Recognising Gambling Problems

Gambling involves risking something of value, usually money, on an event that is unpredictable and relies on luck. It can include games of chance such as marbles or dice, betting on horse races or football accumulators and the speculation of future events.

It’s not always easy to recognise when someone is gambling addictively. The person may downplay the issue or deny it and will often hide their activity from others. It’s important to be proactive and seek professional help when you believe they have a gambling problem, especially if it is impacting their family and finances.

A good place to start is with identifying triggers for the gambling habit, such as certain places, people or activities and finding ways to avoid them. For example, if their route to work passes a casino, try taking an alternative one. Or, if they’re watching sports and feeling the urge to bet, change the channel. It’s also a good idea to replace gambling with other healthy activities that are equally stimulating, such as exercise or hobbies. This will help to occupy the mind and reduce stress, which can also fuel compulsive gambling.

It’s important to be aware that a person with a gambling problem will often have debts that need to be paid. It’s therefore a good idea to put them in touch with credit counselors, who can help to get them back on track with their finances and set up a repayment plan for any outstanding debt.