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Signs of Problem Gambling

Gambling problems share many similarities with other addictive disorders. However, there are no visible signs or physical changes that will indicate a gambling problem.
Here are common behavioural, emotional, health and financial signs of problem gambling:

Behavioural signs

The individual:

  • Stops doing things he or she previously enjoyed
  • Misses family events
  • Changes patterns of sleep, eating or sex
  • Ignores self-care, work, school or family tasks
  • Has conflicts over money with other people
  • Uses alcohol or other drugs more often
  • Leaves children alone, seems less concerned about who looks after them, neglects their basic care
  • Thinks about gambling all the time
  • Is less willing to spend money on things other than gambling
  • Cheats or steals to get the money to gamble or pay debts
  • Has legal problems related to gambling
  • Is often late for work or school
  • Organizes staff pools
  • Is gone for long, unexplained periods of time
  • Neglects personal responsibilities.

Emotional signs

The individual:

  • Withdraws from family and friends
  • Seems far away, anxious or has difficulty paying attention
  • Has mood swings and sudden outbursts of anger
  • Complains of boredom or restlessness
  • Seems depressed or suicidal.

Financial signs

The individual:

  • Frequently borrows money or asks for salary advances
  • Takes a second job without a change in finances
  • Cashes in savings accounts, RRSP's or insurance plans
  • Alternates between being broke and flashing money
  • Family members complain that valuables and appliances are disappearing, or money is missing from a bank account or wallet.

Health signs

The individual complains of stess-related health problems, such as:
  • Headaches
  • Stomach and bowel problems
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Overeating, or loss of appetite.

Youth Gambling Signs and Indicators

The following are signs of a possible problem gambling to watch for in youth:

  • Skipping school
  • Preoccupation with video arcades, Internet gambling sites, sports results or TV poker
  • Missing money without an adequate explanation
  • Borrowing or stealing money from friends and family
  • Selling or losing possessions
  • Large unexplained amounts of cash
  • Fake ID, casino entry cards, or racetrack receipts among belongings
  • An Internet trail

Are you wondering whether you, or someone you know, has a problem with gambling? Fill out this quiz and find out!

Do you think your gambling may have become a problem? There is help available.

Introductory Video
View a short introductory video to learn more about the Self-Help Gambling Tools.
Gambling Quiz
Answering these nine questions will help you understand if gambling is having a negative impact on your life.
Monitor Your Gambling & Urges
Use this tool to keep track of when you gamble, or feel the urge to gamble. Mobile App also available.
Community Forum
Share with other people affected by problem gambling on this discussion board.
Self-Help for Those who Gamble
Do you gamble? These interactive tools will help you explore, cut down or stop gambling.
Self-Help for Family and Friends
Does someone you care about gamble too much? With these interactive excercises, learn why they gamble and what you can do to help.