Gambling, Gaming & Technology Use
Knowledge Exchange

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.
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.