Gambling – not a problem!

pile of poker chips and money

Gambling it’s all fun and games¦ isn’t it? For most people gambling consists of penny arcades and the casual game of poker.

But for some, gambling can be a big problem.

While a lot of people will be able to gamble occasionally without negative consequences, some people’s lives will be hugely impacted by problem gambling. If you think that might be you, it’s nothing to be embarrassed about, and not something you should hide. Check out our advice below.


Is gambling a problem for me?

It can sometimes be difficult to tell if gambling is a problem for someone or not. Unlike problem drinking or drug use, you can’t see it, smell it, or feel any physical effects.

It can be useful to define problem gambling by asking yourself this:  am I continuing to gamble despite the negative consequences that it is having on my life?

If you want to know if your gambling might actually be a problem, click here to take BigDeal’s self-assessment quiz! 


What are the negative effects that gambling can have on my life?

  • Finances

If your finances are a bit inconsistent, loads of money one minute and none the next, it might be an idea to see how your gambling is having an impact on this. If you’re always out of pocket or have ended up in debt, think about how gambling might have influenced this. What can you do to make your finances a bit more stable? Have you thought about your budget?

  • Mental Health

The buzz of a big win and the atmosphere of a casino might feel great. For some people, the draw of gambling can also mean low mood and depression when they’re not able to play or something goes wrong. If you gamble and are suffering with mental health issues, consider whether the two might be connected. It can be really helpful to talk to someone you trust about this.

  • Social life

Problem gambling can have a negative impact on your personal relationships. It might put strain on your friendships if you’re not around as much, and close relationships will be impacted by changes in your mood or by your dishonesty if you try to hide how much you are gambling. For tips on difficult conversations about money, check out this article.


I think I’m gambling too much, what can I do?

Going cold turkey might work for some people, but this isn’t a realistic option for everyone. If you think there might be a problem with your gambling, there are lots of positive steps you can take. Start by checking out our top tips for responsible gambling and see how you might be able to apply them.

Talking to someone about a problem

If you’re worried about your own or someone else’s gambling, having someone to talk to can really take the load off. Here’s some suggestions of people you could talk to

  • Your youth worker, teacher or tutor
  • An older sibling
  • A parent
  • A friend you trust
  • National Gambling Helpline – 0808 8020 133

Sometimes in can be difficult to admit when you’re not coping with something. Remember that there is nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about.

If you would like free, confidential and anonymous support from experts on gambling and problem gambling, call the National Gambling Helpline on 0808 8020 133. Their Advisers are here to support you from 8am to midnight, every day, with lots of information and advice.


More information

  • Go to Money Advice Service for free and impartial money advice.
  • The National Debt Helpline offers free, confidential and independent advice on debt issues. 0808 808 4000
  • Debt Advice Foundation is a registered national debt charity with a free helpline and a range of online tools to help those affected by debt. Call on 0800 043 40 50.