Concerned About Someone?

Signs of a problem

Not sure if someone has a problem? Find out about the common signs of problem gambling.

Gambling behaviour is often hidden

It can be difficult to know if someone has a problem with gambling. Initially we may not want to believe that someone we know or love has a problem with gambling. It can also be difficult to detect a gambling problem because many people who gamble do not show their feelings and may lie or get angry if questioned about their behaviour. 

It is helpful to know some common warning signs of problem gambling so that you can identify whether someone you know might need help with their gambling behaviour.

Signs of a Problem

Knowing the warning signs can help you decide what action to take

If gambling is a problem for someone you know, you might notice changes in the person's mood, schedule or finances. Problem gamblers may be moody, have unexplained periods of absence from home or work, or they may always seem to be running out of money.

Financial signs

Some common financial warning signs that someone may have a problem with gambling include:

  • Money missing from bank accounts, wallet/purse or money jar
  • Household items and valuables missing
  • Regularly short of money even though they earn a wage
  • Borrowing money on a regular basis
  • Having many loans at the one time
  • Being secretive about financial records or payslips
  • Unpaid bills/disconnection notices
  • Lack of food in the house

Mood and behaviour signs

When someone develops a gambling problem, there are often noticeable changes to their mood and behaviour, including:

  • Becoming withdrawn from others/family events
  • Performance at work is being affected
  • Seeming worried, agitated or upset for no apparent reason
  • Reporting feeling hopeless, depressed, frustrated or suicidal
  • Changes in personality - sleeping, eating, or sexual relationship patterns
  • Controlling and/or manipulative behaviour
  • Using threats, lies or charm to manipulate others

Changes in a person's mood and behavior can impact significantly on work, study and personal relationships.

Time related signs

Some common time-related signs that could indicate someone has a problem with gambling include:

  • Spending more and more time gambling
  • Being secretive about unexplained absences
  • Often being late for commitments
  • Over-using sick days and days off
  • Taking an unusual amount of time for simple tasks (e.g. taking two hours to get the paper from corner store).

Next steps

Find out how you can help someone with a gambling problem.