Gambling, Gaming & Technology Use
Knowledge Exchange

Helping the Person Take Responsibility

People are more likely to deal with their gambling problems when they really feel the hurt their gambling is causing. Of course, your help and support are important to the person with a gambling problem. But it is still the person’s own responsibility to fix the problem. Only he or she can decide to stop or reduce gambling.

The best way to help is by being supportive but firm. Tell the person that if he or she gets help, it is possible to change and gain control. Let the person know that he or she doesn’t have to be alone in dealing with this problem.

Some families feel they must pay the person’s gambling debts to protect their reputation. They may want to help other family members who have been hurt by the person’s actions. If you pay off the person’s debts, you may send the message that someone will bail the person out if he or she gets into trouble. This sometimes leads the person to start gambling again.

If you do give financial help, insist that the person gets counselling help too. If you make loans, tell the person he or she must pay them back—even if it is only a small payment each week. Many families have trouble doing this, and need help from a trusted advisor or a counsellor. Beware of giving the person money directly, because this can trigger more gambling.

Your “tough love” can help make the person face the cost of his or her gambling. For example:

  • Have the person deal with his or her boss about missing work or being late
  • Expect the person to take care of their family chores and responsibilities
  • Do not lie to protect the person
  • Do not make excuses for the person’s gambling
  • Do not comfort the person about gambling losses or other problems gambling has caused
  • Do not take the person to or from gambling venues
  • Do not gamble with the person

In some cases, it may not be possible to carry out these suggestions because doing so could result in the person harming himself or herself, or becoming violent to others. If this is true for you, seek professional advice immediately before taking action.

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.