Problem Gambling

Technology and relationship problems. Addicted young black man using laptop in bed, his woman looking angry and offended

Gambling addiction or problem gambling can happen to anyone. For some people, what starts out as a fun pastime can turn into an unhealthy obsession that causes serious problems for the entire family.

Things to know about gambling addiction and problem gambling:

  • Gambling addiction, also called pathological gambling, compulsive gambling or gambling disorder, can impact people of all ages and backgrounds.
  • Some people are addicted mainly to one form of gambling, like poker or slots.
  • People can have a gambling addiction and never go into a casino – instead they gamble with scratch-off lotto tickets, Bingo, sports betting or online gaming.
  • Gambling addiction is often associated with other behavior and mood disorders. Many people with a gambling problem also struggle with substance use issues, ADHD, anxiety, depression or bipolar disorder.
  • The risk of dying by suicide is 15 times higher in people with people with gambling addictions.

Our Services for Families Coping With Problem Gambling

When someone you love has a gambling problem, it can strain family relationships, interfere with work and lead to financial problems. You may feel worried, alone, ashamed, and unsure what to do. That’s why we’re here! Maryland Coalition of Families provides safe, confidential support without judgement. Our staff have experience dealing with gambling issues in their own families, and they use that experience to help others in this situation.

We can help you:

  • Find a professional therapist or counselor who specializes in problem gambling
  • Connect with recovery resources for your loved one (peer support, Gamblers Anonymous)
  • Get financial help with credit card debt, foreclosures and other money issues
  • Set up a “financial trust” so that your loved one who is gambling can have access to money for their needs but not for gambling
  • Learn how to advocate for your loved one who is gambling and for your family
  • Connect with others who are going through the same challenges including Gam-Anon and other support groups
  • Take care of yourself and manage stress

Resources for More Information

Maryland Families Dealing With Gambling Addiction is MCF’s Facebook Support Group. It is a closed group where people share thoughts and experiences and ask questions or request help. It is administered by MCF’s problem gambling experts and is only for family and friends of someone struggling with problem gambling.

University of Maryland Center for Excellence on Problem Gambling promotes healthy and informed choices regarding gambling and problem gambling though public awareness, and training.