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Coping With Problem Gambling

The odds of beating a gambling problem are better than the odds of winning the lottery!

In some cases, gambling responsibly can break patterns of problem gambling. If you can’t cope on your own, friends and family can help.

If you, or someone you care about needs assistance and you don’t know where to turn, there are agencies and organizations that can help you, in your language.

Do you need to talk to a professional

If you feel that you need professional assistance with a gambling problem, call our toll-free helpline:


We can assist you with messages in your own language.

Tips for family and friends

  • Know the signs!
  • Go get them (from the casino)
  • Moral support
  • Be a companion to the gambler
  • Set the limits for the gambler
  • Parents / Spouses
  • “No more bailouts”
  • Legal & Financial complications – beware of funding the problem with unrealistic bailouts, legal assistance, etc. – don’t be bullied by the gambler
  • Intimacy issues / emotional & physical distance
  • Children exhibit guilt and shame (overvalue money materialism)
  • Gambling environment impacts kids development – more propensity for escapism through substances or other methods (Jacobs, 1989)
  • Child takes role of pseudo-parent (loyalty to parents vs. blowing the whistle)
  • Don’t make excuses for the gambler
  • Insist on honesty
  • Acknowledge the problem

Gamble safe

Don’t allow gambling to take over your life! If you’re going to gamble, consider the following smart gambling strategies.

  • Gamble just for entertainment
  • Set a time limit for gambling
  • Set a limit budget  (financial limits)
  • Do not borrow to gamble
  • Do not buy a chance
  • Do not take credit cards to a gambling venue
  • Do not gamble alone
  • Be aware that risk increases at times of loss and/or depression

Act, think and feel like a winner


  • Avoid gambling venues
  • Join a gym
  • Cut up credit cards
  • Make a budget
  • Talk to non-gambling friends
  • Do relaxation exercises


  • Catch gambling thoughts
  • Keep long-term goals in mind
  • Plan ahead for weekends
  • Remember that urges pass
  • Think about consequences of gambling 


  • Recognize feelings when they occur
  • Remember feelings are okay
  • Write feelings down in a journal
  • Talk to spouse and friends about feelings