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My 22 year old daughter has been gambling for the last couple of years. She dropped out of uni and started working in bars and moved in with a boyfriend who introduced her to casinos and that's when the problems really started. She was always short of money even though she was working. We did help her out not realising that she had a gambling problem. It did eventually come to light that she was in a lot of debt with payday loans and was struggling to pay her rent. Once again we bailed her out and this has continued over the last few years as she was a very convincing liar. (still is). It eventually came to a head last year as she stole a lot of money from her dads bank account and also my paypal account. We were devastated and it all came out that she was gambling online and had been doing it for a long time. She decided to leave her boyfriend as she felt the relationship was contributing to her depression and gambling. She lost so much weight and looked ill. We promised to help her and she moved back home. All was going well for a little while. Her weight improved she looked healthy again, was working in a nice restaurant. Then she began asking for money now and again sometimes paying it back and sometimes not. She stopped paying bills like her phone, car insurance etc. Along came the mood swings and the compulsive lying (and she is good at it) until it eventually came to a head. Again we bailed her out on the understanding she got counselling. She went through 6 weeks of  counselling and seemed happy and bubbly, but during that last week of counselling she lost her job (zero hour), then lockdown came into force and she started stealing to fund her gambling by selling items and not posting them in order to get money. Which is a completely different level and we are devastated by it. Turning to crime is beyond what we can cope with. We have bailed her out again refunding what she took but I am struggling to know where I go with this because its as if she doesnt care about the enormity of what she has done. Then she breaks down in tears saying she hates herself for what she is doing to us. I said i need to take control of her bank account so I can see what is going on but she refuses and I end up telling her that i will have no option but to get the police involved. She has threatened to take her life when she is pushed into a corner and I am terrified that if I go down the tough route she will do it. Has anyone got any advice as i am really struggling with how best to deal with her. She has bled us dry financially. I feel that I have lost my lovely daughter. 

Posted : 24th May 2020 3:03 pm


I am sorry. It must be very distressing. As a recovering gambler first thing  I would say is to stop all money. Only bear necessities like food and travel should be accepted. Administer her accounts if you can and if she will let you. Try and get her to come on here and chat or call up the hotline. Gambling addiction goes hand in hand with depression. You will need counselling for her so she can deal with both. Recovery is an awakening and it is about taking small steps. You don't eat this whale in any other way but one piece at the time.

All the best



Posted : 24th May 2020 8:53 pm

Hi SD.

I feel for you but with the right advice you will be in a better position to help her.

Your daughter is a drug addict for gambling. She is an addict out of control and she needs help.  She is very ill ,totally off the rails and ultimately its the cry for help from a lost soul. That boyfriend did her no favours and she has become hooked on  a dangerous addiction

However this will mean no more Bail outs...NO MORE! and you are going to have to show a new form of tough love. Its a difficult one but you are going to have to confront it and set strict boundaries.

Its not your fault but you have been bailing an addict...her addiction will have seen that as  a green light and safety net to continue gambling...she is not doing it with an evil laugh she cant help herself and is only harming herself. Just like an eating disorder or drug addiction it is a serious mental illness of escape from reality behaviour

Its a form of self harm for the lonely depressed jaded lost disenfranchised souls

She needs reality checks and one of those is she is going off to a gamblers anonymous meeting. She needs humility and spirituality. she needs to be ready to reach out for help to cure an illness.

No more selling on line and I'm afraid that you are going to have to lock away any precious jewellery etc. I'm not saying she is inherently bad and with the right help you can get your lovely daughter back.

I know you want to let her stay there but you will need to confront the situation more and never be a shrinking violet. She needs reality checks that you love her and she also needs reality checks that she needs to change her ways and the help is out there.

The gambling must stop and im afraid that means the possible removal of her gadgets...yes so hard to do with a young person.

Now part of me thinks a talk from the police may be a shock and awe tactic she needs but that is a fine line to tread. That cant be taken off the table

The addiction has already made her commit levels of fraud and theft. That is understandable but it doesnt make it right.

She needs you love moral support and a born again moment. I dont know your relationship and she may be going through the angry young woman phase because she cant compute.

When she finds a peace of mind the spirituality will flow. When she begins to understand this addiction she will find strength through knowledge.

A GA meeting may well be good for her. try and talk to her and talk everything through as calmly as possible

Deep breaths because you may need counselling over this but you have to start again with more knowledge and advice which will give you strength.

