Harmful gambling

We know that for some people gambling can become harmful, damaging to relationships and risking serious debt.

Are you, or is someone you know, a harmful gambler?

Try the GamCare screening tool to find out if gambling is harming you.

As with other addictions, the consequences of gambling can have a damaging impact on your psychological and physical health, with 60 percent of problem gamblers in the UK suffering from depression and a worrying 13 percent attempting suicide.

What starts as harmless fun can escalate into a problem quickly. Recognising the warning signs can help you realise when it’s time to seek help for yourself or others.

Get support if you’re having suicidal thoughts

Spot the signs

There are a number of signs to look out for, these include:

  • Spending more money and time on gambling than you can afford
  • Finding it hard to manage or stop your gambling
  • Having arguments with family or friends about money and gambling
  • Losing interest in usual activities or hobbies and neglecting work, family and personal needs/responsibilities
  • Always thinking or talking about gambling
  • Lying about your gambling or hiding it from other people
  • Chasing losses or gambling to get out of financial trouble
  • Gambling until all of your money is gone
  • Borrowing money, selling possessions or not paying bills in order to pay for gambling
  • Needing to gamble with more money or for a longer period of time to get the same feeling of excitement
  • Feeling anxious, worried, guilty, depressed or irritable.

Tips if you’re finding it too hard not to gamble


  • Pay important bills, such as your mortgage, on payday before you gamble
  • Spend more time with family and friends who don’t gamble
  • Deal with your debts rather than ignoring them.


  • View gambling as a way to make money – try to see it as entertainment instead
  • Bottle up your worries about your gambling – talk to someone
  • Take credit cards with you when you go gambling.

How to get help

You are NOT ALONE and you don’t need to hide it any longer.

If you have a problem with gambling, or you know someone who gambles compulsively, support and advice is available:

NECA Yorkshire and Humber provides free, confidential and specialist support in Grimsby and the surrounding areas for anyone adversely affected by gambling-related harms, either their own or a loved ones.

If you are concerned about your gambling or another person’s gambling, here is a list of national services for support and advice.

  • GamCare – Offers free one-to-one counselling, couples counselling and group counselling for problem gamblers and their families and runs the National Gambling Helpline (0808 802 0133)
  • Self Exclusion – A facility for those that have decided to stop gambling for at least six months and wish to be supported in their decision to stop 
  • NHS – Offers information and further advice on where to get help, links to treatment centres and support groups, and self-help tips
  • Gamblers Anonymous UK – Runs local support groups that use the same 12-step approach to recovery from addiction as Alcoholics Anonymous
  • Gambling Therapy – Offers online support to problem gamblers and their friends and family
  • Parent Zone – Offers free resources and information to help professionals and families learn about the gambling-like risks children may face when playing online games and simple practical things parents and carers can do, to keep gaming fun and safer.
  • BigDeal – BigDeal is part of GamCare’s Youth Outreach Programme and provides a place for young people to find information and support related to gambling, either for themselves or someone they care about and also offers workshops and professionals’ training, free of charge
  • Gambling and mental health webinar – Bringing together a panel of experts to discuss mental health problems and online gambling and the way people are being supported.

Are you affected by someone else’s gambling?

When someone you care about is gambling too much, it can be a very stressful situation and helping them can be tricky. They need to know how their behaviour is affecting you.

For support and advice on what you can do and the services available, visit:

  • Gam-Anon – Support groups for anyone affected by someone else’s gambling problem.
  • GamCare – Offers support and information for partners, friends and family of people who gamble compulsively.

Page last updated: 10 Oct 2023