Skip to main content

Spot the signs: when gambling becomes harmful

Spot the signs: when gambling becomes harmful

Although many people who gamble don’t experience harms, there is always a risk that gambling can become harmful. Gambling harms can happen to anyone and they’re often hard to spot, so understanding the signs is an important step towards getting the right support.

What are the signs?

Gambling harms can be anything that negatively impacts the life of the person gambling, or the life of those around them. Here are a few of the signs of gambling harms to be aware of:

Chasing losses

This can also lead to borrowing money, selling possessions or avoiding bills to fund gambling.

Feeling guilty, anxious, or irritable

Financial or other troubles may begin to have an impact on mental health.

Hiding gambling, or lying about it

Gambling can cause feelings of shame, which can lead to it being kept secret; gambling in secret often makes it easier to lose track of time or money.

Spending increasing amounts of time or money

Finding it hard to stop or manage gambling.

Always thinking or talking about gambling

Struggling to concentrate, losing interest in other activities, or neglecting personal responsibilities; which can lead to further issues with work and relationships.

Things to look out for:

If you’re worried about someone close to you there are a few early signals to look out for:

  • They’re being very withdrawn
  • They’re spending lots of time on their phone, or the internet
  • They never seem to have any money

If this sounds familiar, having a conversation with them about gambling is a good place to start:

If you’re worried about how gambling makes you, or someone else feel, you’re not alone; 1 in 4 people think they know someone who has experienced gambling harms.

Available support

There is lots of support available for you and for those you care about through the National Gambling Support Network. You can take a look at the services they provide below.

The National Gambling Support Network