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Start a conversation about your gambling or someone else's gambling

It can be difficult to talk about your worries with gambling, but starting a conversation can be the first step towards getting the right support.

These conversation starters can help you start a discussion. 

If you’re worried about your own gambling, it can be difficult to know what to say. Try talking to a trusted friend or family member as a first step. You can also talk with someone confidentially on the free National Gambling Helpline: 0808 8020 133. Helpline advisers are available 24/7 to offer advice, information and emotional support. 

When talking to someone else about their gambling, let them know you’re concerned because you care about them. This can help them feel safe to speak openly and will allow you to develop and negotiate a plan together. 

You can use or adapt the words below to help you open a conversation about gambling worries. 

Talk to someone about your own gambling 

  • “I feel scared and embarrassed to tell anyone what I’ve been going through.”
  • "I have bills to pay and it feels as though there is no other way to get more money.”
  • "I started playing and it drew me in. It was the only escape I had.”
  • "I started playing this game, and it’s really easy to lose track of everything else. Do you ever get that?”
  • “These games really follow me around, the adverts and notifications are everywhere. What do you think I should do about that?”
  • “How would I even know if I’m gambling a bit too much?”
  • “I’ve not been feeling like myself lately.”
  • “I’m finding it hard to cope at the moment.”
  • “I feel as though I’m maybe losing control of how often I’m gambling?”

Talk to someone about their gambling 

  • “I can see you’re not happy at the moment. Is there anything you want to talk about?”
  • “Are you okay, you don’t seem like yourself at the moment?”
  • “I’ve noticed you’ve been gambling a lot recently and it’s starting to make me worry.”
  • “Do you feel your gambling might be tipping into something less enjoyable?”
  • “Do you want to talk about how you’re feeling about your gambling?”

Possible responses (if they don't seem worried about their gambling) 

  • “I’ve noticed you’ve been gambling a lot recently, is everything OK? Is there anything I can do to help?
  • “I’ve noticed you gamble a fair bit; how do you feel when you can’t?”
  • “I can imagine it feels quite lonely, do you want to talk to a friend?”
  • “This must be really difficult for you, but you might find it helpful to talk to someone.”
  • “Are there other friends that you might feel more comfortable talking about this with?”
  • “Sometimes it’s easier to talk to someone you don’t know about things that are bothering you.”

Possible responses (if they have said they are worried about their gambling)

  • “Thank you for being honest and not keeping this a secret.”
  • “How can I support you?”
  • “I really appreciate you sharing this with me, that must have been really hard. I hope you know you aren’t on your own.”
  • “Talking about it is a huge achievement – there are ways to get help.”

Possible solutions 

  • “I’ve heard the helpline can be quite useful. It’s not just there for when there is a problem.”
  • “Have you thought about visiting GambleAware? I know they have tools and tips on their website, I can have a look with you if you think that would help?”
  • “That must be quite difficult, I’m happy to help you find out what you can do about it.”