Help for Gamblers

Does someone you care about have a gambling problem? When someone you care about is having troubles with gambling it can be difficult to know what to do, or know how to help that person.

Often people will not cut down or stop gambling until they believe that change is necessary. There is a lot of free help and support available to you as a family member, partner or friend.

Practical tips to consider:

  • Recognise the signs. Maybe you have already identified that there is a problem. Maybe you're unsure and would like to learn more about what to look for. Here are some signs that your loved one may be having issues with gambling.
  • Choose your time to talk. If they are distracted or aggressive it's unlikely they will listen and engage with you about the problem.
  • Be honest about how you feel. It's important for the person with the gambling problem to understand the consequences of their gambling.
  • Listen carefully. To what they are saying and repeat back to them what they have said to avoid getting it wrong. This can help the person feel that they are understood.
  • Encourage positive change. Try to focus on positive changes the person may have already made, or can make, and let them know that it is possible to take back control of their lives.
  • Give them the facts. It's common for people to have false ideas about how poker/pokie machines work, and what the odds are. You can get the facts to help dispel the myths. The Player Guide booklet (PDF 559.8 KB) describes how a poker/pokie machine works, and what you can expect when gambling with those machines.
  • Ask them to assess their gambling. People can assess their gambling or work out how much they're spending using our interactive tools.
  • Encourage the person to seek help. Free, confidential and non-judgemental help is available. A counsellor can mediate between you and the person with the gambling problem if you wish.
  • Perhaps the person wants to deal with their issues on their own? The self-help guide (PDF 184.5 KB) can help people control their gambling and help them get back on track with practical tips in dealing with urges, triggers and lapses.

What help is available for my friend or family member?

There are many services available across metropolitan and country South Australia.

The Gambling Helpline 1800 858 858 and the Gambling Help Services are free and confidential.

A full listing of the help services can be found here or to find a Gambling Help Service nearest to your friend, family member or yourself, use our interactive map.

How is the Gambling Helpline going to help my friend/relative?

The Gambling Helpline is a confidential service available 24 hours, 7 days a week staffed by counsellors who provide helpful and practical information and will refer your friend or relative to free face to face counselling, if that's their wish. You may simply want to chat to someone without any obligations or judgements. Helpline staff understand how difficult it is to get your gambling under control, and how difficult it is to call someone for help. The Gambling Helpline is 100% confidential, you may remain anonymous and it's free (although mobile phones do attract fees set by your mobile phone provider). Find out more about what to expect from the Gambling Helpline.

Judy from the Helpline explains what people can expect when they call the Gambling Helpline.

What help is available to me?

There is plenty of help available to you as the friend or family member of someone affected by gambling. Find out more about the help available to friends and family.

I feel alone. Who would understand what myself, and my friend/relative are going through?

It's common to feel alone and unsure of what to do, or know how to help your friend/relative. It can be comforting to know that you're not alone. Read about the experiences of others, these are real stories posted by real people. We support the sharing of stories on this site so that people will find support and strength in each other's stories and consequently, feel less alone.

If you want to share your own story, you are most welcome.

Help resources for your friend or family member

Help: Phone. Online. Face to Face

24/7, free and confidential Gambling Helpline offers support, information and telephone counselling 1800 858 858. The Gambling Helpline can organise an interpreter for you if you need one.

24/7, free and confidential self-help and counselling via email or chat Gambling Help Online. For information, self-help tips and support have a look at the Help and Support section.

Free and confidential personal, financial and family counselling and support. Call 1800 858 858 for a referral to non-judgemental and friendly Gambling Help Service professionals. Gambling Help Services also offer friends and family counselling.

Immediate help is available now. Contact the Gambling Helpline now for free and confidential support, 24/7

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