Its not your fault but you are along for the ride. It is an addiction that can be made history and you are in the right gamcare again and keep asking us questions

Best wishes from everyone on the forum

Posted : 24th May 2020 10:08 pm

Oh and you have to be a proactive as you can.

That mean getting her name out there and warning your daughter that secrets are no good for her you will oversee exclusions and warn gambling dens that they face legal action of they allow your daughter to sign up online or go anywhere locally. Its about saving her life and any quality of life for all of you

Only you know the relationship and how you can deal with this most effectively.

One thing I do know is that is that you have to try. Ultimately its her decision...I suppose a worst case scenario is if she abandons you and goes away to continue gambling

You sound like really good parents though and she would do well to start to realise what is good for her

Best wishes from everyone on the forum

This post was modified 4 months ago by Joydivider
Posted : 24th May 2020 10:22 pm

Thank you all so much for taking the time to reply to my post and your advice. 

We did confront our daughter yesterday about her behaviour , why she does it, how she feels etc. For the first time in a long time she really opened up to us and said she just wants to stop it. She hates herself for what she is doing to herself and our family. She said its like she has learnt to shut out her emotions because when she really thinks about what she is doing its unbearable. I told her that she is now at rock bottom there are no more bail outs and I told her we can either go down the path of getting the police involved and let her deal with the consequences herself or she can have the full support of her family with strict conditions. We have took away all her gadgets including her phone. If she wants to text friends she does it sat with us. She has to continue with her counselling but needs to be totally honest. We make an appointment together to visit the doctor  to see what other help is out there and wether or not she needs antidepressants. I take control of her bank account so I can see what is going in and out. In addition to her paypal account. She actually agreed to it all and said she just wants to get better which surprised me. She confided that she has lots of debt but honestly doesn't know how much because she just ignores it and doesn't open any letters. So we spent yesterday opening a lot of old and recent letters together and her debts total just under £7,000. I told her that we will deal with consolidating those debts so that she can manage to pay back but it wouldn't be something we would be paying for. Its her responsibility. She said just by opening and putting those letters in order is like a huge weight off her shoulders as her debt is bad but not as bad as she thought it was going to be. Lots more conversations went on yesterday and she was very open about her feelings and the shame she feels. I am still being cautious as I know she can be a good liar but somehow it does feel like we may have got through to her. Its going to be a long road of counselling and joining meetings but its a start that she seems to be onboard with.

This post was modified 4 months ago by SD103516
Posted : 25th May 2020 10:23 am

Thats excellent.

She should be feeling a huge sense of relief and even serenity that people are helping her...a trouble shared and all that.

She should be informed that there is no shame in admitting everything and she is not the only one to have this addiction.

There are DROs (debt relief orders) through the CAB but the main priority is her mental health. There is no point letting debt worry herself too much and your help will be invaluable to her. In that way she is so lucky to have caring people close to her as some gamblers do not

As you will now learn about this addiction more its less to do with the money and more about the hit of a risk drug of playing. Its an escape drug people get hooked on

If you keep talking and tell her you love her, your moral support will be invaluable.

Through this you are just looking for signs of how she is dealing with it. If she can be open and honest with her feelings that is more than half the battle. You are looking for a person that thrives on this new spirituality and doesn't get sullen or reticent.

So much to do in life and give happiness to others. She needs a humility and spirituality to guide the way

With the right mindset she should feel a pride in trying to prove herself again. However she should not want your full trust again and there is no room for complacency ever again really.

You have to firmly realise that she may always be vunerable in the wrong set of circumstances. If she feels anxious and alone with a load of cash in her pocket it could always be a trigger point...the mind does heal strongly with a proper recovery though

Gambling was never the answer to how she feels in her soul. If she can talk to you about her hopes and fears in life that can often shine a light on any real issues

Best wishes from everyone on the forum

This post was modified 4 months ago 2 times by Joydivider
Posted : 25th May 2020 6:28 pm

Thank you so much for your response. It is really helping me to know that there is support out there and great advice. Thankyou x

Posted : 25th May 2020 7:10 pm

with all due respect i think you need to be extremely cautious with how you deal with this from here on in

you have already made the mistake of financially bailing her out multiple times,

this is the WORST thing you can possibly do for an addict because theres no lesson learnt 

i was in around 10k of debt when i called it a day on compulsive gambling its taken me 5 years to settle that debt i make my last payment next month its been a tremendous learning curve and far from straight forward but without that struggle and debt i never would have been able to see the damage gambling caused 

you have to start making her take responsibility for her actions or you will keep repeating the same cycle over and over 


Posted : 25th May 2020 9:58 pm

Yes you are right but we have covered that GMTB and SD now knows not to throw good money after bad.

