Gambling, Gaming & Technology Use
Knowledge Exchange

How To Help

Unfortunately, you can’t force someone to stop. People decide themselves whether or not to gamble. The person must be motivated to change. It is understandable that you might be very angry with the person who has the problem with gambling. However, if you threaten, bribe or punish the person, it can do more harm than good.

This lack of control can be frustrating for families. But you can still play an important role in encouraging change. Most people with gambling problems get help because gambling is hurting their family. Tell the person how his or her gambling affects you, and try to make some positive changes in your own life. This can help the person see that he or she can change too.

You may feel deeply angry or hurt. This can make it hard to support the person who has caused you so much pain. Not all families can get over this problem. Counselling can help you sort through your own thoughts and feelings, and look at your options. This can be an important step in helping the family heal. You may also try our Self-Help Guide for Family and Friends

How families can help the person change

Each family is different and has its own ideas of what will help the person change. Here are some ideas that have helped many families. They can help you support the person with a gambling problem, and help you restore a healthy balance within the family. With the help of a counsellor, you can learn to:

  • Understand the stages of change and work with them
  • Tell the person how his or her gambling affects you and the family. (But remember, yelling has probably not helped in the past, so talk to the person when you feel that your anger is not explosive. It is important to stay calm when you talk.)
  • Do not make excuses for the person, and do not protect the person from his or her own actions
  • Take proper care of yourself and get your life back in balance
  • Get your finances back in order
  • Restore trust
  • Get help
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.