Supporting a problem gambler

Often a gambling problem not only effects the gambler's life but also those around them. The effect of problem gambling on the family can be devastating, often leading to the breakdown of relationships.

Partners of problem gamblers frequently seek help for themselves as they find it hard to come to terms with their partner's behaviour, and at times blame themselves for not being able to help.

GamCare takes the needs of a friend or partner of a problem gambler as seriously as the those of the gambler, and answers a significant number of calls from people other than the problem gambler. Remember, our free counselling services are also available to those negatively affected by the gambling of someone close to them.

What Can You Do?

The points below may also give you some guidance:

  • Remember you are not the only family facing this problem
  • You may be able to help by talking the problem through, but it is probably better if you involve a skilled person outside the family
  • Keep in mind that it is a serious matter and gamblers cannot ‘just give up’
  • Take a firm stand. Whilst it might feel easier to give in to demands and to believe everything he or she says, this only allows them to avoid facing the problem
  • Leave the responsibility for the gambling and its consequences with them
  • Help them admit to it and to work at overcoming the dependency
  • Do not condemn them, as this is unhelpful and may drive them back to gambling. However, setting firm and fair boundaries to their behaviour is constructive
  • Do not trust them with money until the dependency is broken. If they agree, it is helpful to manage their money for a short period
  • Join our special Forum pages for partners and relatives or exchange experiences in our ChatRoom

Download our leaflet about Supporting a problem gambler

If you are the friend or relative of a problem gambler and would like to talk to someone about the impact their gambling has on your life, contact our advisers on NetLine or Helpline 0808 8020 133