Does someone you care about have an issue with gambling?
When people you love develop a problem with gambling it can often feel like it’s your problem too. Understanding what the gambler is going through and why they gamble can be difficult, but we can help. Helping support you is as important as helping the person who is gambling.
We provide support to anyone affected by gambling, not just gamblers. You can get help for yourself and your family by calling us on (03) 5337 3333 or 1800 858 858 (after hours). Alternatively you can CONTACT US.
How do you know if there is an issue?
People gamble for many reasons – for excitement, the thrill of winning or to be social. Gambling becomes an issue when it causes harm to the gambler and those close to them. Usually this means they are spending more money or time on gambling than they can afford.
How do you know if someone has a problem with gambling?
Apart from losing money, problem gambling affects a person's whole life and the lives of those close to them. If you're concerned about someone, some signs to look out for are
- unexplained debt or borrowing
- money or assets disappearing
- numerous loans
- unpaid bills or disconnection notices
- lack of food in the house
- losing wallets or money regularly
- missing financial statements
- secret bank accounts, loans or credit cards
- moodiness, unexplained anger
- decreased contact with friends
- family complaints about being emotionally shut out
- avoidance of social events
- control or manipulation by threat, lies or charm
- secretiveness about activities
- disappearing for amounts of time that they cannot account for
- having no time for everyday activities
- overusing sick days and days off
- spending increased amounts of time on studying gambling
- taking an unusual amount of time for tasks (for example, taking two hours to get milk from the corner store).
How to get help
As a person without a problem you might find it hard to understand why the person with the gambling problem doesn’t just stop. The reasons why people gamble vary and while you might try lots of ways to get them to stop, you can’t control another person’s behaviour.
What you can do is make it clear that they need to get help, that there is help available and it does work.
Looking after yourself and your family
Friends or family members of people who gamble can feel isolated but there are ways you can look after yourself and your family. Gambler’s Help services are available to friends and family of gamblers.
Protect your assets
For many people, the first sign someone you love has a problem with gambling is when money troubles emerge. We have some practical strategies for protecting your assets when someone you care about has an issue with gambling.