Gambling Harms

Gambling is a risky game, with the potential to harm your mental and physical health. It can also lead to serious debt, homelessness and criminal behaviours.

Problem gambling is a common condition that can have life-threatening consequences. It can be difficult to recognise and manage, so seek help if you or someone you know is experiencing problems.

A relapse to gambling after an initial abstinence is often the sign that something is wrong, but there are things you can do to avoid a relapse. Find support, such as a gambling helpline or self-help group.

Your own feelings and emotions are important to understand. Learn how to relieve them in healthier ways – such as exercising, spending time with friends who don’t gamble, or taking up new hobbies.

You can also find support for yourself and your loved ones, such as a family therapy service or a marriage or relationship counselling service. Using these services will help you and your partner work through the specific issues caused by gambling and repair your relationships and finances.

Harms to your relationship with the person who gambles are another important dimension of harms and can be very significant. They can include things like the person who gambles causing a breakup, or threats to end the relationship.

Unlike indicators of gambling disorders or problematic gambling, measures that specifically target harms to the person who gambles are under-developed. They are not easily quantified, and are a source of uncertainty in the interpretation of gambling related harm across research and policy development.