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Gambling is all about playing games of chance and like any game, it’s meant to be fun. But gambling can become a problem when it starts to affect daily life.

Does it interfere with work, school or other activities? Are there new physical or emotional health issues? Growing financial concerns? Is it starting to take a toll on relationships? These are questions that can help identify when gambling is a problem.

How to tell when it's time for help

Problem gambling is sometimes considered a hidden addiction, since the signals are not always easy to read. Whether it's you or a loved one, there are warning signs that show when it's become more than simple entertainment.

Here's a quick checklist for signs of problem gambling. Do you or a loved one:

  • Gamble to escape other concerns?
  • Play longer than expected or planned?
  • Miss work or school because of gambling?
  • Gamble with money meant for food or rent/mortgage?
  • Borrow money to gamble or pay gambling debts?
  • Promise to stop gambling, but continue to play?
  • Experience mood or personality changes as gambling continues?
  • Miss family events to gamble?
  • Experience self-destructive thoughts due to gambling?

Still not sure? Take the test.

When you decide it’s time for help, It’s important to know that there are many excellent resources for help and support available.

See the options here

Getting help early in the game

Gambling issues can start at an early age and evolve over time. That's why it's so important to talk to kids about gambling, and help them understand what's at stake. So, how can you tell if a young adult is at risk for problem gambling?

Problem Gambling in Young Adults: Look for the signs

  • Change in personality or behaviour
  • Unexplained absence from school
  • Sudden drop in grades and/or incomplete assignments
  • Plays daily or weekly games
  • Shows off valuable new possessions and is unable to account for them
  • Boasts about winning
  • Intense attention to published sports scores and conversations about gambling
  • Borrows or steals money
  • Starts to forget appointments or dates
  • Withdraws from family and friends