Sources of help for gambling addiction

A number of people who have posted comments on the Gambling Watch UK website have talked about their own gambling problems. If you feel that your gambling has become a problem, and you would like to seek support and help, we know of the following organisations that may be able to help you:  


GamCare is a national charity offering confidential information, advice, practical help, support and counselling to address the impacts of problem gambling.

For immediate help, anyone can talk in confidence to one of GamCare’s advisers, one to one, by phone (HelpLine 0808 8020 133) or online (NetLine, or chat online to others facing the same challenges on the Forum and ChatRoom.

GamCare also offers free face to face counselling throughout most of the UK, and online.

All of GamCare’s services are available to anyone adversely affected by problem gambling, including family and friends.

The GamCare website also has a series of helpful leaflets on a range of topics including dealing with debt, remote gambling and supporting a problem gambler. The leaflet “What have you got to lose?” has a useful checklist to help you to determine if your gambling has become a problem.

Gamblers Anonymous

Gamblers Anonymous run group meetings in 180 locations over the UK, where you can find support, friendship and help with your gambling problem. Everything you say in the group is confidential, and group members are known by their first name only.

Gamblers Anonymous use a recovery programme based on 12 steps, which is also used by other groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous. Acknowledging a Higher Power is part of this, but you don’t need to believe in God at all to benefit. That higher power might just be the support of other group members.

The Gamblers Anonymous website has a chat room and forum to help you, along with an online quiz if you think you might be a compulsive gambler.


Gam-Anon offer group meetings for anyone who has been affected by another’s gambling. They are similar to Gambler’s Anonymous, in that friendship and support are provided and the group is confidential.

The website has lots of helpful information and also a quiz to help you see if you are living with a problem gambler.

National Problem Gambling Clinic

The National Problem Gambling Clinic offers a range of psychological treatments including cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT). Treatment, in the form of individual or group therapy can help you to:

  • Identify and manage triggers
  • Challenge irrational thinking
  • Find better ways of coping with feelings, thoughts and urges that precede gambling
  • Enhance self-awareness
  • Develop more helpful behaviours such as new hobbies

Support for family and friends is also available, as well as aftercare support groups and help with money management.

You can refer yourself to this service if you wish, using the referral form on the website.

National Problem Gambling Clinic
4th Floor, Soho Centre for Health & Care
1 Frith Street

Tel: 020 7534 6699 or 020 7534 6599

People in this conversation

Comments (4)

  • Marilyn Lancelot Permalink

    Imagine your grandmother sitting in the back of a patrol car in handcuffs. I was that woman and the gambling addiction destroyed my heart and soul, was the most humiliating moment of my life. Some people asked the question, “Why didn’t you just stop.” Compulsive gambling is cunning, baffling, and powerful and it’s difficult to understand the addiction because no chemicals or substances are ingested into the body.

    Almost every day the newspaper, TV, radio and magazines carry stories about the compulsive gambler who is sent to prison for a crime to support their habit, committed suicide because of the shame, or they are being locked up in a psyche ward.

    Drugs and alcohol are not the only two addictions that destroy lives. While you are reading this paragraph, someone you know may be embezzling money to support their gambling problem. High school students and senior citizens are becoming addicted and seniors are spending their life savings. At their age there is no chance of returning to the work place to supplement their income. Addictions are the most untreated treatable mental illnesses and there is help.

    I have an on-line Newsletter to help the female gamblers and the link is: I have also written three books which detail my becoming addicted to gambling and alcohol, the devastation, and my recovery. The titles are, Gripped by Gambling, Switching Addictions, and Detour.

    Marilyn Lancelot

    about 5 years ago
  • Sickntired Permalink

    Hi , I have never really spoke in length about my addiction, although I been to GA numerous times, it has never worked for me, I am impulsive and get bored easily, I got not only bored but frustrated with GA, what all addicts need is a quick fix, and sadly there is no such thing when you are a gambling addict, I applaud the the limited organisations, but for the the majority it's like pissing in the wind, gambling has ruined my life, I have lost everything, yet ask any addict would you still love to set everything straight, the answer would be yes, there lies the problem, we all need a pound or a grand on the next 33/1 to one shot, nothing comes close to eliminating that feeling, you know it, but if the medical profession comes up with an answer I will grab with both hands, until then we are helpless cause all the GA meetings in the world ,won't for some, change the way they see the world, that's a fact, I'm 52 and really fucked, as the great John Lennon said "nobody told me it would be like this", I hope every addict does find that inner peace,

    about 3 years ago
  • R A Permalink

    I tried my luck and won. Then I tried my luck again and won again. Then I was hooked. 6 months later, 25,000 pounds later and all of my savings are gone and – if it wasn’t for some help from my family – I would have lost the house I wanted to buy too. I still might.

    But it’s not just about the money, it’s about the addiction I didn’t understand, the guilt, the self blame and the depression that followed. Now I understand what other people went through and I sympathize with them rather than blame them the way I used to.

    I am in my early thirties, I’m a Doctor, I’m in a loving happy relationship and I have a supportive family. So, why has this happened? How has this happened?!

    I’m writing about everything here:
    I’m here to talk to you if you need to. I know I wished I had someone to talk to.

    about 3 years ago
  • bill Permalink

    I have been an online gambler for over 10 years spending over £1000 a week with William hill mostly on live roulette it is so addictive ive lost every week and when I do win an odd grand I repay them within a couple of days I have now excluded myself I am 65 and just retired due to ill health I have told them to close my account on many occations but they compensated me with a hundred pounds and kept my site open is there no law against them not checking on people who loose such large amounts

    about 3 years ago

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Sunday, December 08, 2019
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