Help for friends and family
When someone you care about is not keeping their gambling under control, it can take its toll on your relationship with them and on many other aspects of your life. But, whether you are a partner, friend or relative, there are many sources of help and support for you personally as well as for those who have a gambling problem.
Gambling Help: Phone, face to face, online
Print materials, downloads and useful sites
Locate Help Near You
Gambling Help: Phone, face to face, online
Gambling Help is a service that assists problem gamblers and their families in NSW. It includes a range of counselling and self-help options that can be accessed by phone, online and face to face from most parts of the state. All Gambling Help services have a common goal: to help people understand and overcome problem gambling, and to provide support, advice and encouragement as they do so.
If you are being impacted by the problem gambling of someone close to you, then we can help with support and practical advice on protecting your assets and managing the situation. You can access the help just for yourself, or together with a problem gambler.
Gambling Help services are funded by the Responsible Gambling Fund on behalf of the NSW Government. All services are free of charge.
1. Gambling Help by phone: call 1800 858 858
Gambling Help runs a confidential phone service that is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It is staffed by people who really understand how difficult it can be to help a loved one who is a problem gambler. They’re not there to judge you or your family. They’re there to listen and, when you’re ready, they’re there to provide helpful, practical tips and information. The service is:
- Completely confidential. You won't have to give your name if you don’t want to and the call won’t even show up on your landline bill (though it will appear on mobile phone accounts).
- Free of charge for landlines and available as many times as you want to use it.
- A source of useful free print information, such as a practical workbook.
- A service that can advise you about how the problem gambler in your life can self-exclude from their usual gambling venues.
- A service that can refer you to face to face support services near you, and tell you what to expect if you decide to try them out
2. Gambling Help face to face services
There are more than 40 free face to face Gambling Help services available throughout NSW. Many of those services operate within other organisations – for example, Lifeline or Wesley Mission. However, they are all part of the overall Gambling Help service, providing the same counselling services. They can assist problem gamblers and also those affected by the problem gambling of a friend or family member. Several also offer specialist financial counselling.
Gambling Help counsellors are specially trained and have a wealth of experience in helping people find their way out of gambling-related difficulties. They understand just what you’re going through, and offer exactly the kind of support and assistance that you need most. They also understand the importance of privacy and confidentiality
For details of the nearest service to you, call Gambling Help on 1800 858 858 or look up our interactive directory in the Help Near You section of this website. The map allows you to select from all sources of assistance in NSW, or just to select Gambling Help services. It’s important to note that other counselling services may charge a fee, but all Gambling Help services are completely free of charge.
3. Gambling Help online
Gambling Help is also available online for people who prefer to use a live text or email-based service to talk about their gambling issues. Just like our phone-based service, it provides 24-hour real-time counselling and support. It is operated by qualified and experienced experts who are ready to listen and provide assistance. The service is free and completely confidential. You can remain anonymous if you wish, and return as many times as you need to.
Talk to a counsellor online now.
4. Gambling Help self-help
Many problem gamblers find our free SMS reminder service useful. They can subscribe to up to three SMS messages daily, to help remind them of the importance of getting their gambling under control. The messages include facts about gambling, encouraging messages and information about help and support. You may only subscribe to this service with your own mobile phone number – you cannot do so using someone else’s number – so try encouraging the gambler in your life to subscribe for themselves.
Many problem gamblers and their families prefer not to seek counselling but still need assistance in working through gambling issues on their own. Many self-help resources can be found on this site. For example you can listen to the stories of others; get some tips from Dr Clive Allcock in his video (see the stories section of this website); or try the interactive tools such as the quiz or the gambling calculator.
Also available is a free workbook that provides practical, sensible advice, and also shows how you can keep a gambling diary. You can either download the contents here or order it here in booklet format. The booklet has a plain white cover.
