Problem Gambling

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.

Learn the Warning Signs

If gambling has stopped being a fun, affordable activity for you or a loved one, it may be time to take a closer look.

Know the Signs

The signs below may indicate 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 the extent of gambling involved
  • Often missing work or school to gamble
  • Neglecting personal or family responsibilities to gamble
  • Using gambling as an escape
  • Gambling with money needed for paying bills
  • Believing the "big win" will bring gambling under control

Some Signs of Problem Gambling

The following scenarios may be signs of a problem. Click each to learn more.

Lying about the extent of gambling activity and involvement is a sign of problem.

Problem gamblers are often absent from school, work or important social occasions because they are gambling.

When gambling becomes an escape from job and family, it's a problem.

Using money intended for monthly bills and a growing debt resulting from gambling are signs of a problem.

Take Action

If you suspect that someone is experiencing a problem with gambling, 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:

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.

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 emotional support can lead them to seek the help they need.

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

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.

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.

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 1-800-463-1554.

Finding Help

Addictions Foundation of Manitoba

The AFM provides addictions education, prevention and treatment services in Manitoba


GamTalk is a free online forum for people who want to share experiences and ideas about gambling.

Community Financial Counselling Services – 1-888-573-2383

Community Financial Counselling Services provides free debt solutions counselling.

Problem Gambling Help Line – 1-800-463-1554

The Helpline and counselling services are offered free-of-charge by the Addictions Foundation on Manitoba

Responsible Gambling Council

Responsible Gambling Council is a non-profit organization committed to the prevention of problem gambling. offers practical information to help you make informed decisions if you gamble.

McGill University

International Centre for Youth Gambling Problems and High-Risk Behaviours – Visit the site.


Gam-Anon offers local support for those concerned about someone else's gambling.