Gambling problems can harm health and wellbeing and leave people feeling lonely and isolated. Gambling can harm physical and mental health, relationships and leave you in serious debt. It can also cause problems with employment, education, and your housing. Though it can feel difficult to do, it is important to ask for help, no matter how serious you think the problem is, to prevent it getting worse.
Having a gambling problem is common and often kept secret. Did you know that every person with a gambling problem has an average of 6 to 10 people around them who are also affected? This can include family, friends and children. We have provided below some key information and top tips to raise your knowledge and awareness of gambling related harm, to make it easier to recognise when you, or someone you know, might be at risk.
If you are affected by gambling, whether that is your own or another person’s gambling, know that help is available. There is a range of support to choose from in Nottingham. Take a look below at some of the local and national services that can provide you with help, advice and guidance:
Recognising Gambling Related Harm - a Checklist
Signs to look out for in yourself and others that indicate risk of gambling-related harm
- Are you preoccupied, finding it hard to concentrate or getting distracted by thinking or worrying about or planning to gamble whilst you are at work or spending time with friends?
- Are you withdrawing from social situations so that you can instead gamble or place a bet?
- Do you find yourself 'chasing losses', where instead of feeling motivated to win money, you are motivated to win back the money you have already lost?
- Do you find yourself lying to others about the time you spend gambling, or hiding how much you are spending?
- Is someone you know showing noticeable changes to their mood?
- Are you or someone you know having trouble sleeping? You might find you are gambling on your phone during the night, or finding it difficult to get to sleep with anxiety or worry?
- Are you noticing financial signs such as money missing from shared bank accounts, or is someone you know often short of money or looking at taking out a loan?
- Have you found that gambling has taken priority or caused you to risk losing a significant relationship, job, or other important opportunities?
- Have you tried to reduce the time or money you spend on gambling but with limited success?
These signs might help identify if your own or someone else's gambling has become harmful.
There is a more detailed questionnaire available on the NHS website.
Gamble Aware have also created a short quiz which takes a few minutes to complete and will start to give an insight into how gambling might be affecting you, or someone you care about. Once complete, you will be provided with tailored support should you want it.
Harms caused by gambling just involve losing money
- Gambling can be more than just losing money. Harms to mental health, relationships, social life, and physical health are also common. Some people lose their jobs, their homes, their families, or become involved in crime.
You can't be addicted to gambling
- The feeling that motivates you to keep gambling involves the same changes in brain chemistry that individuals who use alcohol and drugs experience. It takes more and more of that behaviour to experience the same "high". If that compulsion becomes overwhelming, it can become an addiction.
Gambling is a good way to make money or to 'get rich quick'
- Gambling always involves risking money on something where the outcome is uncertain. Gambling is a game of chance and there is never a guarantee that you're going to win. Chasing losses can drive you further into debt.
Children and young people are less likely to experience gambling related harms
- Children and young people can suffer the same harms as adults and are increasingly more at risk of developing a gambling problem. This is likely due to the accessibility of gambling activity through apps, websites and games. Based on national statistics, it is estimated that almost 1000 in-school 11-16 year olds in Nottingham show signs of a gambling problem.
I won't experience gambling related harm because I don't gamble every day.
- Even people who do not gamble often can suffer harm to their mental, physical, and emotional health, relationships and financial wellbeing.
I won’t experience gambling related harm if I am not gambling huge amounts of money.
- The amount of money spent does not determine when gambling is likely to cause harm. Gambling can cause a negative impact on any area of an individuals life, not just the financial side.
Gambling-related harms are easy to recognise.
- Gambling and gambling harm can be hard to identify and relatively easy to hide, particularly if a person gambles online. Look out for changes in a person's behaviour and ensure they have a trusted support network in place can help identify issues sooner.
Only people who go into casinos or bookies are at risk of gambling-related harm.
- Gambling takes many forms, and all of them can harm you. It covers a range of activities such as casino games, sports betting, lotteries, bingo, online gaming, and scratch cards to name a few. There are now many ways to gamble both online and in-person.
The more you gamble, the more likely it is that you will win.
- Each time you place a bet or make a spin on a gambling machine, your chance of winning or losing remain the same. This doesn’t change because of the amount money you have spent before, or whether you feel you are 'due a win'. Every bet or spin is independent of the last one.The odds are always in favour of the gaming company.
If you are concerned that you or someone you know may be a risk of harming themselves then please contact 999.
