Why is Gambling an Issue?

Recent changes in gambling are thought to be contributing to a rise in problem gambling.  An increase of casino style betting terminals in bookmakers and online gambling sites provide easy and discreet opportunities for gambling.  Like other addictive activities, gambling can have serious and wide ranging physical and mental health consequences for the individual and those around them.

How to Help Yourself and Others?


Recognise the signs!

If you do gamble and feel that things are becoming a problem then it’s important to recognise the signs and do something about it. If you experience any of the signs below then it’s time to think about talking to someone to seek help:
- Increasing your bets
- Being secretive about your gambling
- People commenting on your gambling
- Gambling to win back lost money
- Constantly thinking about gambling
- Becoming stressed when trying to stop
- Using money to gamble you need for other things i.e. bills
- Using borrowed money or stealing to gamble
- Spending more money than intended including all your wages
- Gambling when you should be doing other things

Set a limit!

There is such a thing as a responsible gambler. Many social occasions with family, friends and others could involve a gambling type situation for example a day at the races or a sporting event. However think about setting a limit if you are thinking of placing a bet and keep this responsible. Gambling can be part of recreational occasion but set aside an amount of money you can afford and are prepared to lose that won’t cause you any problems if this happens.

When the fun stops...STOP...!

This is just sensible position to keep in mind but an important one. If you do gamble stay in control and remember to be a responsible gambler. Don’t lose what you can’t afford and when you begin to feel bad about your gambling then go home or finish putting more money on. STAY IN CONTROL.

Be a good friend!

Being a responsible and in control gambler applies to your friends. If you’re with a friend who looks like they have lost the ability to stay in control then a friendly bit of advice and support is what good friends do for each other. A conversation to make a plan to keep to your limits before a gambling situation takes place is a good approach in any recreational occasion where gambling may be part of the planned entertainment.

Seek support from relevant services

If you’re a young person and need help, information advice or support concerning gambling or other issues then help is available from the services under the who can help section.

Who Else Can Help?

There are lots of local and national organisations who can offer support, advice & guidance if you need it. 



There is no system that will help you win!

There is no system that can outsmart the odds and increase your chances of winning. Keeping track of previous results, knowing all the rules, being a good gaming player and/or coming up with a combination. None of these methods will help you win or increase your chances of winning. The fact is the results are always random and a chance you take – fact!

Everyone has a relationship with gambling!

This is mostly true for the majority of us. At some point probably everyone will have a gamble on something at sometime. That could be a scratch card, a friendly bet with a friend, a raffle ticket purchase, a lottery ticket or a day out with others that may involve a bet being made for example at a football match. Although this is true, and for many something that doesn’t become problematic, it can also turn into something more regular for others.

Gambling is addictive!

Very true. Every year people contact services such as gamblers anonymous and Beacon Counselling Trust to seek support for problematic gambling. Many of these people have developed a pathological problem. In other words they have become compulsive obsessed with their gambling becoming more persistent or habitual and causing many other problems in their life such as relationship difficulties and extreme debt problems. Gambling addiction also causes problems with parents, difficulty with studies in school or college, holding down a job, lying stealing, feeling depressed and irritable when trying to stop or chase money lost on bets...

Its all gambling!

There are many forms of gambling that many people just do not consider... the common forms such as using betting shops, fruit machines in pubs, a spin of the roulette table in a casino, betting at the horse races, poker games are all generally the first thing that comes to mind when we think of gambling. However think about it, buying a lottery ticket, having a game of bingo, two pence slot machines at the arcade that children play and more recently video games where you stand to win are all forms of gambling and all have the ability to cause problems just like the more common and familiar methods. Some believe that online football gaming where people purchase various virtual trading cards for example star football players to make up their virtual team is a form of gambling as the purchases are random and hidden. People purchase more virtual cards hoping to get the players they didn’t get previously... it’s a bit like betting on a result and it not coming in and they try again...

Gambling is morally acceptable until!

This is so true. Most people don’t consider gambling to be a big issue especially when they are bragging about winning. However this changes drastically when gambling becomes addictive and problematic. There are many problem gamblers who have suffered due to their gambling becoming out of control. Failed relationships, getting involved in crime, losing your job, trouble studying, arguments, losing your home, doing things you wouldn’t do normally, stealing, lying, developing huge debts, anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts are all the problems that out of control gambling can lead to.


Check out some of the most common Myths that we hear from young people - and what the actual TRUTH is...


At some point you will win!

At some point you may win. However the gambling industry stays in business because most people lose their money and only ever win back a fraction of what they have lost. You might get a decent win at some point but the odds are always stacked against you ever winning more than you will lose.

Young people don't gamble!

Young people do gamble! It may not always be as obvious as adults visiting casinos or betting shops. The lottery is a form of gambling that the law allows 16 years old to purchase a ticket. Online gambling also makes it more accessible for young people to be tempted to gamble. In 2013 the National Centre for Social Research declared that 83,000 16 to 24 year olds in England and Scotland, most of them male, were classed as problem gamblers. Gamcare a national helpline for problem gamblers said it received about 3,000 calls for help from 18 to 24-year-olds in 2013-14. More recently in Knowsley Beacon Counselling Trust, who support problem gamblers set up and service dedicated to support young people who have experienced gambling problems, had referrals for support almost as soon as they opened  the service.

Betting shops, slot machines and gaming tables are prepared to not pay out and work against players!

This is a very common myth. The fact is that no form of betting is predetermined to ensure that the person placing the bet loses. It’s always a random chance. The only sure way to not lose is not to place the bet in the first place.

The longer you play the more chance of winning!

This is not true. It is much more likely that you will lose more money in an attempt to make back your losses. Many problem gamblers who have addressed their problem will express how risky this is in losing more and more money and developing huge debt when trying to chase a big win. Remember the gambling industry relies on your continued betting to make money. Even lottery tickets albeit chance are designed to pay out less than they take in over a period of time. The phrase ‘the bookie always wins’ in many ways is actually a very real situation.

You just need to hit a winning streak!

Luck, good omens and gut feelings all count for nothing. A winning streak just dosen't exists. A win is always based on an independent and random chance that gamblers take and there is nothing that can maintain a series of wins. Most people who develop gambling problems report a ‘big win’ as the main reason that they began to spiral into more and more gambling problems believing that another win or winning streak would come along but didn’t.