gambling help

Are you concerned about someone else's gambling?

If you suspect that someone you care about has a gambling problem, then pause before you rush in and tell them to simply stop gambling.

When someone loses the ability to control their gambling it can be very difficult for them to stop. It becomes like an addiction. Confronting them with anger, demands and ultimatums may result in conflict, denial and avoidance. The person with a gambling problem becomes secretive and dishonest.

Family members and friends are disappointed when they discover the lies and when promises are broken. What can you do?

Speak to a counsellor

How is the person's gambling affecting you? Do you feel angry, upset, untrusting? Are you anxious or depressed because of financial issues?

Family members are often significantly affected by a person's gambling problem. Family members may not seek help for themselves because they are too focused on getting the gambler helped. Sometimes the best way to help someone else is by helping yourself first. Counselling can benefit you by ensuring you are properly supported in relation to your family member's gambling.

A BetSafe counsellor can also help you better understand the nature of the person’s gambling problem and the challenges they face in overcoming the urge to gamble. The counsellor will help you understand your own feelings and emotions and provide you with strategy and support to engage the person positively.

Through BetSafe your club provides a free and confidential gambling counselling service for family members and friends of problem gamblers. BetSafe offers counselling appointments by face-to-face, telephone and Skype.

The BetSafe gambling counselling service can be contacted 24 hours a day on 1800 BETSAFE (1800 238 723).

Arrange for your family member to be banned from gambling

All BetSafe clubs have self-exclusion programs in place to assist problem gamblers to control their urge to gamble. The quickest and simplest way for your family member or friend to self-exclude is doing so at your local BetSafe club. All BetSafe clubs have staff on duty who are trained in processing a self-exclusion. The process generally takes 10-15 minutes at any time during the club's trading hours.

If you are concerned about the person being tempted to gamble at your local BetSafe club, they can arrange an appointment with a BetSafe counsellor and complete the paperwork directly through BetSafe.

Don't think your family member or friend would be willing to self-exclude? All BetSafe clubs have formalised third party exclusion procedures in place. Third party exclusion allows family members to apply to have a problem gambler excluded from gambling. There are pros and cons to self-exclusion vs third party exclusion.

BetSafe can assist you to understand what type of exclusion will be most appropriate and also to obtain the necessary evidence to apply to have your family member excluded from your local BetSafe club.

For more information about exclusion the BetSafe gambling counselling service can be contacted 24 hours a day on 1800 BETSAFE (1800 238 723).

Attend a family member support group

Are you having difficulty coping with your family member or friend's gambling? Do you find that your family and friends don't understand how you are feeling? Would it help you to learn how other family members have encouraged a gambler to seek help?

Attending a support group may assist you and other family members (including the gambler). Gam-Anon (a sister organisation of Gamblers Anonymous) provides meetings for family members of problem gamblers. You can meet and speak to other people who are, or have been, in the same position as you.

We urge you visit the Gam-Anon website for more information and details on your local meeting.

BetSafe can provide you with more information on meeting locations and times in your local area by contacting 1800 BETSAFE (1800 238 723).

BetSafe has no affiliation with Gam-Anon, but is a strong advocate for them and they have helped many of our clients.

Admitting they have a problem

“I know that as the partner you are aware they have a problem. The question is, are they? Unfortunately, particularly for you, the precipitating factor for them wanting help is that they are in some crisis due to gambling. This crisis could include some of the following:

  • gambling money earmarked for some other purpose-food, clothes, rent and bills.
  • stealing money.
  • borrowing money and now is unable to repay the loan or loans.
  • losing wages or salary soon after being paid.

The list can be endless. The first thing they need to do is tell you everything. And I mean everything. This will not be as simple as it sounds. I am sure that you have become aware that when it comes to money and gambling they are very secretive. So they will need to overcome the hazards of communication.”

Extract from How to Stop Gambling by Paul Symond (at p. 112)

Protect your assets and finances

Your family member may jeopardise family finances and put assets such as the family home at risk. Don’t agree to pay their debts in exchange for a promise to stop gambling. Promises are easily broken and getting them out of trouble removes the motivation to change.

BetSafe can arrange for family members to speak to our independent lawyer at no cost for advice about protecting family assets.

To arrange to speak to our independent lawyer contact BetSafe 24 hours a day on 1800 BETSAFE (1800 238 723).

Cut off all sources of money

People who gamble in a problematic way require money to continue gambling. There are a number of benefits to cutting off your family member or friend's access to money:

  1. If they cannot get access to money whenever they want, it can stop their gambling or slow it down.
  2. It may assist in enforcing some form of budgeting.

Some family members arrange for wages to be paid into an account which cannot be accessed by the gambler. Others ensure direct debits are set up to ensure bills are paid before money can be accessed. Providing the gambler with "pocket money" which is just sufficient to purchase necessities can assist in removing their access to money.

BetSafe counsellors can provide you with advice about how to best restrict access to money.

For more information the BetSafe gambling counselling service can be contacted 24 hours a day on 1800 BETSAFE (1800 238 723).

Comprehensive guide to stopping gambling

BetSafe founder, Paul Symond, wrote the book 'How to Stop Gambling'. This book is relevant to both gamblers and their family members. This book provides an in depth explanation as to why people gamble, case studies of actual gamblers helped by Paul, strategies used by counsellors to assist gamblers and many tools/strategies that can be used by family members to assist someone with gambling problems.

This book normally sells for $22.95 in bookstores, however, BetSafe can provide patrons of BetSafe clubs with a free copy of this book.

To arrange for your free copy of 'How to Stop Gambling' contact BetSafe 24 hours a day on 1800 BETSAFE (1800 238 723).