Visit the ASKLiON Mental Health page for emergency mental health support information.
Below are some actions to help you reduce your risk of experiencing gambling related harm:
- Talk to someone you trust if you are worried that your gambling is beginning to cause you or others harm.
- Set affordable money limits for yourself. What can you afford to spend? Avoid using credit cards to gamble, and perhaps use cash to better help you track your spend (when it's spent, it's spent).
- Find enjoyable activities that you could use in place of gambling when you want to have fun. It might be a gym class, going to the cinema, reading a book, or meeting up with friends, but it is important to keep things balanced.
- Try to walk away from losses. Often attempting to chase losses ends up only losing you more money.
- Set time limits to avoid losing track of the time you spend gambling. Plan another activity to do when your time is up.
- Take breaks by making sure you step away regularly for something to eat, to exercise, or to get some fresh air.
- Try not to gamble when you are upset or stressed. Making decisions is typically more difficult when your emotions are at play and you may be more likely to take risks.
- Only gamble with money you can afford to lose, rather than money that needs to be used to pay bills such as rent. Perhaps set aside a portion of disposable income that can be used to avoid dipping into your essential expenses.
East Midlands NHS Gambling Harm Clinic
An NHS gambling harm service for adults affected by gambling in the East Midlands. This service can be accessed virtually or in-person in Derby.
Call Free: 0300 013 2330
Al-Hurraya Gambling Addiction Support Service
We provide a bespoke service that includes culturally specific one to one counselling to overcome the challenges BAMER clients with gambling issues face. This is done with a public health approach.
Call: 0115 7869206
Time Out Gambling Project - Double Impact
Time Out has created an extensive database of useful resources such as a screening and referral pathway to GamCare, gambling support services available both locally in Nottingham and nationally, helpful tools and apps to assist with recovery and a dedicated section for financial/debt help.
GamCare East Midlands
Free, confidential structured support for anyone aged 18 and over, experiencing gambling related harms. Regular clinics are held at the Wellbeing Hub (73 Hounds Gate, NG1 6BB) with a new drop in service recently launched.
Call Free: 01522 274880
Explore information, advice and support services that have helped others to regain control, or stop gambling altogether. You can also access useful tools to help you feel in control again.
GamAnon is a peer led support group for affected others of people who experience gambling problems. GamAnon groups can be accessed online or in person, however there are no in person groups in the East Midlands at present.
EPIC Restart Foundation
EPIC Restart Foundation are a charity offering free support after treatment for people affected by gambling through lived experience mentoring and coaching.
Sporting Chance are a national sport funded organisation offering free gambling harm treatments for professional sportspeople.
Tackling Gambling Stigma
Tackling Gambling Stigma uses research to bring together powerful stories from a wide range of people affected by gambling harm. On their website you will find out what it is like to experience gambling addiction or be harmed by gambling through reading, listening and watching people share their stories.
For other ASKLiON listings related to gambling please click here
GamCare Youth Programme
Free, confidential 1-2-1 structured support for anyone aged 11-25 affected by gambling harm, including through cryptocurrency and gaming. This service also provides support, advice and signposting for parents, families and professionals.
Or make a Referral
GamBan - Website & App Blocker
is downloadable software to block gambling websites and apps on computers, mobile phones and tablets. This can be accessed for free via the National Gambling Helpline 0808 802 0133.
GamStop - Free Online Self-Exclusion
FREE ONLINE SELF-EXCLUSION
GAMSTOP helps you control your online gambling.
Once registered you will be prevented from using gambling websites and apps run by companies licensed in Great Britain, for a period of your choosing.
It only takes a few minutes to sign up with GAMSTOP. Just tell us a few details about yourself and let us confirm your identity.
Multi Operator Self Exclusion Scheme (MOSES)
Are you concerned about the time and money you spend gambling?
We can help you make a commitment to stay away from betting shops. For other self-exclusion and support options, visit here.
Alternatively contact the helpline on 0800 294 2060
Nottingham City Council has worked with an alliance of experts, groups and organisations who are committed to working together to help people affected by gambling related harm. Our Gambling Related Harm Strategy 2023-2028 explains how we will take a public health approach to prevent and reduce harm in Nottingham.
Click here to read the strategy.
Worried about money?
Free help is available!
Visit the ASKLiON Money page for information on debt management, budgeting, claiming benefits, reducing bills and more.