Gambling Addiction

Ultimately, gambling is about having fun, whether you’re headed to a local bingo hall with your friends or just playing slots online. According to statistics from the British Gambling Prevalence Survey, about 73 percent of adults in the UK will gamble at least once a year, most of them without causing any long-term harm. However, the same study indicated that up to 590,000 British adults may have a gambling addiction, which means that their gaming habits have a negative effect on themselves and their loved ones.

Signs of Gambling Addiction

While the signs of an addiction to gambling listed below may not be present in all problem gamblers, recognising them in yourself or in others should give you cause for concern.

  • Concealing your gambling habits from friends and family
  • Lying about your gambling habits
  • Losing track of time while gambling
  • Betting increasingly larger amounts of money when gambling
  • Ignoring work and life obligations in favour of gambling
  • Ignoring relationships to keep gambling
  • Spending money you don’t have in order to keep gambling
  • Gambling more to chase losses from previous sessions
  • Failing to pay bills or cover living expenses in order to gamble
  • Borrowing money in order to gamble
  • Feeling stressed or anxious about gambling without being able to stop

Getting Help for a Gambling Problem

If you think that you or a loved one may show signs of an addiction to gambling, the most important thing you can do is seek help. In the UK, there are several groups available to provide confidential advice and support to those who are suffering from an addiction to gambling. GamCare is an organisation that offers phone helplines, face-to-face counselling and even online help for problem gamblers.

The most important thing to remember is that you are not alone, even when you are struggling with a compulsion to gamble. You can call the helplines listed below to get valuable advice from trained professionals who will understand your situation and can offer ways to help.

National Gambling Helpline: 0808 8020 133

Operated by GamCare, the National Gambling Helpline is open every day of the week from 8am to 12am. In addition to receiving support from their trained staff, you can also ask about problem gambling resources in your area, such as in-person counselling or debt advice. You will not be charged if you call from a UK landline or from a mobile using 3, EE, O2, Orange, T-Mobile, Virgin or Vodafone.

Samaritans: 116 123

Samaritans is an independent organisation offering valuable emotional support to those who call their hotline. Open 24 hours a day, you can call at any time to talk to a staff member about how you are feeling. By opening up to someone about your struggles with gambling, you might find it easier to reach out to other professional services who can help you stop for good.

Links to Online Help and Advice

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