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Who are you looking to help?


For those who enjoy gambling, it is an activity regarded as harmless entertainment. But when someone becomes obsessed with gambling, chasing more wins and hiding severe losses, intervention is necessary.

Forty-eight states have legalized gambling and eight in 10 people report having gambled on games of chance – chances are, you may already know someone on their way to a gambling problem.

Signs and symptoms

Although it might not seem obvious, friends can often notice problem gambling much earlier than a family member and/or spouse. Peers influence the decisions we make and are naturally disposed to helping us. If you think someone you know may have a gambling problem, consider these key warning signs:

  • Have they asked to borrow money from you or someone you know while providing a limited explanation for why they need it?
  • Do they repeatedly suggest going to a betting venue or go there alone even when you have plans?
  • Do they brag about gambling wins on a regular basis (without ever hearing about losses)?
What is the appropriate way to raise the issue of a friend's problem gambling?

Friends are some of the best advocates a person can have. When speaking to a friend with a gambling addiction, it is important to be firm, while still offering to aid in their recovery. Do not accuse, but state what you want them to do. Explain how their gambling is affecting your friendship and the way you view them as a friend. Be upfront and honest, but be sure they understand that you truly want to help and are always ready to listen.

Where can you get help for your friend?

The following resources are available:

  • Minnesota’s Problem Gambling Program
    • There are State funds available for treatment services to Minnesota residents who meet the clinical diagnosis for compulsive gambling and demonstrate financial need.
    • State-approved treatment providers can be found at www.nojudgment.com and are listed by county, city, and provider.
    • Call Minnesota’s 24-hour, toll-free, confidential helpline at 1- 800-333-HOPE.
  • Gamblers Anonymous
    • Uses a 12-step recovery program
    • Offers peer-led support groups
    • A list of local meetings available by calling 1-800-333-HOPE
  • National Problem Gambling Help Line
    • Free, 24/7 availability
    • Available at 1-800-522-4700
    • Answers questions and provides resource information
Support groups for you

One of the best ways to assist someone struggling with a gambling problem is to know the resources available to you. To connect with a support system or to seek counseling the following resources are available:

  • Minnesota’s Problem Gambling Program
    • Provides public education
    • 24-hour, toll-free, confidential help line: 1-800-333-HOPE
  • Gam-Anon
    • Peer-led support group for spouses, relatives or close friends
    • Provides immediate support in a crisis
    • List of local meetings available by calling 1-800-333-HOPE
Having trouble starting a conversation?

Each situation is different. To help, please read the tips.

Call for confidential help

Treatment is available free of charge for qualifying individuals throughout Minnesota.