Information for the Family
Family and friends can help
Someone close to you may have a problem with gambling. You can read about the signs of problem gambling here.
If your friend or family member shows signs of having a problem with gambling there are things you can do to help them. The sooner you do something about the issues the easier it will be to fix the problem.
Talk to them - be honest about how you feel, be firm but avoid arguments. They may be embarrassed or feel guilty about their gambling and may not be able to talk honestly. Make sure you have some written information at hand for them about getting help.
Listen, try not to "nag" about the issue but encourage positive change.
Plan ahead, organise social events at places that are not gambling venues.
Set boundaries - allow the problem gambler to experience consequences of their gambling, don't pay gambling debts for them and don't make counselling appointments for them. They need to do these things for themselves.
Coping with a friend or family member that has a gambling problem can be very difficult. As well as a range of emotional issues you may also be dealing with financial and legal problems and it is important that you get help to keep yourself safe.
Talking to a trusted friend can help or you can seek professional assistance in the form of counselling. A counsellor will help you to understand why your friend or family member has developed a problem, will provide you with strategies to resolve problems and also help you to find free financial or legal advice. Talking to counsellors is private and confidential.
Here are some tips to keep you safe:
Try to limit a problem gambler's access to your cash. Consider closing your joint accounts, secondary card and phone and internet banking.
Protect yourself by taking control of your finances.
Avoid new financial commitments with a problem gambler. Don't sign documents relating to new loans or credit purchases.
Look after yourself - seek counselling if you need to. Counselling is private and confidential.
Limit the problem gamblers access to income and assets. A counsellor can help you find free legal advice about your rights, relationship and finances. A financial counsellor can also help you to negotiate with finance providers if you need to.
Gather information about problem gambling. Use the internet, library or your local community centre.