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Support and Resources
While gambling is a fun source of entertainment for many, not everyone can gamble in a safe, responsible way. For some, gambling can become a problem. Whether you have a gambling problem or know someone who needs help, resources are available.
Knowing what to look for
If you’re wondering if someone you know and love might have a problem, here are some signs that may indicate they have a problem. The more signs a person shows, the greater the likelihood that he or she may have lost control of their gambling.
- Gambling for longer and longer periods of time
- Lying about how much or how often they gamble
- Often missing work or school to gamble
- Neglecting personal or family needs to gamble
- Spending more time and money than they can afford
- Using money intended for other things to gamble
- Gambling more to win back lost money or get out of financial trouble
- Thinking gambling will finally be under control once the “big win” happens
- Feeling anxious or guilty about gambling
- Constantly thinking or talking about gambling
- Feeling empty or lost when not gambling
Below are a few examples of warning signs that might indicate a problem. The more signs a person exhibits, the greater the likelihood that they may have lost control of their gambling.
Last night he told his spouse he was working late; he was really at the casino.
Lying about how often or how much someone gambles is a sign of a problem.
She’s absent from work a lot and is unable to keep up with her workload.
Those most at risk are often absent from school, work or important social activities because they’re gambling.
He missed his son’s birthday. He couldn’t leave the slot machine he was playing.
Those with gambling problems often neglect family or personal needs and responsibilities to keep gambling.
She gambles more and more for relief from the increasing pressures at work and home.
When gambling becomes an escape from job and family responsibilities, it’s a problem.
He missed a mortgage payment after he used that money for blackjack.
Spending more money than you can afford, using money intended for other purposes, and growing debt resulting from gambling are signs of a problem.
For more resources to help you keep control of your gambling, visit GameSense.
GamTalk is an online resource that helps people dealing with gambling problems in a variety of ways. It offers live chatting with other members of the community, a forum to present questions and respond to others, and stories about recovering from gambling problems.
BC’s Responsible and Problem Gambling Program
This organization provides free information and resources related to gambling, to help players make informed choices and encourage healthy play. They can help connect you with a counsellor in your area, free of charge. Find out more at www.bcresponsiblegambling.ca.
Journal of Gambling Issues
Published by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, and funded by Ontario’s Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, the Journal of Gambling Issues publishes articles on gambling-related research, policy developments, treatment, and much more. Have a look at the journal at https://jgi.camh.net/index.php/jgi.
Gamblers Anonymous is an organization dedicated to helping those struggling with gambling addiction. They host meetings in which individuals can share their experiences and support one other in their desire to stop gambling. Find out more at www.gabc.ca.
Gam-Anon is a 12 step self-help fellowship comprised of men and women who have been affected by the gambling problem of another. This free service is not affiliated with a religious organization or counselling agency and does not treat gambling addictions, but helps those who have been affected by someone else’s. Find out more at www.gam-anon.org .