To be fair most families and partners of gambling addicts just want to ease the financial pain when they are confronted by sobbing distraught gamblers feeling desperately sorry for themselves.

Yes I know that addicts will often lie commit fraud and put on crocodile tears. I have always said that the majority of problem gamblers are not inherently bad...they are just looking for the easiest and quickest options in the face of the consequences.

I dont know of any gamblers that do it with an evil laugh thinking they will get one over on their family.  I defrauded my parents with lies...maybe I saw them as too much of a soft option but I didnt really want to hurt them. I was very ill and deeply addicted

Helping someone does require caution and some grey areas. The gambler has to accept responsibility for the debt and it has to be faced with as little drama as possible or they are just going to panic into more mental stress.

There is help and financial advice. Ive been a credit controller and worked in finance (which probably twisted my attitude to money) Im just saying dont let the finance industry worry people into illness. There are law abiding procedures to pay it off or seek advice for other options.

They have to accept a pound a month in some cases because the law allows a certain living allowance.

Many of these debts cant be paid. I couldnt pay mine. I was in an out of work earning slightly above minimum wage.

I know what you are saying and admire you for facing it and paying your dues. I understand the pride and reality associated with paying every last penny of it

At eight thousand I couldnt pay mine. If my parents had paid it I couldnt have paid them back within any acceptable timescale and I know that a family debt can cause even more stress.  

I did see the damage I had caused and the interest and penalties had doubled the original debt. Bankruptcy isnt free from its trust penalties but its there as a new start when things get out of hand. Believe me the financial institutions are not blame free when we discuss over lending and how easily they lend to some people.

My mental health was destroyed, I had been a gambling addict I was out of work and I felt suicidal. My credit score was not a top priority.

Best wishes to everyone on the forum

Posted : 26th May 2020 3:01 am
Merry go round

Hi SD I'm the wife of a compulsive gambler . Joydivider has given sound advice.

In addition you need to protect yourself. Both you and your husband should sign up to gamstop so she cannot gamble in your name. Your daughter is already at the stage of immorality that we find difficult to understand. Also protect your finances, passwords etc.

As for her debt, it us up to her to manage. You can sit with her but she should be talking to stepchange who are a debt charity. There has to be a consequence otherwise the cycle continues. 

The other thing to remember is that this doesn't get better and go away, you don't do a few meetings and you're recovered. This is a lifelong struggle. 

The result of long term gambling is not only financial but serious damage to mental health, self esteem and self awareness.

Try not to fix everything at once, this doesn't get better overnight. Small steps and one day at a time.

Gamcare  offer counselling to gamblers and their family. Also Gamanon is the f&f of G A, they are running meetings online, all anonymous, every evening 7-9. Just go to the website. They will offer you support and guidance, all people who have gone through the same as you.

This is going to be a difficult time and you need  support too.

Posted : 26th May 2020 7:56 am
Forum admin

Hello SD103516,

Just wanted to add a little to the suggestions you've already received from forum members.

I imagine it would have been extremely distressing and scary to hear your daughter say she was feeling suicidal. It's good that you are encouraging her to take responsibility for her debts and her gambling. It sounds like it would also be important for her to get support for her mental health as well.  

If someone has been having suicidal thoughts or feelings, it is really important to seek professional help as soon as possible. She can speak to her GP or find NHS support, or you may find the following links useful.

Samaritans: 116 123 (24-hours) or

Papyrus: HopelineUK: 0800 068 4141 or

Maytree: a charity supporting people in suicidal crisis in a non-medical setting in London. If you, or someone you know, could benefit from a one-off stay in a safe and confidential space, call 020 7263 7070 or email [email protected] Visit for more information.

YoungMinds: Parents’ helpline 0808 802 5544 (Mon-Fri, 9.30am-4pm) /

Forum users have already suggested CAB as a source of free debt advice. We also list many more suggestions for free sources of debt advice and solutions here on our website:

Remember all our support, including our treatment, is available to you as parents. We can even offer family treatment sessions to ensure everyone feels heard and supported, and is singing from the same hymn sheet regarding your daughter's recovery.

Feel free to call us any time on 0808 8020 133 or contact us on Livechat.

Best wishes

Forum Admin

Posted : 26th May 2020 11:02 am

Just wanted to add your daughter and family can definitely come out of the other side of it.  As a 22 year-old I was in a very similar position, my debts were probably slightly higher (not that that is the important thing here). Well done for speaking to her, deep down she definitely wants to change, it is just very hard.  

