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Help for problems with gambling

Gambling can harm many areas of your life. If you’re worried about your gambling, there are things you can do to get support.

Gambling is very easy to access these days with our phones and multiple options to get involved. This can mean that we spend more of our time and money than we want to or mean to, and it is easy to experience the negative impacts of too much gambling.

GamCare is the leading provider of information, advice and support for anyone affected by gambling harms, and receives over 44,000 calls to the helpline and live chat each year to support people to change their relationship with gambling. We support anyone who has an issue with their gambling or someone else’s.

Becoming so focused on gambling can increase the isolation people feel and it can also make it harder to ask for help.

Becoming so focused on gambling can increase the isolation people feel and it can also make it harder to ask for help.

Would you know how to spot if your own or someone else’s gambling is causing harm?

Gambling is also known as the ‘hidden addiction’, and often the signs are not clear. From experience, we understand that these are the most common ways to identify if your own or someone else’s gambling has become harmful.


Five signs to consider about your own gambling: 

  1. Preoccupation – Do you spend much of your day thinking about betting? Are you finding it distracting you whilst at work, or taking you out of the moment when you spend time with friends and family? Often thinking about or planning to gamble can be one of the early warning signs that gambling could be harmful.
  2. Withdrawal – Removing yourself from social and professional situations so that you can place a bet is another warning signal that your gambling might be going too far, and that the urges to gamble are potentially harming other areas of your life.
  3. Escape – Life can be overwhelming at times, and you might feel like you want to escape it for a while. Using gambling as a coping mechanism is a sign of harmful gambling and can lead to losing significant amounts of money.
  4. Chasing losses – The main motive of gambling is to win money but during a gambling session, that motive can change. Chasing losses is where your motive from winning money changes to winning back the money you have already lost. This can be dangerous and lead to significant losses.
  5. Lying – If you find yourself hiding how much you are spending or lying about the amount of time you are gambling, or perhaps asking for money to cover bills that you are spending. These are just some signs that gambling is harming your life, and possibly risking your relationships with family and friends.

How to stop a gambling issue from escalating.

Stopping an issue around gambling can be difficult if it has become a key part of your life. However, a mix of practical activities or hobbies to occupy your time along with taking positive action with the following steps can help.

  • Talk to a friend or a family member – talking to someone you trust is often the best place to start if you feel your gambling is going too far. Even if they may not be able to help immediately, sharing any concerns you have can be an important first step to stop your gambling from escalating.
  • Talk to a trained adviser at GamCare – if you don’t feel comfortable talking to someone you know, then talking to someone you don’t know can also help. Call the National Gambling Helpline for free on 0808 8020 133 where you can speak to an adviser for non-judgmental advice and support:
  • Restrict access to gambling websites – using practical tools can also help. Gamban is a software provider that blocks access to gambling websites, and you can also self-exclude from gambling websites through GAMSTOP for free. Gamban is available for free when calling the National Gambling Helpline through the TalkBanStop partnership.

How can I access support?

The National Gambling Helpline is operated by GamCare, providing information, advice and support for anyone affected by gambling harms.

Advisers are available 24 hours a day on Freephone 0808 80 20 133, via Whatsapp on 020 3031 8881, or via online chat at

The Money Guidance Service (MGS) was set up in the year 2022-23 and offers one-to-one budgeting and financial support for people who experience gambling harms. Referrals are made via the Helpline and structured support and practitioners, and we have referral pathways in place for clients in need of specialist debt advice.

GamCare’s Forum is an online message board available 24/7, providing a safe and secure place to explore your relationship with gambling.

GamCare run regular chatrooms, where users can use live text chat to talk about issues related to gambling harms with other people in similar situations, supported by one of our Advisers.

TalkBanStop brings together practical free tools and support which can help support people to control their gambling and maintain a successful recovery for anyone harmed by gambling.