For family and friends: supporting a loved one

Are you concerned someone you love has a gambling problem?  While there are no hard and fast rules, here are a few clues to look for:

  • is your loved one secretive about where they’ve been spending time?
  • are they secretive about their finances?
  • do they collect the mail and prevent you from seeing bills?
  • have you noticed money missing from shared accounts, or elsewhere?
  • do they sometimes ask to borrow money and can’t give a good reason as to why?

If this sounds familiar, it might be time to start a conversation and offer support.  It can be hard, but here are some tips on how to get started.

Reaching out is a sign of strength

Starting a conversation

For many people, dealing with it on their own is a sign of ‘being strong’. But the truth is it takes courage to reach out for help.  Encouraging your loved one to openly discuss their gambling can be an essential part of their journey to recovery.

So, how do you start the conversation?

  • Leave brochures about gambling and gambling treatment around the house.
  • Regularly and patiently let them know that you’re willing, able and interested to talk to them
  • Ask open questions: “What’s been going on for you? Is there anything I can do to help?”
  • Talk about gambling in a more general sense. For example: “I’ve been doing some reading about problem gambling lately.”
  • Avoid sounding judgemental or critical.

These discussions can be difficult and require time and patience, but you don’t have to do it on your own.  

Gambling Help is a free service available 24 hours a day, seven days a week for families and friends of people with gambling problems. You can:

There are also helpful videos on our YouTube channel like our “You’re Stronger Than You Think” video, which is all about the importance of getting help for gambling problems.

YouTube channel