Support for you

Those affected by other people’s gambling often experience feelings of sadness, anxiety, stress or anger. So it is important to get help for yourself.

Family members and friends of problem gamblers often focus energy and attention on trying to change the behaviour of the gambler. They believe that if the gambling changes their situation will improve. Sometimes family and friends are so focussed on assisting the gambler that they lose focus on their own self-care.

Common challenges for family members and friends of problem gamblers include:

  • Emotional distress

  • Difficult relationships with the gambler including: feeling pressure to do more to help out; less quality time together; anger; arguments; avoiding each other; loss of trust and feelings of betrayal; loss of respect for the gambler; cycles of blame

  • Mood problems including depression, sadness or anxiety

  • Financial difficulties including: increased debt; feeling pressure to cut back on spending; making changes such as returning to work or selling household items

  • Physical health problems.


Family and friends may demonstrate a range of helpful and unhelpful coping responses.


  • Increased drinking, smoking, eating or spending

  • Arguing with the person who is gambling, criticising them or threatening to end a relationship

  • Supporting and enabling the continued gambling by covering up neglected financial, relationship and work responsibilities.


  • Seeking out professional help from a general practitioner or counsellor

  • Setting sensible boundaries to prevent the gambling behaviours from affecting financial commitments and investments.


Given the challenges that friends and family members experience, they may benefit from professional support. Some help options for family and friends include:

  • The Gambling Helpline – call 1800 858 858 to discuss help options.

  • The Gambling Help service – offers free and confidential face-to-face counselling support to those affected by gambling problems, including family and friends. Call 1800 858 858 for a referral or contact your local Gambling Help service directly.

  • Gamblers Anonymous – peer support group for family and friends of problem gamblers.

Contact us

If gambling has become a problem for you, or someone you care about, get some help. It’s free and confidential.

Call the Gambling Helpline on 1800 858 858 anytime 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

Click for face-to-face counselling locations

Click for online counselling and real time chat