Starting the conversation about gambling with someone you care about can be confronting. You might feel stressed, nervous and scared. Talking to a counsellor about your feelings can help and you can also get some professional advice on how to tackle the conversation.

Keep in mind that your safety is a priority and if you do not feel safe starting the conversation, leave it for now.

Often people will not limit or stop gambling until they believe that change is the only alternative. The same free and confidential help is available to you as a family member, partner or friend.

Practical tips before you start

  • Think about your timing. When are they most likely to be calm and open to talking? Choose a time when you feel calm and in control of your emotions.
  • Tell them clearly and calmly how their gambling is impacting you — be honest so they understand what it’s really doing to you.
  • Listen to what they say and repeat it back to them in your own words. This can help them feel like they're being listened to and understood.
  • Give them the facts about gambling. Many people have false ideas about how gambling works. Show them these gambling facts.
  • Ask them to assess their gambling. They can use this calculator to work out how much money they are spending and what else they could be using it on.
  • Encourage them to seek help. Free, confidential and non-judgemental help is available. A counsellor can mediate between you and the person with the gambling problem.
  • You can show them where to get help, but you can’t do it for them. If they want to deal with their gambling by themselves, point them to the strategies in Help yourself.

If you need further support before you have the conversation, visit We can help