Over half of the population has participated in some form of gambling in the past year. While for some this can be an enjoyable activity, it is a source of harm for many. Recognising the warning signs can help you realise when it’s time to seek help for yourself or others.
There are a number of signs to look out for, these include:
- Spending more money and time on gambling than you can afford
- Finding it hard to manage or stop your gambling
- Having arguments with family or friends about money and gambling
- Losing interest in usual activities or hobbies and neglecting work, family and personal needs/responsibilities
- Always thinking or talking about gambling
- Lying about your gambling or hiding it from other people
- Chasing losses or gambling to get out of financial trouble
- Gambling until all of your money is gone
- Borrowing money, selling possessions or not paying bills in order to pay for gambling
- Needing to gamble with more money or for a longer period of time to get the same feeling of excitement
- Feeling anxious, worried, guilty, depressed or irritable.
Free and confidential advice and support is available in Greater Manchester for people who gamble, people who are worried about someone else’s gambling, or for people recovering from past gambling. You are not alone.
Specialist gambling services
- NHS Northern Gambling Service (based in Salford, but serving the whole of Greater Manchester)*
- Beacon Counselling Trust (based in Salford, Wigan and Tameside, but serving the whole of the North West)*
- National Problem Gambling Helpline (including a young people’s service for 11-18yr olds)
- Gordon Moody (national charity providing residential and hybrid support for adults in the UK)
*please note that while Covid19 restrictions are in place, some in-person services have been replaced with an online or telephone service.
Peer support groups and advice
Bereavement and suicide
- If you are feeling suicidal or are worried someone else is, get help today from Shine a Light on Suicide
- Gambling With Lives offers therapeutic mental health and bereavement support for anyone affected by a gambling related suicide, including peer support, counselling and support with legal proceedings. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
These services can accessed directly via a self-referral or a referral from friend or family member. If would like to discuss your options or you aren’t sure which of these services best meet your needs, please contact your GP or another trusted professional who will be able to help you find the right support for your circumstances.
For advice and support to help manage the consequences of gambling disorder, such as debt, housing, legal or relationship advice, visit your local authority website where you can find services available in your area (Bolton, Bury, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford and Wigan) or contact Citizens Advice Bureau.
Tools to manage gambling
In the same way that you use a seatbelt to protect yourself when driving, there are a number of tools available to protect you when gambling, these include setting deposit and time limits to make sure you don't spend more than you planned to.
Self-exclusion is a tool which you can use to block all access to different online and in-person gambling products (you may need to self-exclude multiple times to cover all gambling products and premises). You cannot self-exclude on behalf of someone else.
- All licensed gambling operators must offer safer gambling tools such as deposit limits and time reminders, these vary by operator but can be activated by visiting the "safer gambling" section of operator websites. In addition you can limit the number of marketing emails you receive by updating your mailing preferences.
- Advice for how to block advertising on Facebook and Twitter
- You can block gambling payments with your bank
- To self exclude from online gambling visit GamStop and GamBan
- To self exclude from arcade and adult gaming centres you need to speak to the staff in your local centre first before you can join the Bacta self-exclusion scheme
- To self exclude from betting shops and bookmakers contact the multi-operator self exclusion scheme by calling 0800 294 2060
- To self exclude from bingo venues complete an online form for each premise you wish to exclude from
- To self exclude from casinos you can join the SENSE scheme by visiting a casino or emailing a self exclusion form to SENSE