Signs of Gambling Harm For Whānau

Signs that indicate a person may have gambling problems

Gambling behaviours

  • Frequently thinks and talks about gambling
  • Increases the time they spend gambling or has a pattern of gambling for longer than intended
  • Expresses a strong desire or craving to gamble
  • Complains of boredom or is restless when they are not gambling
  • Gambles rather than doing things they previously enjoyed
  • Continues to gamble despite promising to stop
  • Repeated unsuccessful attempts to control, cut back or stop gambling
  • Gambles to escape problems
  • Celebrates their wins by gambling more
  • Demonstrates a pattern of returning to gambling in order to recover losses
  • Is evasive about gambling losses
  • Lies to cover up or fund gambling activities
  • Commits illegal acts to fund gambling, e.g. embezzlement, fraud
  • Experiences legal problems related to gambling
  • Becomes defensive or angry when asked about their gambling
  • Blames others for their gambling or its consequences

After gambling, expresses:

  • Remorse
  • Guilt
  • Depressed feelings
  • Hopelessness
  • Fear of others finding out
  • Worry over where they will get money to cover living expenses
  • Anger towards themselves, or family and friends.
  • Does not look after their health as a result of their gambling activities, e.g. does not take medication or eat a healthy diet

Financial signs

  • Does not want to spend money on anything but gambling
  • Increases their usage of or acquires additional credit cards
  • Complains about mounting debts
  • Takes on extra jobs or works for overtime pay, but has no money to show for it
  • Makes promises to pay back family and friends but never does so
  • Consistently late in paying bills or misses payments entirely
  • Frequently contacted by debt collectors
  • Owes money to a loan shark
  • Believes that gambling will solve financial difficulties or bring material wealth
  • Experiences financial hardship as a result of gambling
  • Valuables disappear (and may reappear) without explanation
  • Hides financial statements or is secretive about money
  • Unexplained missing amounts of money from the house or bank accounts
  • Pattern of unexplained loss of money
  • Borrows money to gamble or to pay gambling debts
  • Over time, increases the amount of money spent on gambling.

Social signs

  • Social life or relationships have been negatively affected as a result of gambling
  • Becomes isolated from others because of gambling
  • Disappears from social events where gambling is also available, in order to gamble
  • Unable to be emotionally present or involved in social situations because they are pre-occupied with gambling
  • Has conflicts with others about money
  • Is criticised by others for their gambling.

Signs evident at home

  • Neglects the basic care of their children, or breaks promises to their children about buying them things or spending time with them due to gambling activities
  • Steals from family or friends to fund Gambling

Whānau/Family members:

  • Find evidence of regular gambling, e.g. gambling receipts, Internet browser history, bank statements
  • Hide money from the person in order to cover living expenses
  • Believe they can’t trust the person with money
  • Are frequently contacted by debt collectors
  • Experience negative emotions as a result of the person’s gambling, e.g. sadness, anxiety, stress, anger
  • Threaten to leave or break up the family due to the person’s gambling
  • Experience financial hardship as a result of the person’s gambling.

If you are impacted by another person’s gambling, help is available. Our counsellors are professional, free and everything discussed with them is confidential. They can help you work out a plan and strategies to create change and reduce the harm within your whānau/family.