Concerned About Someone?

Helping Yourself

Feeling overwhelmed by someone's problem gambling? Find out what you can do to help yourself.

Many people find it difficult to understand why people cannot just stop gambling.  It is normal to feel upset or angry about someone else's gambling.  People often ask, 'how can I make them stop?' or 'what can I do to make them see it is a problem?'

It may feel natural to want to take responsibility for someone else's gambling. However, choosing to change gambling behaviour is ultimately the responsibility of the person who gambles.

When someone chooses to continue to gamble, it can lead to others feeling upset and hurt. Focusing on caring for yourself and working through your feelings can decrease the impact of someone's gambling on you.

Self care

While it may seem natural to want to help the person that gambles, this can lead to increased stress and pressure. It is important to look after yourself, because feeling tired and run down as a result of trying to help is not helpful to you or the person that gambles in the long run.

Having some time out may enable you to cope better in difficult circumstances. To find out what you can do to help yourself speak to an online gambling counsellor.

Seek support

It can be very difficult to cope on your own when a person close to you has a gambling problem. 

Talk to someone you trust, such as a close family member, friend or a counsellor who you know will not judge you or the person that gambles. Talking about what you are going through can be really helpful in alleviating stress.

Talking to other people can also provide useful advice and a different perspective on the situation.


Know your limits by thinking about what you are willing to accept and what is unacceptable.

Determine the level of involvement you are prepared to commit to, and then discuss this with the person that gambles.

Discuss and negotiate a plan by determining what each of you is willing to do. It may be helpful to speak to a professional gambling counsellor, another family member or a friend for assistance in making decisions or to develop a plan.

Taking steps to protect to you and your family

In most cases, people who have a gambling problem have difficulty dealing with money. There are measures you can take to protect yourself and those around you, including:
  • Take control of finances for the immediate future
  • Limit access to cash for the person who gambles
  • Organise direct debit for bills, mortgages and other regular payments
  • Create a realistic budget and keep good records of all financial transactions
  • Keep a check on the mail
  • Avoid inheriting the gambler's debt.  Remove your name from joint accounts
  • Do not sign anything you don't understand or are not prepared to pay for
  • Do not lend EFTPOS or credit cards, share pin numbers or leave that information where it can be easily accessed

Next steps

By helping yourself and your family you can take control of your life and be in a better position to help the person who gambles: