Looking out for your children

When a parent has an issue with gambling, it can have a huge impact on their children. Studies have shown that children of people with gambling problems are far more likely to have gambling problems themselves later in life.

It is important to help children affected by gambling. Although they may not say anything, they can feel isolated, angry and depressed by what's happening at home.

In extreme cases, gambling may mean children:

  • don't have enough to eat
  • can't have new clothes or shoes when they need them
  • miss out on activities such as sport, school excursions, camps or music lessons
  • have trouble with their studies
  • have to take on more 'adult' responsibilities, such as looking after younger children
  • witness increased arguments and tension
  • experience family violence
  • experience family breakdown
  • experience homelessness.

To minimise the effect on children and to support them emotionally:

  • encourage them to talk freely about their feelings, but let them do this when they're ready to
  • assure them that they are not responsible
  • try to keep them engaged in family activities
  • try not to over-involve them in helping to solve financial and other problems caused by gambling
  • ensure they understand that the family may need to budget, but that they will be OK
  • don't put down the person with the gambling problem as this can be confusing – separate the person from the behaviour and acknowledge that the behaviour is bad, not the person.

We offer help and advice on how to monitor the wellbeing and development of children, so you can minimise the impact. Call Gambler's Help on 1800 858 858 to make an appointment with a counsellor.

Are you a young person concerned about someone's gambling?

If you're a young person and worried that a parent or someone close to you has a problem with gambling, you can call Gambler's Help Youthline on 1800 262 376 for advice and support.

We also have information specifically for young people who are worried about someone else's betting.

If you think you have a betting problem, we have information to help you with that too.

Are you a parent concerned about your teenager's betting?

Tackling gambling issues with your teenager can be difficult.

We can help with support and advice, and have specific information if you're concerned about your teenager's betting.

Getting help

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.

Find out more about the many ways to get help, including help for young people.

Support, advice, counselling

Read more about how we are putting families and friends at the forefront of our thinking in reducing harm caused by problem gambling.

Read the paper (PDF - 630 KB)