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Considering gambling's growing accessibility, it's vital to know how to spot the signs of a gambling problem and whom to contact for help.
If thinking about the topic of gambling addiction makes you feel uneasy, this is precisely why you should keep reading.
Millions around the world struggle with gambling issues, often in silence, but it doesn't have to be this way.
On this page, you'll find contacts for gambling addiction hotlines and helplines offering anonymous, professional support.
1. Understanding Problem Gambling & Its Impact
2. Worldwide & Local Contacts for Problem Gambling
3. How Can These Problem Gambling Organizations Help Me?
4. Alternative Resources for Support
5. How Can I Help Someone With a Gambling Problem?
6. Regaining Control of Your Life
Problem gambling, often referred to as gambling addiction or compulsive gambling, is a behavioral disorder characterized by an uncontrollable urge to keep gaming despite the toll it takes on your life.
It is a growing issue that affects not only the gambler but also the people close to them and often requires professional treatment or support to overcome.
Problem gambling is a global issue:
The youth are a vulnerable group
Helpline calls have surged in recent years, especially among younger individuals, signaling a growing need for these services.
Problem gambling can be different from one person to another. For some, it can manifest as:
Or it might take a completely different form.
In essence, when the fun ends and your wallet suffers, but you find yourself unable to stop, that's a sign there might be a problem.
I recommend you take a quick self-assessment test, to better understand where you stand.
It might be scary at first to reach out, I know. You might worry that the person on the other end will judge you or that you are not strong enough to get over your gambling problem.
But here's the thing: these organizations have helped countless others in your shoes. There's nothing you can say that will shock them.
Plus, they are professionals. They have a deep understanding of the impact of gambling issues on a person's life, and they offer compassionate support to those going through it.
When you reach out to these organizations, you have full control over how much of your identity you reveal. They respect your boundaries, and there's no obligation to disclose anything you'd rather keep to yourself.
And, frankly, what anyone else thinks of you doesn't matter. Your well-being and joy hold far more value than anyone's opinions or words.
Before we over the resources you have at your disposal to get help, we need to clarify the distinction between a helpline and a hotline. These terms are sometimes used interchangeably but serve slightly different purposes.
They both provide you with counseling and advice from knowledgeable people. The difference lies in how urgent your issue is.
If you just need someone to talk to about your gambling struggles, ask some questions, seek advice, or simply vent about your problems, a helpline should do the trick.
On the other hand, If you’re dealing with severe problems and need immediate help with your gambling habits, call a gambling hotline.
No matter where you are located, help is available. You can contact global and local organizations for anonymous support, sharing as much personal information as you're comfortable with.
Gamblers Anonymous (GA) is a renowned global organization that provides multi-lingual resources on compulsive gambling and hosts support meetings (similar to Alcoholics Anonymous) that take place online, by phone, and in person.
GA also hosts international meetings in over 60 countries worldwide, including:
For emergencies, GA offers local gambling hotlines. For example, in many U.S. states, you can call the 855-2CALLGA hotline.
Most common helplines for gambling
In the USA, the National Problem Gambling Helpline (NCPG) is widely used. On the other hand, in Europe, GamCare and Gamblers Anonymous are common picks.
In the table below, I've gathered some handy helplines and organizations in European countries that can offer you support for dealing with problem gambling.
|Úrad pre reguláciu hazardných hier
If you live in Canada, these organizations and helplines can be of great help:
|British Columbia Partnership for Responsible Gambling
|Addictions Foundation of Manitoba
First of all, in the USA, there is a centralized 24/7 confidential helpline that covers most countries, called the National Problem Gambling Helpline. You can reach out through:
Basically, you can call 1-800-GAMBLER from any state, and you'll automatically connect with a local health and government organization that can assist you.
However, some states have their own national or regional helplines.
Let's take a look at what's available:
|Arizona Council on Compulsive Gambling
|Connecticut Council on Problem Gambling
|Delaware Council on Problem Gambling
|Problem Gambling Network of Ohio
|Florida Council on Problem Gambling
|Indiana Council on Problem Gambling
|Your Life Iowa
|Louisiana Association on Compulsive Gambling
|Maine Council on Problem Gambling
|Massachusetts Council on Gaming and Health
|Michigan Gaming Control Board
|Mississippi Council on Problem And Compulsive Gambling
|Missouri Alliance to Curb Problem Gambling
|Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey
|New York Council on Problem Gambling
|Oklahoma Association on Problem Gambling & Gaming
|Council on Compulsive Gambling of Pennsylvania
|Kansas Coalition on Problem Gambling
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
Another trusted organization in the USA is SAMHSA, which operates a helpline at 1-800-662-HELP.
While the operators themselves don't provide counseling, they can connect you with the right professionals for assistance.
If you're from Latin America, check out the following contacts for problem gambling:
|Loteria de la Provincia
|La Voz Amiga Peru
|Jugadores Anónimos Uruguay
|Junta de Control de Juegos
The majority of states operate their own dedicated national problem gambling helplines. In addition, there are also several non-profit organizations offering free 24/7 support.
Also, the organizations I mentioned in the tables before are just some examples. There are other reliable groups that can help you with gambling problems.
These organizations offer various anonymous contact methods, including phone, email, or live chat; some simply provide resources on problem gambling and refer you to the national helpline.
Are you not convinced that you should bother contacting a problem gambling organization? Then, take a look at what they can do for you:
Keep in mind
Some national gambling addiction hotlines/helplines operate around the clock, while others have varying working hours. Always check their availability to be sure.
When you call a gambling helpline, you will anonymously talk to a trained professional or counselor.
They'll ask about your struggles and recommend ways to help you overcome them.
Just talking is fine
If you just want to vent about your issues, that's okay, too. You won't be forced to do anything you don't want to.
Depending on your specific issues and what you are comfortable with, they might offer you self-help resources, refer you to a GA meeting, or help you enlist in a treatment program.
You are free to share only the information that you are comfortable with when talking to the person on the other end of the line. They will respect your boundaries and won't push you.
If you're uncomfortable reaching out to gambling addiction-focused organizations or feel you need different types of assistance, it's okay. Consider these alternatives:
You also have the option to dial your state's emergency number for immediate access to a professional.
If a family member or loved one is struggling with problem gambling, there are many things you can do, such as:
Compulsive gambling can deeply affect both your personal and professional life. Fortunately, many dedicated organizations are prepared to help you with kindness and understanding, while respecting your confidentiality.
No matter how minor your gambling concerns may seem to you, it's worth calling a gambling helpline. Reaching out early can prevent more significant problems later on and keep you on the right track.
Recovery from gambling problems is a step-by-step journey, and it takes time. And you are fully capable of beating gambling addiction.
And hey, remember, you're not alone in this - there's a world of support waiting to help you. So take that first brave step today and call a gambling addiction hotline/helpline!