How to Help a Person to Stop Gambling


Talk to the gambler. Speak to him or her about the consequences of their gambling. Many compulsive gamblers are unaware of how bad their problem has become. The first step in recovering is for the addict to recognize a problem. Speak with them about the consequences of their actions, how they have changed and how their actions are affecting the ones they care about. Avoid judgment, and preaching as this may cause the gambler to become defensive. Let them know that people care about them and will support them as they strive to get better.


Stay calm. Anger can trigger defensiveness in many gamblers and even worse make them feel like they deserve to go gambling as they've already "paid" for it by being attacked verbally. Many compulsive gamblers have the desire to gamble due to stressful situations and any arguments may only exacerbate the problem.


Participate in other activities with the gambler. Suggest other forms of entertainment and do them with the gambler. This will help show them that they can have a good time doing other things. Friends and family can help occupy the gamblers free time with group activities.


Refuse giving them financial help. Often, the only way for a gambling addict to face their addiction is to make them responsible for their actions. Don't cover up or make excuses for them. Encourage other friends or family to do the same. When a compulsive gambler feels that they've run out of options, they may seek help.


Take over their finances. This tactic usually only works when the spouse is gambling. If the gambler is takes care of finances in a relationship, it's time to have the spouse take over. Not only will this limit a person's access to money, it will protect the non-gambling spouse's assets. Compulsive gamblers have been known to wipe out bank accounts, retirement savings and college funds (and even resort to theft and other crimes).


Get professional help. Educate yourself on the various gambling addiction treatments. Social services, local hospitals and religious leaders will be able to recommend treatment centers. Gamblers Anonymous is a support group for gambling addicts and Gam-Anon is an organization aimed at helping friends and family of compulsive gamblers.

Tips and Warnings

  • Join a support group for friends or family of gambling addicts to share experiences with others.
  • If the gambler undertakes or threatens violence towards themselves or others, leave the situation and get help. Do not confront them.
  • According to the National Council on Problem Gambling, 48 states have some type of legalized gambling. The problem of compulsive gambling has become widespread and it's estimated that 6 to 9 million Americans have some sort of gambling addictionr. Compulsive gambling can destroy finances, families, careers, relationships and even health. Helping a person stop gambling is an ongoing process and professional help or counseling will increase the chances of recovering from a gambling addiction.