What if Someone You Love Gambles Too Much?
- Verify that the person may have a gambling problem with a mutual friend or relative.
- Educate yourself about the problem, its effect on the gambler and his/her family and friends.
- Protect your own financial security and avoid lending money to the gambler as this will perpetuate the problem.
- Talk to them using I statements, focusing on concrete behaviors that you have noticed and are concerned about.
- Actively listen to what the person has to say.
- Realize that you are not to blame for the gambler’s behavior.
- Realize that you cannot force the gambler to stop gambling.
- Let the gambler face the consequences of their destructive behavior.
- Suggest to the person what you’d like to see him or her do such as setting limits on gambling, talking to another trusted person, or getting professional help.
- Seek help for yourself. Do not try to deal with the problems alone; isolation can encourage hopelessness and fear. Missouri offers free compulsive gambling counseling for problem gamblers and their friends and family regardless of whatever the problem gambler is seeking help themselves.
- Encourage them to put their name on the list for the voluntary exclusion program and on individual casino self-exclusion lists, if casino gambling is a problematic activity.
- Lending money to the gambler.
- Lying or covering up the problem; be honest with yourself about the problem. Secrets place more strain on you and enable the gambling problem to continue.
- Placing yourself at risk... your personal and financial safety is a priority.