March 2020 – When Gambling Becomes a “Bad Debt”

Problem gambling can lead to financial ruin, legal problems, loss of career and family, depression and anxiety. Much like a dependency on alcohol, the need to gamble may become the most important activity in the life of someone who gambles excessively. It effects all members of a family, is treatable and help is available.

How to Recognize Problem Gambling

Gamblers who are experiencing problems may go to great lengths to deny or cover up their problem. Here are some warning signs that may indicate that gambling has become a problem:

  • Gambling for longer and longer periods of time
  • “Chasing losses” – gambling more often to “win back” lost money
  • Neglecting family/personal needs to gamble
  • Growing debt from gambling
  • Absence from school, work or important social activities to gamble
  • Gambling to escape daily pressures and obligations
  • Involvement in illegal activities to finance gambling
  • Lying about the extent of gambling involvement


Do You Have A Problem With Gambling?

Do you ever…

  • Feel the need to cut down on your gambling?
  • Feel annoyed by criticisms of your gambling?
  • Feel guilty about your gambling?
  • Become preoccupied with gambling?
  • Borrow money to gamble?
  • Gamble more than you intend to?
  • Often gamble until your money is gone?
  • Lie about your gambling?
  • Hide evidence of your gambling (betting slips, lottery tickets, IOUs)?
  • Lose time from work or school as a result of gambling?
  • Gamble while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs?
  • Gamble to pay debts or solve personal difficulties?
  • Make repeated unsuccessful attempts to control cut-back or stop gambling?
  • Feel anxious, hopeless, depressed or suicidal because of your gambling?

If you answered “yes” to one or more of these questions, you may have, or be developing, a Problem Gambling Disorder.

Responsible and Problem Gambling Help Line
The Responsible and Problem Gambling Help Line is a confidential, toll-free service available to all British Columbians. It provides counselling information and referral 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Information and referral specialists can provide immediate information for problem gamblers, their families and friends and can refer callers to professional problem gambling counselling services around the province.   Their number is: 1-888-795-6111. For additional information please check out their excellent website: