Whether you think you might have a problem or know someone who may have a problem look for these warning signs:
Secrecy over money and finances
New desire to control household finances
Overdue or unpaid bills
Unexplained loans or cash advances
Lack of money, despite the same income and expenses
Unusual increase in credit card activity
Asking friends and family for money
Missing jewelry, cash, or valuables
Dwindling savings or assets
Missing bank or credit card statements
Calls or letters from bill collectors
Unexplained cash, especially when there are unpaid bills
Neglect work or family to gamble
Gamble in secret
Lie about how much time is spent gambling
Compelled to keep upping bets
Feel remorse after gambling
Gamble until the last dollar is spent
Gamble with money needed to pay bills
Steal, borrow, or sell things to get more gambling money
Dreaming or talking of the “big win” and how it will solve money problems
Celebrate by gambling
Gamble to chase loses
One’s gambling can have an effect on a lot of people and if you are not paying attention to your finances you may be in for a rude awakening if you find out your money has been gambled away. Here are some things you can do for a family member who has a gambling problem.
Take over the family finances – This way you can monitor any discrepancies with your accounts.
Review bank and credit card statements – Another way for you to be on top of your finances and notice any changes.
Request credit reports from the three main credit bureaus – This is the best way to fix any problems that problem gambling may have caused with your finances.
Monitor Internet use to see if the person is gambling online – There are thousands of sites where you can gamble online so it’s important to curb any action before it gets out of control.
Be honest about how the gambler’s behavior makes you feel – They may not know the effects they are having on you untilyou tell them how it makes you feel.
Get counseling or join a support group such as Gam-Anon – There are support groups for family members that will help you relate to your situation.
Encourage the person to go to Gambler’s Anonymous – It may not be the easiest thing to do but try and convince them that this is the best way for them to get better.
There are a lot of resources where help is available. Here is some information that will help you get started and may help you find support locally.National Council on Problem Gambling – www.ncpgambling.org or call 1-800-522-4700
Gamblers Anonymous – www.gamblersanonymous.org
Gam-Anon – www.Gam-Anon.org
Gambling has been a form of entertainment for many years, and many people can enjoy themselves without any problems. However, it’s important to identify any problems early before they get out of control and cause many financial problems. Hopefully some of this information was useful for you or someone close to you.