just what they need to get started on the road to recovery.
You could then look at:
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.