Our Loved Ones Gambling

When we have a loved one who is struggling with a gambling problem, it can be difficult for us to see. Especially if our loved one is not ready to get help or treatment. It can be challenging to figure out what to say when you are concerned about someone’s gambling. The message can get lost in translation, and you can feel frustrated or even angry. 

Why Is My Loved One Gambling?  

People gamble for a variety of reasons. It can be a way to alleviate boredom, peer pressure to fit it, or anxiety and stress that they are trying to manage. Whatever the reason, it can be difficult to see your loved one gambling more than they should.  

It may be hard to understand why they continue to gamble. Maybe you have already asked them to stop, or tried to have a conversation with them, but it has not gone well. It is important to understand why they gamble. Once you understand why they gamble it can help you understand the situation better. In addition, it can help you to consider solutions, take steps and feel more in control of your emotions.  

Understanding the Gambling

Your loved one may turn to gambling because they think it helps them to relax, pay off debts, take away pain or grief, or feel like they are a part of something. While we may know that this gambling is not going to help them, to them it is a way to cope.  

It is common for your loved one to change the way they are feeling about gambling. One day they may say that they are ready to make the change and then the next say they are not. Change is hard, and for someone struggling with gambling it can be especially difficult. Especially if they think the next big win will fix all their problems. 

What can I do?  

There are many resources available to you as a family member, even if your loved one is not ready to make a change. A great resource to start is the Know the Odds Family Member Course. The family member course designed to help families navigate conversations about gambling behavior in a way that will be more productive. 

In addition, the New York State Problem Gambling Resource Centers are here to help. We can offer treatment options, family groups, and additional resources. If you are looking for more information, visit to find the resource center near you.