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Where to find help for a gambling problem

Have you admitted you have a gambling problem?

With more information published regarding the gambling addiction, it’s become easier for the compulsive gambler to become aware of the gambling problem. Most casinos post signs for anyone looking for help with their gambling problem. The first thing a gambler must do is admit they have a problem. If you know that you have a problem with gambling, here are some suggestions that can help.

1. Start with Gamblers Anonymous

The atmosphere in gamblers anonymous meetings is one of understanding and the members offer their experience, strength and hope to aid in the newcomer’s recovery. The members are not judgmental. New members usually have a difficult time at their first few meetings and tears are shed when he/she shares his story. The gambler will be shown how to develop new coping skills to reach a new way of life without the gambling. There are no ‘musts’ at the meetings, only suggestions and if the person follows the suggestions, they will experience recovery.

There are many Gamblers Anonymous meetings available in most countries but there are some areas where gambling is prevalent and no meetings have been established. Areas where there are no meetings, information may be obtained by writing or calling the Gamblers Anonymous International Service Organization in Los Angeles, Ca. A starter kit and information can be mailed to you. The GA literature has been translated into several different languages for other countries.

However, some gamblers have a difficult time attending GA meetings. Some because of the shame associated with admitting they are compulsive gamblers and some hesitate to attend due to the nature of their status in society. It would be difficult for a person in a responsible position such as a CEO in a huge corporation or an attorney or judge, to admit to a gambling problem. GA cannot guarantee confidentiality regarding information shared at the meetings.

2. Seek help from a certified gambling counselor

Counselors are available to help problem gamblers. Check the credentials of the counselor to be sure they have been trained to treat the gambling addiction. The counselor will usually insist the gambler attend GA meetings along with the treatment. Most counseling centers offer one-on-one sessions as well as group therapy.

3. Have yourself banned from local casinos

Another tool for the gambler is to have himself banned from the casinos in their area (self exclusion from casinos). You can complete a form as to the length of time, one year, five years, etc., you wish to be banned. You will probably be told that the ban is irreversible and that they can be arrested for trespassing if you are on the casino property. You will not receive any monies won if you do attempt to enter the casino and gamble. Although this may seem severe, this tool can help you recover from gambling addiction.

Photo credit: royblumenthal

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16 Responses to “Where to find help for a gambling problem
Honey Bunny
2:36 am March 12th, 2011

I did not know that it was standard procedure to request a ban from a casino. But it makes sense. Kind of like how some alcoholics are required to have an inhalation device before starting a car, or how they take medication which trigger vomitting when they drink. An extreme measure for extreme people. Does it work to help people stop gambling?

Marilyn Lancelot
2:43 am March 12th, 2011

I have many friends in the GA program who have signed up for the self-exclusion and they all say that it has helped them greatly. One person walked into the casino and realized, “What am I doing here. I could be talken to jail in handcuffs.” And she turned around and walked out. It’s another tool for the problem gambler and works the same way as, ‘Don’t keep large sums of money lying around.’ or ‘Don’t hang around with people who gambler.’

3:07 am March 12th, 2011

I do think that the most important fact is that a person must first admit that he or she admits to having an addiction or problem with gambling. After doing that the person may seek help but not before.

Marilyn Lancelot
9:20 pm March 12th, 2011

I have seen instances where the family of the compulsive gambler has scheduled an intervention and influenced the person to seek help. I have also witnessed gamblers attending meetings and hating every minute but continued to attend because of threats from loved ones.

12:08 am March 14th, 2011

Are there any legal options that the families can take to get an active gambler in treatment. Although I understand that if the gambler doesn’t admit he/she have a problem there is really not a chance for recovery but sometimes having been treated as an common addict could make the gambler change his/hers perspective on his/herself and then get to step one.

2:47 am March 14th, 2011

have a good friend who makes a decent living but can’t hold onto a nickel because of horse betting and card playing. he thinks i don’t know but when he’s frustrated and broke he says a lot of things he can’t remember.


Marilyn Lancelot
12:58 am March 15th, 2011

I don’t know the procedure for intervention but if you contact a person who conducts the intervention, they could tell you if they can be foreced into a recovery program or rehab. There have been news articles recently where a person has been placed in a rehab clinic for treatment but then there is still the question of whether the person will agree to what he is being told. Interventions can be a very powerful tool.

7:29 am May 3rd, 2011

I am a gambling addict. In an attempt to curb my gambling I filled out a self exclusion form. I banned myself for life. When 3 weeks had gone by and no response from the casino, I contacted them. Over the course of the day, “as a favor” security banned me from the casino and said that I would be receiving a formal letter stating that I was banned. About 5 weeks later, having heard nothing from the casino I went inside and walked over to my regular bank of machines and sat down and played for several hours. I won a jackpot. (probably about $1200, handpay on a nickel machine). As usual, I sat there and put the money right back in a machine. It wasn’t until I went up to the club counter to get my club card. (I knew there was money available to me on it, and I had now spent everything). It was then that I was told I would need to leave. Since that time, I have gone in two more times and gambled. I won one other jackpot and sat there and put it all back in the machine. So, I do not really know what or who governs this. I have been allowed to play, been paid jackpots, and sat there and put or played all the money back in the machine. I have not been confronted except for when I tried to get my club card. I believe the gaming industry should card people upon entrance and honor the self exclusion forms. Addiciton is hard to recover from

