Problems with gambling can impact you in many different ways, affecting your health, relationships or could leave you in serious debt, amongst many others.
Possible effects of gambling
The following are types of harm that are common as a result of problem gambling:
- financial – serious debt, bankruptcy or housing problems including homelessness
- relationship disruption, conflict or breakdown - arguments with friends and loved ones, relationship breakdown or domestic violence
- mental and physical health - this may include substance use, poor wellbeing, sleep problems, anxiety, depression or suicide
- cultural - the perception of gambling is influenced by cultural norms and often the perceived stigma attached to issues with gambling can lead to feelings of shame and isolation
- reduced performance in employment and education - loss of concentration in work, showing up late, periods of absence or poor performance which could lead to demotion, resignation, discipline, dismissal or withdrawal from education
- criminal activity due to financial difficulties, such as stealing from friends or family, or fraud
It is not only the gambler who is harmed. Gambling can also have a negative impact on others in their life, mostly commonly family including children.
The harmful effects from gambling may be short-lived but can go on, having long-lasting consequences that can make existing inequalities worse.
Among children, these harms potentially affect future development and parents experiencing gambling harm can increase stress on family members and children.
If you think you have a problem with gambling, you should visit your GP, who may be able to direct you to the most suitable services.
The Southern Health and Social Care Trust Early Intervention Service offers support for individuals and their families, for those in the Southern Trust area, who are concerned about the impact of gambling and/ or substance abuse in their lives.
It offers a non-judgemental accessible service to address the harmful effects of gambling and/ or substance misuse through one-to-one sessions, group and family support.
Families affected by gambling, drugs and alcohol misuse in the Southern Trust area can independently avail of support even if their loved one does not want to engage in the service.
You can request a referral through your GP or self-refer by contacting:
- telephone: 028 3756 4513
- email: email@example.com
Some useful advice is available at:
The are also further support networks available:
- Dunlewey Addiction Services: call free on 08000 886 725
- Safer gambling
- Gambling support: call free on 0808 8020 133
- Gamblers anonymous
- Extern gambling clinic
- Cuan Mhuire addiction treatment services and residential rehabilitation:
- call: 028 3084 9010
- email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tools to help manage a gambling problem
There are many tools available that you can use to manage your relationship and interaction with gambling.
Block gambling websites
You can choose to use blocking software if you want to limit your access to gambling sites or other services available over the internet. A site blocker can block access from computers, tablets and phones to many online gambling websites.
Site blockers may also prevent you from seeing some gambling advertising.
If you're concerned that you're spending too much time and/ or money gambling, self-exclusion can be an effective tool to help you regain control.
All licensed arcades, betting shops, bingo venues, casinos and online gambling operators offer a gambling self-exclusion scheme.
Each gambling self-exclusion scheme works slightly differently but all share some common features:
- you will be excluded for a minimum of six months (or twelve months for betting shops)
- you will have to show proof of identity including a photo or carry out an automated identity-check
- you will be removed from all marketing databases and you will not be contacted during the period of your self-exclusion (except about the online multi-operator scheme)
- you cannot leave the scheme before the exclusion period has ended
- if you leave the scheme once the self-exclusion period has ended, you will not automatically be added to any marketing databases
By joining self-exclusion schemes, you are agreeing that:
- the information you give to join a scheme will only be shared with operators within the specific scheme
- you will stay away from the venues from which you have self-excluded
While it is your responsibility to keep to your self-exclusion agreement, operators and their staff will do all they reasonably can to help you.
If you visit a venue from which you have self-excluded, you will be asked to leave and the other venues in the scheme will be told.
Block gambling payments with your bank
Most major banks now offer the ability to limit your spending on gambling. If you are concerned that you are spending too much on gambling, you may want to consider blocking gambling transactions with your bank.
Help and support with issues associated with gambling is available at:
Limit the gambling content you see
On Twitter there are measures you can put in place to limit your exposure to gambling advertisements or gambling related content.
You can control your Twitter experience by choosing what you can see and who you interact with.
Facebook offers you a number of tools to control the ads you see in your Newsfeed.
You can control your Facebook experience by choosing what gambling-related content you can and can’t see.
- Controlling gambling related content you see on Facebook
- How to control the ads you see on Facebook Updating your Facebook ad preferences using the ad preferences tool
On YouTube you are able to opt-out of seeing gambling advertising on its platform by adjusting the preferences within Google Ad Settings.
Whilst following these steps may not prevent you from seeing all gambling ads completely, it should limit them as much as possible