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Gambling and the Family

Beth Hess - Thursday, May 31, 2018

Problem gambling is not just an individual problem, but can disrupt entire families. Help is available and recovery is possible for families who are dealing with a gambling addiction.

Warning signs there may be a problem:
  • Preoccupation with gambling
  • Unexplained debt or other financial problems
  • Unaccounted for mood changes
  • Isolation and withdrawal from family and friends
  • Overdrafts, secrecy about bills, bank statements and other financial data
  • Missing personal items such as phones, jewelry, other valuables
  • Borrowing of money from family friends or employer
Effects on the family:
  • Erosion of financial security
  • Decreased trust
  • Increased isolation
  • Increased stress, anxiety and depression
  • Increased tension and conflict
  • Disruption of closeness and intimacy
How you can help your family:
  • Learn about gambling addiction, help and recovery.
  • Begin an open conversation with the entire family about gambling as entertainment and negative impacts of gambling on the family.
  • If you suspect someone in your family is gambling excessively, speak to them one-on-one in a calm and non-judgmental manner.
  • Don’t blame yourself or other members of the family. It’s no one’s fault.
  • Know where your money is and develop a plan to protect the family’s finances.
  • Learn to say “no” when asked for money.
  • Seek support for the whole family from professional counselors and other support groups (Gam-Anon).
  • Remember, help is available and recovery is possible.

Does someone you love have a gambling problem? Our staff, who themselves have a loved one with a gambling problem and have been trained to help others, are here for you. Learn more.

Source: The Maryland Center of Excellence on Problem Gambling “Gambling and the Family” rack card.

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