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Who are you looking to help?

Significant Other

For many, gambling is a recreation. For some, however, it can become a debilitating problem. When the decision to play games for money becomes an impulsive need, friendships, jobs and relationships may be threatened. If you suspect your significant other has a gambling problem, it is important to understand a few basic facts:

  • Most people gamble without risk of addiction, but for some, problem gambling can quickly spiral out of control.
  • Problem gambling is not the result of boredom, weakness or irresponsibility, but rather a pathological problem often with dire financial and personal consequences.
  • The desire to help a loved one with a gambling problem can manifest itself through arguments, guilt, and pleading, but professional treatment is the best way to lasting change.

Signs and symptoms

Problem gambling can be addressed early if you recognize the signs. These can range from continually late or missed bills, unexplained withdrawals from bank accounts, a sudden need for secrecy, or random disappearances at odd and inconsistent times. No one knows your significant other better than you. If something seems unusual, it deserves your attention.

Where can you get help for someone you love?

The following resources are available when reaching out to a spouse/significant other who has a gambling problem:

  • 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.nojudgement.com and are listed by county, city and provider.
    • Call Minnesota’s 24-hour, toll-free, confidential help line at 800-333-HOPE.
  • Gamblers Anonymous
    • Uses a 12-step recovery program
    • Offers peer-led support groups
    • A list of local meetings available by calling 800-333-HOPE
  • National Problem Gambling Help Line
    • Free, 24/7 availability
    • Available at 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 seek counseling, the following are available:

  • Minnesota’s Problem Gambling Program
    • Provides public education
    • 24-hour, toll-free, confidential help line: 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 800-333-HOPE
What to say to a significant other with a gambling problem?

Talking to someone about problem gambling is never easy. It is important to remind them that you truly care for their well-being. Be specific and direct about your concerns; try to listen without judgment. Above all, insist on professional help. Offer to make the call for them, if needed, and reassure them that you will offer your support as they go through recovery.

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.