Talking to someone about their gambling

Gambling Harm Awareness Week 2024

22 - 28 July, 2024

Gambling Harm Awareness Week (GHAW) highlights gambling harm's impact on individuals, couples, families, and communities.

GHAW is an opportunity for the government, gambling service providers, Gambling Help services, and the community to discuss Queensland's gambling harm minimisation plan.

Safer Gambling: We All Have A Role To Play

GHAW's theme this year continues last year's theme - Safer gambling: We all have a role to play.

Is someone you know suffering from gambling harm (commonly known as a "gambling problem")? Whether you're their friend, partner, family member, or colleague, you can play a huge role in supporting them.

By supporting our loved ones and peers who are affected by gambling harm, we can break down the stigma associated with harmful gambling.


Who: Government, service providers, and gambling industry service providers
Venue: Kedron-Wavell, Chermside 4032
Date: Tuesday, 23 July 2024
Time: 10 am – 11.30 am (Registration from 9 am)

Includes morning tea and networking



Supporting Yourself When A Loved One Is Gambling

When a loved one is gambling, it’s natural to want to look after and care for them.

But someone else’s gambling can affect our finances, mental health, and relationships.

Cal, a Gambling Help Counsellor, shares the story of his client whose son’s gambling was taking a toll on her finances.

Is your partner is gambling?

When your partner is gambling, it’s important to look after and protect yourself, too.

Our Gambling Help Counsellor, Tracy, shares the story of her client whose husband was gambling.

How can loved ones help someone who is gambling?

Support from loved ones goes a long way for folks experiencing gambling harm.

Wendy, a Gambling Help Counsellor, discusses how Matthew’s family came together to support him to quit gambling.



Choose a safe, comfortable place to speak.

This place should be private, free from distractions, and relaxed.


Choose an appropriate time for this conversation.

It should be when you are both relaxed, not rushed, and not distracted.


Voice your concerns while reminding them you're there for them.

Avoid blaming or accusing.


Be gentle and non-judgemental.

Be open to listening and understanding.


It can be difficult to open up a conversation with a loved one about their gambling harm. Consider a positive start before moving into more difficult topics.

  • Tell the person that they are important to you, you care about them, and you are there for them.

  • Highlight things you value about them and their strengths you have noticed they use to resolve other problems.

  • If you are uncomfortable having the conversation, mention this. The other person may also feel uncomfortable. Choosing to have this talk despite your discomfort can show your family member or friend that you care.


Using "I" statements can reduce feelings of blame or accusations for the other person.

Using "I" statements can also help reinforce that you want to help and that you are concerned.

Tell them what you’ve noticed in relation to the gambling and how you see it impacting your family member or friend. 

  • “I feel that gambling is affecting our relationship."

  • “I’m worried about the way gambling is impacting other areas of your life."

  • “I notice you are spending a lot of time on betting apps. You seem stressed and anxious when you play, and I am worried that betting is impacting your mental health."



Ask the person for their perspective.

Give them time to tell their story. Try to listen without interrupting, arguing, or correcting their experience – this can shut the conversation down. 


Individuals may feel ashamed about gambling and might feel uncomfortable talking about it.

Try not to judge, as this may alienate your family member or friend. Consider their perspective and their experiences.


Let them know their feelings are valid. Remind them you're there for them; they aren't alone. Reassure them that you care and want to help.


After opening your conversation about gambling, you may want to discuss options for change:

Don’t tell them to just "stop gambling." If it was that simple, they probably would have already made a change.

Ask if they would like to explore options for change with you.

Change options may be about the gambling itself or about the things that relate to the gambling. 
Common options for change include:

  • Reducing gambling
  • Changing gambling habits
  • Finding new solutions to financial problems
  • Finding new solutions to ease stress, anxiety, depression, or trauma

Some gamblers may not be ready or confident to change their gambling.

They may be open to exploring the reason why they gamble. Some common factors behind gambling include mental health obstacles or looking for a quick way to earn money.


If gambling harm is impacting your loved one, our free, confidential services are available.

We also offer help for those impacted by someone else's gambling.


What if the person does not want to change their gambling?

When talking to a loved one about their gambling harm, their response may be one of relief or gratitude. Or they may have a less open response.

Your family member or friend may not want to talk; they may become angry or defensive. They may deny, minimise, or justify their gambling. They may blame others for their gambling.

If the person does not want to talk about their gambling, or is not ready to change:

  • Continue to watch out for signs of gambling harm

  • Try to keep open communication and remind your friend or family member you're there

  • Support for you, as someone impacted by someone else's gambling harm, is available too.


Talking about gambling may bring up concerns about your safety. If the conversation turns violent:

Contact us

If gambling is impacting your life or a loved one's life, it's okay to reach out for help. It’s free and confidential.

Call the 24/7 Gambling Helpline on 1800 858 858

Face-to-face counselling locations