Support us

Helping mum through gambling habit  



My mum recently opened up to me about a gambling addiction and drinking problem. I really want to help her work through this, but I'm a bit overwhelmed and not really sure where to start.

She lives alone and has said that its in the evenings that she finds herself drinking and gambling. She told me that she has gambled as long as she can remember (on slot machines etc) but it got worse about ten years ago when she was in debt and struggling to make payments.

I do lend her money quite regularly (roughly 20-50 pounds each time so not huge amounts at once) and she almost always pays me back. I have always assumed this is for bills and or payments she can't make, usually until payday, and I think they usually are. But now I wonder if I'm being naive and if I should be more careful about lending money? I've read on here about lending money actually enabling the habit

I also haven't asked her yet about exactly how much she has lost to gambling or what her current debt is (she told me about the addiction very recently) so I'm trying not to overload her with questions at once. But I do think this is important to know, I'm her closest family member so I think someone will need to ask these questions and keep checking in surely?

She sounded like she's ready to get help and felt better now it was out in the open, I'm just worried about the next steps and if she will commit to trying to kick this habit.

Sorry for the long post, but any tips on helping a family member would be really welcome. Especially about how much or little to interfere and ask questions?

Thank you!


Posted : 23rd December 2020 10:35 am
Forum admin


Welcome to the forum and well done for reaching out for support. 

It sounds like your Mum has been having a difficult time and I am glad to read she has felt able to open up to you. 

From what you have said you have been very supportive of her and it looks like this has been a relief for your Mum. It looks like you both might need some support to navigate through this and there is a lot of support available for you both.

Maybe you could encourage her to reach out for support from our advisers. They are available 24/7 and can offer her support and advice on how she can move on from this. This includes being able to refer for free one to one treatment. 

This option would also be an option for you, it can be a lot to take in when a family member has been gambling, especially when you are their closest relative. We are here to support any one affected by gambling harm. 

You can reach the helpline on 0808 8020 133 or by using our livechat option. 

It also sounds like there is some debt involved and it could be an idea for your Mum to speak to StepChange or The National Debtline. I know you said you do lend her money, maybe you could think about putting some boundaries in place with this as it is important you are able to keep yourself financially safe too. 

In the mean time I am sure you will get some great support here on the forum. 

Take care, 


Forum Admin


Posted : 23rd December 2020 11:09 am

If she's admitted a problem willingly I'd be asking for all the detail I could get. Credit reports from all three agencies and no more bailouts as a start. Don't rely on her word on anything without independent verification and don't be afraid to get tough with the asking. This is an addiction that spirals rapidly.

Posted : 23rd December 2020 9:03 pm

Hi ANB and welcome to the forum.

Its heartwarming that you want to help and you can do that from a position of knowledge and strength.

Gambling is above all a drug addiction similar to her drinking and both are for  escape reasons. She hasnt been doing it with an evil laugh to hurt you all but she definately needs  all the help she can get to start a revovery journey.

You will have to build up the homework without hurting her feelings too much she has thrown away and the total of any debts.

Its good if her gambling wont directly financially hurt you and you have to stop or phase down rapidly these loans which she will see as a back up position for extinction gambling...ok easier said than done but your mum needs reality checks that gambling has consequences.

With your love and support I hope she can open up more because gambling is not the answer and its highly addictive, destructive behaviour.

Your mum needs love and spirituality but humans have a tendency to reach for those easy tempting drugs like drink and gambling.

Yes best not to overload her so you have a delicate and difficult job on. I applaud you for caring as you should but she has to be ready for change and to do the cold turkey for her mind to start healing.

You will have to oversee that she is self excluded and blocked. You have to assume the default position that she will try and have a gamble. If you can help to protect her living allowances that would be vitally important. Lets face that if she does take a while to see the light then she cant gamble away vitally important money.

It would also be a good idea to make sure she doesnt have a relationship with the pawn shop or payday lenders...that needs to be shut down so the pawnshops know its not a good idea to be funding a gambling addiction and she doesnt do anything without you being present.

Its not about treating her like a baby...its about saving any quality of life she has...if your mum moans and grumbles you have a real problem on your hands.

Dont be shy or afraid in being proactive. A gambling addiction is the worst one I know takes big measures to make it history and even then you can both NEVER be complacent about it again.

Best wishes from everyone on the forum


This post was modified 3 weeks ago by Joydivider
Posted : 27th December 2020 8:25 am
Share this page

Please Login or Register