Problem Gambling: Talking to Your Loved Ones Posted On

Problem gambling can reach far beyond the individual struggling with gambling.  Aside from financial consequences, problem gambling can lead to loss of trust and respect, and deteriorating relationships.  Problem gambling can affect our mental and physical health, leading to depression, anxiety, respiratory problems, and migraines, to name a few.  Problem gambling can even lead a person to consider suicide; problem gambling has the highest rate of suicide among all other addictions.

During Problem Gambling Awareness Month, we’re asking you to have the conversation about problem gambling with everyone, but what do you do if the person you’re concerned about is a close friend or family member?  Talking to a loved one, about a possible problem they may have, can be a very difficult situation to approach, but may be a very necessary conversation to have.

Call To Action

If you’re planning to speak to a friend or family member about their gambling, you may feel overwhelmed, and very nervous, hoping that the conversation goes in a positive direction.  Here are some tips to help you prepare for a great conversation:

  1. Have a purpose for the conversation, for instance getting help.  If your goal is to help your loved one get help, keep the conversation light, and focused on talking about how problem gambling is affecting both your lives, available help, and how that help may improve their life.
  2. Find the support you need to get ready to start having the conversation with this loved one.  Try to talk to other people about your approach, and make sure you’re approach will be well received.
  3. Don’t plan to blame them for their problem.  If their gambling is affecting their friends and family, they’re probably aware that they may have a problem.  Keep the conversation positive and focused on getting help.
  4. Make sure to use “I” statements explaining how the person’s actions have affected your life, how you feel about it, and why it’s important to you that they get help.  For example, “I feel scared and alone when you gone all day gambling,” instead of, “you’re mean when you’ve lost money.”


If you need information about how to approach a person struggling with problem gambling, and would like to see how the conversations may go, please visit our YouTube page.

You can also find general information about problem gambling through our eBook “Understanding Problem Gambling.”

Or, for more information, and problem gambling help in your area, call or text the NYS HOPEline at 1-877-8-HOPENY (1-877-846-7369).