If you have concerns about gambling, please visit: BeGambleAware.org, Gamcare.org.uk or Gamstop.co.uk.

Gambling Help and Advice

Gambling can be an enjoyable pastime for the majority of us, however a small number of people can develop a gambling addiction which can lead to a range of problems.

If you feel that you have developed any form of gambling addiction, or problems associated with gambling, check out the sources below that can offer help, support and advice:

BeGambleAware is managed by the Responsibility in Gambling Trust, an independent charity which funds treatment, research and education about responsible gambling.

UK Tel: 0808 8020 133

Gamcare is a registered UK charity that offers similar support and can advise and help you through their extensive range of services relating to gambling.

UK Tel: 0808 8020 133

GAMSTOP offers UK residents a self exclusion service where they assist people in putting various controls in place to limit their gambling activities when online.

UK Tel: 0800 138 6518

Gamblers Anonymous
Gambers Annonymous is a worldwide support group that offers support and help required to assist in overcoming your addiction. They can be contacted through their website or by phone:

UK Tel: 0330 094 0322

General Gambling Advice

When gambling it is very important that you take the following into consideration and follow a few simple rules to limit the possibility of developing gambling related issues.

  • Decide on how much money you can afford to bet, not how much you want to bet.
  • When this limit has been reached, walk away.
  • Gambling can lead to addiction and seriously damage your financial situation.
  • If you lose don’t try and chase your losses.
  • If you have won a small amount then be sensible and take your winnings.
  • Gambling is a form of entertainment and is definitely not a get rich quick scheme.
  • There are no guaranteed winning systems no matter what you've heard.

Compulsive Gambling

A simple way to explain gambling addiction is to compare it with alcoholism. Just as an alcoholic drinks and eventually needs to drink more and more to have the same effect, so does a compulsive gambler risk more and more money for the buzz of the game.

Gambling becomes the central part of his or her life and despite the great financial losses and the impact that it has on their lives and the lives of those closest to them.

The gambler gets caught in the thrill of the game. It often starts when he or she wins a few prizes and gets used to the buzz of winning and then the dream of one day winning the big prize.

Eventually, the compulsive gambler is someone who plays for more money than he or she can afford to lose, but continues gambling and risking ‘just a little’ more in the belief that the good luck returns.

This loss of money many times results in the gambler borrowing or lying in order to gain money, only to gamble with it and get into more debt.

Compulsive gambling addiction is a progressive illness that can affect anyone at any age, although research has shown that the obsession with gambling often starts in the teenage years.

For some teenagers, gambling works as an escape from their daily life challenges or more serious problems. The boom of the internet has made gambling a lot more accessible.

Gamblers are younger and people who would not usually go gambling in public now can do it in private. It is therefore now easier for the compulsive gambler to hide the addiction when doing internet gambling.

However, the economic and social problems resulted by heavy gambling will sooner or later make the online gambling addiction obvious to relatives and friends.

Gambling Addiction

Although compulsion for gambling is different from person to person, the gambling addiction signs and symptoms are usually the same and can be seen as they escalate.

However, the progressive illness of gambling addiction that takes control over the compulsive gambler can be cured. There are different levels of gambling where one level often leads to another and for the frequent gambler this could mean a downward spiral to gambling addiction.

Not only does the prize feel good but also the sensation of excitement and the buzz a gambler gets out of winning makes him or her stick to the game.

The success might even give the gambler a sense of status and strength.

Following some lucky and/or talented wins, the gambler gets hooked on gambling and begins to risk more money and for longer periods. The small prizes are no longer enough and they dream of what to spend prize money on become more sophisticated.

The higher the win, the higher the thrill. After a while, the gambler begins to isolate him or herself from other gamblers in order to hide the extent of his or her gambling.

The gamblers enthusiasm for the game has now become an obsession for gambling. By the time when the luck runs out and the gambler loses a lot of money, he or she is addicted to gambling.

Instead of leaving it behind, the gambler sets out to win back what they have lost. With the belief that the big success is just around the corner he or she now spends more time and more money on gambling. However, it only leads to a far greater loss.

The addiction is now beginning to take control of the gamblers life. The hunt for the prize money has a grave effect on the gambler and not at least on his or her family.

here are suddenly no longer any limits or moral issues on how to get hold of money to gamble for. Lying to cover the scope of the gambling problems becomes the most natural thing for the gambler.

There is no formula to how long it takes to become addicted to gambling. It ranges from person to person and also depends on the game itself.

For example, addiction to horse racing might take longer than casino addiction due to the speed of the game. However, treatment is at hand, and once a compulsive gambler admits to the problem then the recovery can begin.