Gambling, Gaming & Technology Use
Knowledge Exchange

Communicating Clearly

It is important to tell the person how his or her behaviour affects the family. People with gambling problems often enter counselling because family members encourage them. You may want to seek the help of a counsellor yourself before trying to do this.

Communication tips for families
  • Focus on the specific ways that gambling affects you. Be direct and use “I” statements to share facts and feelings. For example: “I feel hurt when you don’t come home at the time you said.” “I’m angry when we don’t have money to pay our bills because of your gambling.” “I’m frightened by your gambling debts.”
  • Stay calm. Try not to blame, lecture or moralize. It doesn’t help. Let the person know you are getting information and support for yourself
  • Avoid threats—but do let the person know what you will do if he or she keeps gambling. Be prepared to follow through. The person may have heard you make threats before, and may not believe you will act
  • Provide helpful information. Offer to support the person in getting help. Learn about problem gambling counselling services, and give the person resources such as self-help information, books and videos
  • Be patient. Change may take time. Don’t expect the person to admit to the problem, or to accept that he or she needs help, right away. Keep planting the seeds of change. Tell the person that taking action will lead to less family conflict and stress
  • Watch for depression and suicidal thoughts in the person who gambles, yourself and other family members.
Reference: Adapted from Addictions Services Kenora problem gambling materials
Self-Help for Family and Friends
Does someone you care about gamble too much? With these interactive excercises, learn why they gamble and what you can do to help.
Gambling Quiz
Answering these nine questions will help you understand if gambling is having a negative impact on your life.
Self-Help for Those who Gamble
Do you gamble? These interactive tools will help you explore, cut down or stop gambling.
Monitor Your Gambling & Urges
Use this tool to keep track of when you gamble, or feel the urge to gamble. Mobile App also available.
Introductory Video
View a short introductory video to learn more about the Self-Help Gambling Tools.