Guide to Problem Gambling

For many people, gambling is a way to spend a set amount of time and money on some thrilling entertainment. Whether they gamble in a physical casino or play online, they budget their time and money and keep gambling as a recreational and enjoyable activity.

Similar to going out to dinner with friends or going to a theatre to see a movie, gambling is an activity that doesn’t consume much of their time or thought. They enjoy gambling and, after they are done, they let it go from their minds until the next time they play.

Some people, however, have a very different experience with gambling. They find themselves spending money that they cannot afford to spend. They may need to play more games for larger stakes in order to feel the same level of excitement that they used to feel when they started gambling. Their thoughts tend to turn to gambling when they should be focused on their work, families, or school.

If gambling is taking control of your life, or the life of someone close to you, then you are facing issues of problem gambling. When this happens, gambling takes a financial, mental, and physical toll on your life. Problem gambling impacts your personal life and your social life.

Fortunately you are not alone; if you are dealing with problem gambling, there is help available. There are ways to determine if gambling is a problem for you or a loved one. There are multiple resources available to help control and treat the problem.

Ways to Overcome Problem Gambling

It takes a lot of strength and courage to identify that you have a gambling problem and then to seek treatment for it. There are many successful ways to deal with problem gambling and you can find a method that works best for you. These include:

Gamblers Anonymous and other gambling step-based treatments are modeled after Alcoholics Anonymous. These group-support programs focus on healing addictions, creating financial health, and improving mental well-being.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a type of counseling with a trained therapist that works on changing the thought processes that make you vulnerable to problem gambling. CBT teaches you skills to strengthen your ability to deal with the stresses that might push you back into gambling.

For some people, problem gambling can be controlled through medication. Depending upon the specific situation behind your problem gambling, medications for depression or obsessive-compulsive disorders can be very effective. However, we must stress that it's essential you discuss this method with a registered doctor.

Where to Get Help for Compulsive Gambling

If you have a gambling problem, it is important that you seek help from a professional immediately. If gambling has taken over your life, contact one of the agencies listed on this page.

A trusted primary care physician will be able to talk to you and identify ways to help you with a friend’s or your problem gambling.

If you are hesitant to speak with someone who knows you and your family, if you don’t have a medical professional available, or if you cannot afford a visit to a doctor, there are national organizations that you can contact anonymously and without charge.

Useful Contacts

United States

Gamblers Anonymous

United States National Gambling Help Line

National Council on Problem Gambling


United Kingdom

National Gambling Helpline
0808 8020 133


Gambling Help Online
1800 858 858

Australian Government Gambling Help Resources


Problem Gambling(Institute Of Ontario)

New Zealand

Problem Gambling Foundation of New Zealand
0800 664 262

South Africa

National Responsible Gambling Programme

0800 006 008