Silly Girl
6:54 am June 20th, 2011

I am an 18-year old girl who only entered a casino for the first time 6 days ago, since then i have lost approx. £1000 from my savings account. That money was supposed to pay for my car insurance and money to start me off at university. I am now in a state of depression and i dont know what to do. Please anyone who is reading this, do not gamble. Before this i was so careful with my money, i used to save everything i earned from my part-time job and now i feel like i have lost everything. It will take me at least 3 months working full-time to earn back the money i have lost and i am going to have to stop driving (because i cant afford the insurance) and stop doing the things i love because i cant afford to do them anymore. I started playing with worthless 50p bets and now i have lost in excess of £1000, please please please take my advice and stay away from casinos, they are the only winner!

2:01 am July 23rd, 2011 english is not enough good to understand u all..but i ll try to write u my in grandfather and his 3 brothers came to trabzon to eskiÅŸehir (thay r cities)before second war without shoes..with grandpa was smart man worked hard no gamble no alcohol no cigarette no any bad habbit..also his brothers fallowed him..and thay bought piece land at the skirts of city than thay become much more expensive when city become big..thay become billion dolars buissness man..than my father made buildings to their lands my father was also realy smart man..acount specialist..he can calculate from his mind 2 digit * 2 digit like 65*32 = he can say..he was tax record holder in our city in 1995-96-97 at beaulding sector..its first category..also my father also grandpa father gave me money bought me car when i was young..i couldn2t understand what money means never..and when my beloved like mountain strong papa die when he 50 when i was 20 what should i do ws money i racing ws friends..bets for matches than casinos ..i lostttt toomuch..when i win at casino at cyprus(in turkey casino forbidden) i was going to ukraine..for beautiful time to fuck that beautiful girls better exstasy than cocaine..i m not counting alcohol cigarette mariuhana so shame circle like this = to find easy money to play gamble casino to go ukraine to girls to go girls ws good head drugs to buy drugs and girls selling appertment shop whatever most easy than with that money gamble back..i m now 35 years old..i got married from ukraine ws a girl which i could find best in 10 years..i m thinking that god send her to me to save me that’s why i got married..if not i wouldn’t..i was not need..and 5 years ago my stomach blooded very badly had to leave said %50 %50 that travma made me leave drugs at once..sometimes smth bad actualy can be good..but gamble not like that..i m thinking my soul is gambler..i become gamb myself..i read u first time..bannurself from casinos here not very easy thay r not such managers here..when i go hotel thay dont have such lux to say me that u were told that u wanna be banned so on..than i desided to bann myself from all just ws my thinking to go philipinnes or phuket to live rest of my life near ocean..thanks god still have smth not much but not bad also at general..i m thinking if i dont play gamble and not bet to tennis basketball football what can give me pleasure in this life ? i still dont know..but i know sea very much..and sea no ocean around..i wanna die in open will be maybe will come to u funny my last word..but i m saying it seriously from the heart..not for gambs at all at all hard jobs as quit gamble..GOOD LUCK

2:18 am July 23rd, 2011

and i still dont understand why always lose..whyyyyyy..god made it as a rule..or i m damned or wtf? why is that circle must be like that and if there is no happy ending never than all gamblers are the most stupid people ever..if there was no chance at all for 20 years i m playing somethings its toomuch time to be stupid and toomuch money to lose..realy suiced is not seemed to me so far

Loosing My Life
12:16 am August 7th, 2011

Is there a inpatient facility for gamblers?

Losing Battle
1:04 pm October 8th, 2011

Wow, I never thought this would be me. I have gone to extremes to go and possibly win at the casino. I am now overdrawn at my bank and can do nothing about it for 2 weeks when my husband gets his disability. Thats one reason I go, not enough money but thats so stupid cause i go and spend what little bit we have left or go in debt for it, God help me I need to stop before we lose everything. I continue to pray to no availe,. I know God hears me, am I hearing Him?

12:20 am April 4th, 2012

I think the solutions are as many as there are people. Some need the steps others need something else.

Adnan Alisic
10:02 pm January 22nd, 2013


In today’s society, no person is immune from
being entangled in a web of gambling addiction, and
most common victims are teens, poor and senior
citizens. It is hard for those people to escape from
their temptation because they are surrounded by
different forms of gambling such as Internet,
casinos, or state lotteries.
As Ms. Lancelot explained on her site __MARILYN LANCELOT.
“How gamblers quiet gambling,” prison, insanity, or
death make compulsive gamblers quit. So if you
continue with your gambling without seeking help,
know that sooner or later, prison, insanity, or death
will catch up with you.

Lottery addict
10:37 am March 13th, 2013

I am addicted to scratch tickets and other forms of lottery betting like the daily numbers and such any suggestions where you can buy them anywhere such as a grocery store, convenience store or even at a vending machine?

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About Marilyn Lancelot

Marilyn Lancelot is a recovering alcoholic and compulsive gambler with twenty years of recovery. She has authored three books, Gripped by Gambling , Detour, and Switching Addictions. She also publishes a newsletter on-line, Women Helping Women for recovery from gambling. This newsletter has been published for more than 10 years and is read by women and men around the world.