Talking to them

If you are worried someone’s gambling is causing them or others harm, it probably is.

They may feel embarrassed or ashamed, or they may actually feel in control of what they’re doing and not think they should change.

The sooner you tackle it together, the better. It won’t always be easy but help is available for both of you, including a wide range of free, confidential support services. Call 0800 654 655 or see the list of national support services.

Explain how you feel

Start by letting the person know that you are concerned because you care about them. Explain to them what behaviour you have noticed and how it makes you feel.

For example you might like to say:

“I can see you’re not happy at the moment and I’m worried because I care about you as a friend. I’m worried that you might be gambling. Can you talk to me about what’s going on?”

“I love you and I care about you. You said you were only going to gamble $20 last week but I see some extra money has been withdrawn from our account. I’m really worried that you are gambling more and I'm concerned about our bills."

Listen

It's important you are willing to listen to what the other person has to say. You might find they’ll say nothing. They might not be ready to hear what you’ve said, or they may not be ready to talk yet. They might also get angry and tell you it’s none of your business. If that’s the case, you may like to give them a link to our quiz and other tools from www.choicenotchance.org.nz or the Gambling Helpline number 0800 654 655 and raise the issue again in a few days. Alternatively, they might be relieved you’ve raised the subject of their gambling, and open up to you. Either way, be prepared to do some listening.

Can we go and talk with someone together

It’s useful to think about what you would like the person to do or what you’re willing and able to do to help them. It needs to be something you can realistically fit in and that you feel comfortable with. Tips and ideas are available on this website and free support services are available to both of you.

For example, you may say:

“I’m really concerned and I want to help. Can we look at this website and work out a plan together?”

“I would like you to get some help. Please call the helpline or arrange someone to talk to” or “I think we need to do something about it. Will you contact a support service with me?”

“I can help you set up a budget and automatic bank payments if you like” or “If you decide to gamble, that’s your choice, but we need to ensure we pay our bills first”.

What they might need

It’s a great idea to point someone dealing with harmful gambling to this website or let them know that free and confidential support services are available.