What should I do if a member of my family has a gambling issue?
1. Look after yourself, especially your health. You can help your relative only if you yourself are not under stress.
2. Encourage the gambler to take responsibility for their own debts. Endlessly paying their debts is not effective in helping them give up gambling.
3. Encourage two-way communication: encourage them to talk about their difficulties. Do not criticise or compel them to admit their wrongdoing; this will only push them further away from you, making them afraid to face you and their problems.
4. Support them emotionally: listen to their problems and encourage them to deal with the problems, helping them shoulder their own responsibility.
5. Oppose their gambling behaviour explicitly. For example, do not praise or congratulate them when they have a big win, do not use the money to celebrate or for shopping and never provide money for them to gamble.
6. Do not attempt to control the gambler: not only is it ineffective, it will also make you even more frustrated.
7. Assist the gambler to have a correct view of money. Many gamblers think that money is the solution to their problems. Help them understand that money has its limitations and encourage them to find alternatives to tackle their problems. Avoid blaming the gambler for the money they have lost, as this may give them an excuse to gamble again.
8. Pay attention to financial management. With the gambler’s agreement, assist them with managing their finance. For example, take control of the family finance. Notify banks and credit firms to stop lending money to them. In addition, be sure to not sign any documents that you are unclear of or act as a loan guarantor.
9. Do not help gamblers conceal facts to any financial compay: this not only breaks the law, but is not helpful for a gambler seeking change.
10. Pay attention to your own safety: when necessary, you can put important documents and properties in a secure place to make it easy to carry away in case of emergency. If you feel your personal safety is threatened, seek help from the police.