Affected Families


Gambling, that’s an addiction? Why did they lie to me? How come they’re never home? How come they didn’t talk to me? Why don’t they just stop? How could they do this to themselves, and to us?

If you have a loved one with a gambling problem, you may have asked these questions – and a thousand others. You may be suffering through sleepless nights, held awake by the fear of more broken promises. You may be suffering through feelings of isolation, sadness or despair. You may be devastated by financial problems and the deterioration of relationships. You may feel alone, or as if nobody could understand what you’re going through.

But you are not alone: there are people who understand and can help.
Unfortunately, no matter how much you wish you could, you cannot make someone stop gambling. Gambling addiction, like other addictions (alcohol, drugs, etc.) is an illness which causes the addict to feel “uncontrollable” or “irresistible” urges. And like other addictions, the effects can be devastating and widespread, impacting the gambler, their family and loved ones, the workplace and society.

But there is help for you, and hope for the gambler. Gambling addiction is a treatable disease which – with the support of their families and friends – people can and do recover from.

Did you know:

The average problem gambler adversely impacts the lives of 7 people they care about.

Problem Gambling

About Problem Gambling

Risk Groups

Gambling addiction can affect anyone, anywhere, anytime.  However, certain groups of people (“populations”) are at greater risk of developing a gambling problem than others. Being a member of one of the below populations does not mean that you will develop a problem, but that you have a higher chance of developing an addiction. Conversely, even if you are not a member of the below populations, it is still possible to develop an addiction!

Societal Impact of Problem Gambling

Pathological Gambling is one of the most devastating and fastest proliferating diseases in the United States, and it is estimated that close approximately one million (1,000,000) people in California are Pathological or Problem Gamblers with an additional three million (3,000,000) “at risk” of becoming addicted.

The social costs of Problem Gambling are staggering: according to the National Council on Problem Gambling, the costs are about $7 billion (with a “b”) per year in the US, from crime/incarcerations, bankruptcies and other addictions. Problem and Pathological Gamblers are between 3 and 4 times more likely to be arrested and/or spend time in jail as a result of crimes including (but not limited to) domestic violence, child abuse/neglect, theft, fraud. Problem and Pathological gamblers are also 2 to 7 times more likely to use illegal drugs, drink/binge drink alcohol and smoke cigarettes.

Gambling addiction can have negative consequences to almost all aspects of our society. Even if you are not a problem gambler, there is a chance that your life has been affected by someone else’s gambling addiction.

In this section, we will examine the impacts of gambling on our families, children, jobs, community and crime and suicide rates.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have questions about your gambling, or the gambling of someone you know? You can find the answers to many of the most commonly asked questions about gambling addiction here!

Help a Problem Gambler

Protect Your Family and Yourself