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If you suspect that someone you love is suffering from a gambling problem, it’s natural to want to help. Just remember that it’s up to the individual to seek help. It must be their choice, and only when they’re ready. What you can do is offer support by following the tips below.

Talking Tips
  • Learn about help and support available before approaching the person.
  • Prepare examples of how the person’s gambling has had a negative impact on you and others.
  • Remember that the behaviour is the problem, not the person.
  • Communicate using “I” messages without being judgmental (e.g., “When you do this, I feel...”)
  • Be supportive and offer resources if the person is open to getting help.
What Would You Do?

Click each to learn more.

Ignore the problem and make excuses — it's easier that way.

It may be easier in the short term, but it allows the problem to grow. It's best to help the individual face the problem as soon as possible.

Lecture him for behaving badly. Tell him he should stop now.

Remember that the behaviour is the problem, not the person. Try to communicate without being judgmental. You can't force someone to stop gambling, but offering love and support can lead them to seek the help they need.  

Let her know that you care and that you're concerned.

Yes, it is very important that she understands that someone cares.

Tell him that his family and friends are concerned about the changes they see in him.

Yes, if you have specific examples of how his behaviour has negatively affected those he cares for, it's a good idea to tell him. Just remember not to attack him — this will likely make him defensive.

Stop lending her money, but suggest another friend who might offer a loan.

Not lending any more money is a good idea. It's best not to support or enable her behaviour. But make sure you don't encourage her to borrow from other sources.

Tell him you're there as a friend if and when he needs your help.

Great! Just don't provide counseling yourself. Leave that to the professionals. When he's ready, encourage him to call the 24-hour Problem Gambling Help Line at 1-888-795-6111.  

GameSense Tips

Play for fun, not to make money.

Know how the game works and what the odds are before playing.

Set a budget and stick to it.

Don't chase losses. Accept them as the cost of entertainment.

Balance gambling with other types of leisure activities.

Take frequent breaks.

Set a time limit before you play.

View All Tips

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