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How to spot problem gambling

What is problem gambling?

Whilst for most, gambling remains a fun and leisurely activity, there are a small percentage of people who experience some level of problem gambling and/or gambling-related harm.

There are a number of signs that you can look out for, including:

Considerations about your own gambling:

  1. Are you preoccupied with gambling and unable to stop?
  2. Is gambling reducing your time with friends and family or are you removing yourself from social situations so that you can go and place a bet?
  3. Is gambling an escape from the stresses of everyday life?
  4. Are you chasing your losses after losing a bet?
  5. Are you hiding how much you spend on gambling or lying about your activity to friends and family?

What should I look out for if I am concerned about someone else? 

Behaviour, mood and relationship signs:

  • Withdrawn and uncommunicative
  • Finding it hard to do their job
  • Quick to snap at you or others for no reason
  • Appearing flat, unmotivated or depressed
  • Using threats, lies or charm to manipulate others
  • Changing behaviours like sleep, eating, alcohol or drug use or sexual activity

Financial signs:

  • Often asking for money even though they have a job
  • Money missing from joint bank accounts or your purse/wallet
  • Valuables like jewellery or household items like TVs or computers suddenly disappear
  • Juggling multiple loans and credit cards
  • Being secretive about finances
  • Unpaid bills/disconnection notices
  • Lack of food in the house

Activity signs:

  • Being secretive about unexplained absence
  • Running late or missing commitments
  • Taking lots of sick days or days off
  • Taking longer than usual for simple jobs. For example, a quick run to the shops takes a couple of hours

Where can I get additional information and help?

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