How do you know if someone is a problem gambler? This is a question no one wants to ask themselves.

If you’re worried about your friend, family member or partner, it might be helpful to know what the most common signals of gambling addiction in other people are.

1. Lying about gambling

Lying about gambling is a signal that your loved one isn’t comfortable with the time and money they spend on gambling. Or else, they’re worried that you’ll judge them. Either way, you need to know the reason they’re lying. And if these lies are covering up an uncomfortable truth of problem gambling.

2. Out of control finances

If you’ve noticed that your loved one is becoming increasingly bad with money, this can be a sign that someone is a problem gambler. If nothing else has changed in their financial life, but it always seems like they’re getting increasingly squeezed coming up to pay day, or even having trouble paying bills, this could be a sign of a gambling problem.

3. Looking for a loan

Does your loved one come to you or others for loans? Perhaps they’re even taking out loans from the bank. If they’re using this to pay directly for gambling or to pay for living expenses as gambling is eating up their income, this is a serious indicator of a problem.

4. Stealing for gambling money

Breaking the law in order to fund their habit, stealing money to use for gambling is a sign they can’t stop. This clearly cannot continue and they need professional help before things escalate even further.

5. Long gambling sessions

The amount of time people spend at their hobbies always varies. But if you’ve noticed that the amount of time your significant other spends gambling is running into hours upon hours every week, this isn’t a great sign.

6. Fights about gambling

Do you find yourself constantly arguing with your loved one about gambling? When this starts to impact on personal relationships that should ordinarily be a source of strength, your loved one needs help.

7. Spending less time with others

On a related note, when people are displaying problem gambling tendencies, the outside world seems to have less appeal. Think back over the last few weeks. Has your loved one started cancelling more and more plans, just to spend time alone?

8. Lack of focus on hobbies, work and studies

Hobbies, work and studies used to occupy a big part of your loved ones life. However, now they’re spending less time on their hobbies. They’re not performing well in work and they’re failing their exams. If they’re also gambling a lot, this might have something to do with it.

When you know if someone is a problem gambler, get help

How do you know if someone is a problem gambler? If they’re displaying any, or even all, of these common signals, encourage them to self-exclude from online gambling or at the very least, take a time out.

You can find support to deal with this yourself and encourage them to get the help they need too. Contact your local gambling help organization:

If you’re based in a country not listed above, take a look at other international gambling help websites and phone lines.