Signs a young person has a gambling problem

These are the signs to look out for if you think someone you’re close to might have a gambling problem

Written by spunout


There are a few signs you can look out for if you think a friend has developed a gambling problem. Even if they won’t admit it themselves, if you notice a change in them, especially around their gambling habits, then there is a chance they are a problem gambler.

What is a problem gambler?

A problem gambler is someone who is unable to stop gambling despite the negative consequences. Even if a person is losing money, friends and family, a problem gambler will keep on gambling.

If you’re worried about someone close you, find out how you can support someone with a gambling problem here.

How to tell a young person has a gambling problem

  • Spending more and more money on gambling
  • Using money meant for things like buying lunch, taking the bus, or paying rent to gamble instead
  • Having debt that they can’t explain
  • Spending a lot of time on their phone or computer using gambling apps and websites
  • Their grades have dropped and they can’t get their schoolwork or college assignments finished on time
  • Talking a lot about gambling, bragging about their gambling wins and minimising their losses
  • An increased interest in news sites and sports results
  • Lying about time and money spent on gambling when they’re asked about it
  • No explanation for having large amounts of cash or expensive items
  • Borrowing or stealing money to gamble or to pay off a debt
  • A change in their personality or behaviour
  • Sudden, unexplained absences from school, college or work
  • Arriving late and leaving early for school, college or work
  • Losing interest in activities they usually enjoy
  • Spending less time with family and friends
  • Intense mood swings, especially after winning or losing a bet

How can I stop gambling?

Gambling can be difficult to give up and you may have to try a few different things, but recovery is possible no matter how hopeless the situation may feel.

You can contact Gambler’s Anonymous for information, advice and support.

Find out more about support services for gambling problems.

Feeling overwhelmed and want to talk to someone?

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