5. Self help guide
Download a copy of Gambling Impact Society NSW’s new Problem Gambling – A Self Help Guide for Families (4 MB) or click here to have one sent to you
6. Gambling Help in other languages
Gambling Help provides a number of face to face and telephone counselling services in other languages. These are also free of charge and available to affected family and friends as well as problem gamblers.
The Gambling Help phone counselling service (1800 858 858) can arrange for an interpreter to assist people with limited English. Just call the service, and tell them you need an interpreter in your language.
Gaming information brochures are available in several community languages here. They include information on the actual chances of winning on various forms of gambling. There is also information about problem gambling and information especially for friends and family of those affected by problem gambling.
Face to face Gambling Help counselling services are available through the following organisations:
|Arab Council Australia
|02 9709 4333
|Auburn Asian Welfare Centre (services the Chinese speaking community)
|02 9646 3695
|Greek Welfare Centre
|02 9516 2188
|Multicultural Problem Gambling Service (statewide service)
|02 9840 3329 or
1800 856 800
|Vietnamese Community in Australia
|02 9727 5599
Print materials, downloads and useful sites.
There are many resources, both in print and online that can assist you. One of them is our free workbook. There are also a range of brochures that can help you and the problem gambler in your family to understand both how gambling works, and what to do if you have a problem:
Gambling Problems in Your Family?
Gambling More, Enjoying it Less?
Betting on Gaming Machines: Know Your Chances
Betting on Casino Table Games: Know the Deal
Betting on Lotto, Lotteries or Keno? Know the Odds
Gaming machines, or pokies, are the most common form of betting for problem gamblers. In this 11-minute easy-to-watch video, actor Jai Laga’aia sorts out the truth from the misunderstandings.
- How do gaming machines really work?
- Can you affect their performance?
- What are the real odds of winning?
Watch the video
People with physical or intellectual disabilities may face particular problems when it comes to gambling. This website can help: http://responsiblegambling.net.au/
For an interactive demonstration of how different gambling activities work see the Powerhouse Museum’s website called Gambling: Calculating the Risk at www.powerhousemuseum.com/gambling.
Other useful sites are:
www.gisnsw.org.au – this is the website of the Gambling Impact Society (NSW), a community organisation that provides information for problem gamblers and their families.
Locate Help Near You
There are many groups and organisations who can help both you and the problem gambler in your life. To find the services nearest you, click on the Help Near You button on the left, and then locate your region using the map.
It may be useful to read or watch the stories of other people who have experienced problem gambling. The insights they provide could help you understand the issue from a different point of view. Also available is a short video by Dr Clive Allcock, an experienced professional who has helped hundreds of problem gamblers over the years. Clive gives a down-to-earth assessment of what you can expect if you access the support services on this website, and how to get the most out of them. Click on the stories button on the left.
Gamblers Anonymous is a peer support group that runs in many communities. People who have gambling problems attend regular meetings to share their experiences and offer support to others. Many of these groups also run a Gam-Anon group for the loved ones of people who are struggling to control their gambling. Many people find that talking with others in the same situation is a great way to learn useful coping strategies and to relieve their anxiety. Gam-Anon meetings are listed in the Help Near You section of this site along with many other local services.
You can learn more at www.gamblersanonymous.org.au/gamanon.htm
Here are some useful books that you should be able to access through bookshops, online or at the library.
Alex Blaszczynski. Overcoming compulsive Gambling: A self help guide using Cognitive Behavioral Techniques.
Simon Milton. Stop gambling – a self help manual for giving up gambling.
Paul Symond. How to Stop Gambling.
Robert Ladouceur and Stella Lachance. Overcoming your Pathological Gambling – Treatments that work.
Nancy Petry. Pathological Gambling: Etiology, comorbidity and treatment.
For family and friends
Joesph W. Ciarrocchi. Counselling Problem Gamblers and their families. A self regulation manual for individual and famlily therapyEdward J. Federman, Charles E. Drebing and Christopher Krebs. Don’t leave it to chance – a guide for families of problem gamblers.