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Partner asking permission for 'harmless' bet, what do I say??  

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So 3 1/2 years ago I found out about his problem. We had a big talk, and since then he's not gambled and has repaid all debt. 

He is very open and honest and will (as far as I'm aware) tell me everytime he has an urge to gamble but has never actually done it. He says his mind is in a different place now and could never go back to what he did before.

He has now come to me and asked if I would be comfortable with him putting a small bet (£1 or £2) on every now and again, with my full supervision and control over it. 

Part of me wants to just say an outright no, as what is the point? Why would he need this and I would feel an idiot if it went to his head and it triggered his addiction again. I know he has an addictive personality, he plays games on his phone a lot and checks his football apps often (which I allow, but not sure if these help curb his urges or make them worse)

But then if I say no, firstly I am worried he would slowly start to resent me for denying him of what he sees as a harmless bit of fun. And secondly I don't want him to start doing it secretly and start lying to me again, as he has been so open and honest since he stopped.

Would it be better for me to let him do it through an account I have control over and can supervise, rather than risk him going behind my back. When he asked me, he told me to have a think about it and if I'm not comfortable then that's fine he won't do it. But that might just be him being nice.

I am so torn about how to go about this! Hope you can help. 

Thank you. 



Posted : 16th June 2020 11:32 pm
Merry go round

Hi Becky I'm sure you've read on here what happens with a small bet. 

Why does he want to gamble?

You cannot control him, you cannot control whether he gambles or not. If it goes wrong he'll blame you. If you won't let him he'll blame you.

we have to reach a point where we are not affected by their behaviour.

this is my opinion only, if a gambler has learnt from their mistakes and changed their behaviour, made amends, they would have no need to gamble. It's their drug, poison, downfall, coping mechanism, whatever you wish to call it.

where are your boundaries? How do you feel? Is he only not gambling because you are in control of certain things? Did you have an agreement?

he's asking your permission , now you are asking for others.

If my husband asked if he could gamble, I'd know he already had. That's his choice. I would say 'that's up to you'. I would know that he was in crisis mode.

I agree with you, spending time on phones, checking apps, all addictive behaviour. They need to find new, rewarding pastimes.

Your reluctance to control him is right. An addict will pass the responsibility to others, blame everyone but themselves.

Posted : 17th June 2020 7:36 am


This is a very interesting post. And tbh it will divide a lot of us.

i agree with the post above. Why does he want to? 

now like myself I was heavily addicted to machines couldn’t walk into a bookies and not look at them or even play them even if I didn’t have hardly any money but I could put a £5 football bet on and be done with it. 

Even this day am in a kitty with work 4 of us in it and we have a little bet on the football. I have no control of the account In any way. If it wins the kitty wins if it loses it loses and we have another go next weekend.

its what works for people I personally like the idea if You opened the account and you controlled the account if it was for the enjoyment of football or sport then fair enough but I wouldn’t argue with anyone who disagree with this

it’s what works for the person and if it’s gone all these years to earn your trust then as long as he gives a honest answer as to why he wants to.

Again for me machines were the devil for me football or a horse bet wouldn’t bother me as I could walk away. But I still only do it in a kitty as I put the things in place for me not to relapse

hope this helps


Posted : 17th June 2020 9:01 am

Hi Becky. I'm the recovering gambler  in our family onlyday13 today gamble free, but already I'm seeing things much more clearly. Reading your post it concerns me that he has never really explored his addiction. Lots of people don't like using the word addict but believe me it is an addiction I've accepted this now but I'm not looking back I'm looking forward and getting every bit of help I can. If he was an alcoholic would you advise him to have a drink ??. The other thing that bothers me is he is asking you to be his controller his enabler, so he's asked for one harmless bet? Next thing you know he will be asking for once a week? The game on Friday night? The horse racing on the weekend?. I feel your anguish bouncing off your post once again he is putting you in a situation that is causing you distress enough distress that you have come on here for advice.  Becky no one can tell you what to do and you feel if you are damned if you do damned if you don't has this come about because of the start of the Premier League ? There has been a huge increase in sports betting ads recently tempting the addicts back with that stupid slogan at the end " when the fun stops stop" .  Hope I've given you food for thought good luck with what you decide . You will always be welcome to ask for help on here. Best wishes

Posted : 17th June 2020 9:19 am

In my opinion (as a recovering problem gambler for context) you need to make the hard choice and say no to him which I think is what your reluctance is telling you is the right thing to do.  You also need to firmly make him understand just how unfair he is being to you even asking.

The size of the starting bets is almost irrelevant. Just about every person on here who has had a problem will have started with small bets that they could afford to lose. Very few, I imagine, bet the mortgage money on their first bet. Problem is your husband has an addiction which may have laid dormant for a few years but is obviously still there. Likelihood is he might stick to the £1-2 on your account account for a while, then he will have a little win, then lose that money and then want to chase that loss. Once he is back in the irrational thought processes of a problem gambler then if your controls on the account won't let him gamble how he wants to he will just find another method - set up another account, secret credit cards/loans. 

Hard as it is probably difficult to understand, the comparisons with a drug addiction are extremely accurate and I am pretty sure you would not let your partner have just small amounts of illegal drugs if he had previously been an addict. 

Finally when it all comes to a head and he has lost another chunk of money or taken out secret loans and you either find out yourself or he comes back to you with his tail between his legs to confess, I guarantee he will try and divert at least some of the blame back to you. After all, you agreed it was ok for him to start gambling again.  