I definitely agree about the bailing out.  It is not helpful to her for you to do this as tempting as it may seem.  I think my Mum and Dad bless them did this a lot, and all for the right reasons I might add but in the end it is far better to open about sums and work out together how she can overcome this with your support.

Rightly or wrongly I still work in the industry which can makes things difficult for me on a moral level and a personal level, and I am sure when I have had periods of brief relapse my interaction with the industry does not help.  I mention this because I think the more you can distance yourself from the gambling the better.

I hope things improve for you all soon.

Take care.

Posted : 26th May 2020 11:24 pm

I would just like to say a big thank you to everyone’s advice on this site. I have found it really comforting to know that I can be honest and not be judged. We are making progress with her debts and she has been in touch with CAB who have took details of all of her debts and will be calling her on Monday to discuss in more detail. We also contacted the GP who spoke to myself and my daughter. She basically said that we are doing the right thing with the counselling that she is currently receiving and will contact her I. 4 weeks to see how she is doing. I am still struggling with the fact that she was selling products on a site , taking the money and not sending the goods. I have refunded all of the people she did this to and fortunately they were very gracious and didn’t report her. However Her bank account has now been frozen and I think it was because she forgot about one person who she took money from. I have spoken to this lady and refunded her this morning and she told me that she has reported my daughter but wouldn’t say who she contacted. I’m not sure if it was just the bank or the police. She did say that she has opened a case but as she has now been refunded she will inform the people dealing with the case. I just feel sick with worry about it all. I’m terrified that she will be prosecuted. I know she deserves it but I obviously don’t want this to ruin her life. It’s heartbreaking that my lovely girl has got herself into this mess. I keep asking myself what we have done wrong as parents. I feel so ashamed but at the same time want to protect her. 

Posted : 29th May 2020 10:31 pm

That is excellent progress. Thanks for the update.

Openness and honesty are her saviours. I use the online sites and if the buyers get their money back it should take the heat out of the situation.

A sincere apology mail or letter will go a long way. Ive heard some horrendous stories of what gambling has made people do like life savings going missing from biscuit tins and so on. Your daughter can count herself fortunate its early days and she has your support

Perhaps it needs mentioning that the seller had an addiction. Its understandable to me that an addiction will make people commit all sorts of fraud. 

These are all symptoms of an addiction. Yes it will shut down her paypal account and leave markers but the main issue is the gambling and her state of mind.

Deregulated gambling in this country is a national scandal of monumental proportions. If you want to give paypal some reasons you can mention gambling addiction if you wish. I believe they allow gambling transactions which I think is a disgrace.

You can be proud that you are helping her and defending her corner. You can tell your local mp that deregulated gambling (or any gambling activity) is a scandal thats ruining lives and causing the upset you are dealing with

I know its hard but I really would not worry too much. Your daughter has come clean, she is not on the run and its not a crime of the century.

She is facing responsibility which is all she can do. There is no shame in admitting deeper issues and a gambling addition affects people from all walks of life.

There is a healing process in making people proud again and getting control of her life back. Giving her time, helping animals or little presents to children in hospital. These are all acts which cleanse the soul

It does come right when she heals finds a peace of mind. She will realise that none of what the thought she wanted would have made her happy. I believe a lot of depression is all means use the doctor but its also about a spirituality and new connnection with people.

You have to be fully aware that all this recovery work is nothing compared to an addiction which if left unchecked totally destroys people. Thats where you have to draw some perspective.

Best wishes from everyone on the forum



This post was modified 4 months ago 2 times by Joydivider
Posted : 30th May 2020 10:44 pm

Thank you so much. I can’t tell you how comforting it is to read your reply . This whole situation is heartbreaking and the more I read about it the more I realise how much people’s lives are being destroyed by gaming and the continuous offers of pay day loans, credit cards etc. It’s horrendous. My daughter however had choices and clearly made some bad decisions which will have a detrimental affect on her future. I want her to be responsible and pay back what she owes . I think it’s an important lesson to learn. She has a new partner now and hasn’t told them about the issues that she has. This person has a lovely bubbly personality and  is a really good influence in my daughters life. However I have told her that she needs to be honest With them and make them aware of her gambling issues. She is really stressed about doing this as she feels this person is the best thing to happen to her and can’t bear to reveal what is going on in her life. I feel that she needs to come clean as she is living a lie by not being honest. Maybe I am wrong x

Posted : 31st May 2020 12:09 am
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