++ Gambling: Help and Referral ++ -
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Helping a gambler

The first ones to detect a gambling problem are usually the people in the gambler’s circle of friends and family. They spot the problem well before the gambler does. If you have a family member, friend, or coworker who gambles too much, you may you feel angry, worried, or helpless. Here are some tips to help: 


  • Choose the right time to bring up the problem—it is best to think of a few points ahead of time to serve as a basis for your conversation
  • Understand that the gambler feels torn—it is only natural
  • Talk openly about your concerns
  • Identify facts that point to a gambling problem
  • Candidly but neutrally ask how the person perceives the situation
  • Ask if they want to make changes
  • Be sure to protect your personal finances
  • If you are a spouse, tell your children about the problem using age-appropriate language and only the necessary details
  • Recognize the person’s qualities
  • Stay calm when discussing gambling and its consequences
  • Speak in “I” terms: Start all your sentences with “I think...” or “It seems to me that...” This way, this will prevent the person from feeling accused and becoming defensive.
  • Clearly set your personal boundaries
  • Tell the person what you expect and what you want him or her to change. Say that you are seeking help for yourself
  • If you are a family member, negotiate family finances and put controls in place. If the gambler is unwilling, make arrangements to protect your own finances as much as possible


  • Look for an argument or confrontation
  • Lecture or preach
  • Act as though you are better than the person with the problem 
  • Threaten or give ultimatums, unless you plan to follow through
  • Gamble with your partner
  • Exclude the individual from activities (family or social)
  • Expect an immediate recovery—change takes time and commitment
  • Blame the person
  • Lend money to, or bail out, the gambler 
  • Deny or make excuses about the problem to yourself, family, or others

514 527-0140

Montreal area

1 800 461-0140

Everywhere in Quebec