I just cannot see any positive outcomes for a problem gambler to gamble again.

Good luck, you do not deserve to have to deal with this.



This post was modified 3 weeks ago 2 times by Muststop123
Posted : 17th June 2020 9:26 am

Like Lee said you will get lots of different opinions. There's always a grey area . Lee knows his demons and what he is comfortable with. Me I know I have to abstain completely !! Hope you can work it all out

Posted : 17th June 2020 9:27 am

I agree Charlieboy and with every post
am no way saying do it. But if he struggling with gambling as a whole as in machines football horses poker everything in the whole then no you should put a firm no to it and remind that how far he’s come and how well he’s doing. But if it’s machine only I personally feel you can have that point to walk away like I do: but I would still have limits in place to stop that progressing. But it’s how much he wants to stop it control it. I don’t think there is right or wrong answer. Hopefully you find what’s best for you both as a family. But again I definitely wouldn’t argue with anyone who said 100% not. As I agree it can get out of control. 

Posted : 17th June 2020 9:43 am

Thank you all for your responses so far. Some differing opinions but very helpful advice for me to take on board and digest.

Part of me fully agrees with muststop123, a straight no would be the sensible and safe option. If the addiction is still underlying then allowing it some fuel could reverse so much progress and open the door to a downhill spiral. 

then I look at how he has evolved as a person and how much things have changed since we met 4 years ago. He was in a very dark place with no support and nothing positive in his life. He says now that his mind set is totally different and that he would never go back to that dark place as he now has a good life and a lot more self awareness. He no longer smokes he doesn't drink as much he has savings and his dream job now. 

There is much of what Lee says that he can likely relate to. I know that when my partner was gambling he was putting a lot of the money into the online slot games and just mindless things that didn't mean anything. Whereas he loves football and it actually means something to him. Since stopping he has done a similar thing in terms of a kitty at work/amongst friends on an app and fantasy football, which I wasn't sure he should continue at first but they don't seem to have caused any issues over the years, and it has only ever been £5/£10 at the start of the season as a one off.

So while part of me is saying that I should trust that he now has control and won't go back to his old ways, and he has been open and honest and proved himself, I am also thinking that why should I allow him to risk it. When until he starts then he surely can't know for certain that his brain won't react and get hooked. 

This post was modified 3 weeks ago by Forum admin
Posted : 17th June 2020 10:09 am

Maybe some experience might help. A lot of people say I don't have a problem with football, just slots, or I don't bet on roulette, just horses, but the word they forgot to say is YET.

Long term, if you open up the idea that any type of gambling is okay to a compulsive gambler then eventually they will find themselves back on their specific problem or the new betting will become a problem. Gamblers Anonymous, which has been around since 1957, say that all betting is off the table. No work syndicate, no lottery, not even raffle tickets. The reason is that it works. Stay away from the first bet means there is no second or thousandth.

What happens if you agree to a few pound and one day he starts to do a bit more but now he can't tell you? The lies start back up, the sneaking around, all the bad things that carry the addiction onwards. My advice, through saying the same thing to my wife, is to just say no, not a good idea. Don't have that first bet. But maybe he needs to learn that lesson himself.


Posted : 17th June 2020 10:41 am

What happens if you agree to a few pound and one day he starts to do a bit more but now he can't tell you? The lies start back up, the sneaking around, all the bad things that carry the addiction onwards. My advice, through saying the same thing to my wife, is to just say no, not a good idea. Don't have that first bet. But maybe he needs to learn that lesson himself

This is my exact fear, it's the fact the I don't want him to have to start lying about it again. As he is so open and honest now.

It's a good point that maybe he needs to learn that lesson himself. I'd just have to hope he now has enough self awareness that he could recognise if he was going down that slope.


Posted : 17th June 2020 10:52 am

Good morning,

You cannot move from a gambling addict to a respomsible gambler. 

It seems he wants to keep his hand in and continuing to feed the gambling monster is not a good sign.

I appreciate you know him more than most but i would be very aware of where this could lead.

From me its a no.


Posted : 17th June 2020 11:30 am

It's not possible for a CG to stay in control of their betting. There's no such thing as a harmless bet for them. It just keeps the addiction fuelled on the back burner ready to flare up and sooner or later it will.

He'd do better to explore why he wants to bet and address the underlying reasons.

Posted : 17th June 2020 1:12 pm
Posted by: Lethe

He'd do better to explore why he wants to bet and address the underlying reasons.

This is what I was thinking. What does he get out of putting a £1 bet on. What's the point. Why risk everything. But if the desire is there, I don't want him to be unhappy and resentful if he isn't allowed to do what he wants so need to figure out a way to stop that craving or find healthier ways to meet it I guess. 

Posted : 17th June 2020 1:20 pm

Yes Becky bless you you are starting to get it £1........£10.......£100 and so it goes when I finished gambling I was up to £100 deposits each time I'm so ashamed of that. These things are going to be the hardest to put behind me but if I want to beat this I have to..........just try to think clearly . It's nothing to do with love I love my family with all my heart

Posted : 17th June 2020 1:29 pm

Hiya becky 

It's not that £1 or £2 pound bet it's what it can lead to, I can only speak for myself I've had these little bets before but in the end it always leads to me going overbroad and getting on of control,  you see I'm a problem gambler and will always be so I know I can't even gamble  £1 as for me it Will lead to thousands maybe not this week or this year even but in the end I will get out off control. I'm only saying from my point off view Becky and it's that first bet that starts it off, hope this helps 

Posted : 17th June 2020 1:39 pm
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