How to identify if gambling is becoming a problem

Is gambling affecting your life?

How to identify if gambling is becoming a problem

The majority of people do gamble responsibly. It may help you to keep your gambling under control by remembering the following;

- You’re taking part for fun - not as a means of investing your money
- Before participating, set strict limits on how much time and money you’re going to spend
- Quit while you’re ahead
- Only gamble with money you can afford to lose
- Don’t spend more money on gambling, hoping to win back money you’ve lost
- Keep up other interests and hobbies – don’t let gambling take over your life
- Don’t gamble in order to escape from stress or boredom
- Gambling in moderation is okay

For some people, gambling can become a problem. If you are concerned about the amount you are gambling, and feel it is taking over your life - or you are concerned for a friend or relative - then the following questions may help you to give you some guidance.

  • Have others ever criticised your gambling?
  • Have you lied to cover up the amount you have gambled or time you have spent doing it?
  • Do arguments, frustrations or disappointments make you want to gamble?
  • Do you gamble alone for long periods?
  • Do you stay away from work or college to gamble?
  • Do you gamble to escape from a boring or unhappy life?
  • Are you reluctant to spend 'gambling money' on anything else?
  • Have you lost interest in your family, friends or pastimes due to gambling?
  • After losing, do you feel you must try to win back your losses as soon as possible?
  • When gambling and you run out of money, do you feel lost and in despair, and need to gamble again as soon as possible?
  • Do you gamble until your last penny is gone?
  • Have you lied, stolen or borrowed just to get money to gamble or to pay gambling debts?
  • Do you feel depressed or even suicidal because of your gambling?

If you are answering ‘yes’ to some of these questions, then it is likely a gambling problem exists. For friendly and helpful advice from trained counselors call the GamCare helpline on 0808 8020 133. The helpline operates between 8am and midnight, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Calls outside of these hours will be taken by a message taking service.

Sometimes just telling someone about your problem can be a relief and it is the first step towards dealing with your problem. For more information and advice, you can also visit the GamCare website at