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Identifying a problem gambler

If you suspect a friend, colleague or family member of having a gambling problem, there are a number of signs which you may be able to identify or look out for.

This is not an all-encompassing list, however the more of these signs that appear to fit with the person, the more likely they need to seek help for their gambling:

  • Preoccupied with gambling and unable to stop.
  • Spending increased time on gambling sites or visiting gambling venues.
  • Bragging about gambling, exaggerating wins and minimising losses.
  • Losing interest in other pastimes and hobbies, refusing invitations to social events.
  • Spending increased amounts of their free time gambling.
  • Gambling with increased amounts of money.
  • Chasing their losses to win the money back.
  • Borrowing money to gamble more or pay off gambling debt.
  • Unpaid bills and debts.
  • Unexplained absences from work or social occasions.
  • Ability to control gambling is lost and efforts to reduce or stop gambling are unsuccessful.
  • Being secretive about their gambling habits.
  • Lying to conceal the extent of gambling.
  • Swings in mood or behaviour.

If you notice any number of these signs mentioned in someone you know, you may have identified a problem. There are a number of support options that are available and some of them are listed here - Support agencies for gambling addiction.