Support friends with gambling problem

Gambling problems are awful for everyone involved. If you suspect or know that someone you love is struggling, it’s important to know how you can support friends with gambling problems.

We’re not going to lie. It’s not going to be easy for anyone to navigate. But we’re going to try to give you an outline of things you can do with answers to these frequently asked questions.

Support friends with gambling problems FAQs

No question is too big or small when it comes to how to support friends with gambling problems. So we’re going to do our best to cover as many bases as possible.

How do I know if my friend has a gambling problem?

There are some extremely common signs you can watch out for. These include:

  • Lying about gambling
  • Sudden or worsening money troubles
  • Stealing
  • Loss of interest in other activities
  • Increased arguments
  • Problems at work
  • Problems at study

These are all very worrying signs. They are similar to the signs people may identify in themselves too

Can an underage person have a gambling problem?

Depending on your jurisdiction, people under the age of 18 or 21 should not ever gamble. However, this isn’t always the case. A young person can develop a gambling addiction.

Here’s some more information on how to prevent underage people from gambling.

How do I stop someone from gambling online?

This is a pretty difficult task, if we’re being honest. People need to decide to stop themselves. You can encourage them to stop online gambling by self-excluding or at the very least taking a time out.

Self-exclusion is a long term break from online gambling, whereas a time out is only short term. During both, you can’t place wagers and they can’t be reversed. However, it’s still possible to bet elsewhere online and offline, so your friend needs to deal with the problem head-on.

What gambling help organizations should I share with my friend?

There are organizations all over the world that can help people and their loved ones navigate problem gambling.

If you’re in the United States, you can find online resources at the National Council on Problem Gambling or call them on 1800 522 4700.

For those in the United Kingdom, the equivalent organization is Be Gamble Aware and they have a phone line at 0808 8020 133.

And if you’re based elsewhere, there are international organizations that can help.

Getting support for yourself too

When you take it upon yourself to support friends with gambling problems, it can be a huge mental and emotional toll on you too.

You have to remember that to stay strong for your friend, you need to stay strong yourself. They might lash out at you, they could call you at all hours of the day and night asking for support, they might cut contact with you all together.

All of those things can be incredibly difficult to deal with. So make sure you have a network of resources that you can call on if you need it. If you’re feeling down, talk to someone close to you. Or if you think it’s affecting your day to day life, talk to a professional.

If your friend has left you in a financially vulnerable place due to their gambling problem, seek financial help and deal with your problems as soon as possible.

You need to look out for yourself, as well as for your friend.