Family Supports

Saskatchewan Problem Gambling Helpline

Problem Gambling and the Family

Whether you have just discovered a gambling problem or have been living with it for a while, you are overwhelmed by the magnitude of the problems.  You are heart-broken by your spouses/partner’s betrayal and the financial devastation.  You may be emotionally drained, depressed, and frightened for the future. It is difficult to accept what started out as a recreational activity has turned into a personal family nightmare. 


Signs of a Gambling Problem 

  • neglect and work responsibilities;
  • disinterest in other social activities;
  • jeopardizing family, relationships and job to pursue gambling activities;
  • irritability and restlessness;
  • increasing time and money spent on gambling;
  • remorse and guilt about gambling; 
  • irrational belief that past losses can be won back;
  • physical symtoms of stress-headaches, sleep disorders and depression;

​Financial Trouble that may Indicate a Gambling Problem

  • your spouse/partner not allowing you to access/review financial statements investment notices;a need to borrow money from family, friends or relatives;
  • a need to borrow money or items normally purchased with cash;
  • having to refinance loans or juggle repayment plans;
  • receiving regular notices of late payment;
  • receiving demands for payment in full from creditors;
  • using money from bank accounts or cashing in RRSP’s, bonds or life insurance policies for something other than what had previously been agreed to;
  • using greater amounts of net income to pay debts.

You didn’t know there was a Gambling Problem

​If you have just uncovered a gambling problem in your family you may be asking yourself: “How could this have happened to me? my family?    

You may have felt for some time things were not quite right, but you were not exactly sure what was wrong.  Every time you questioned your spouse/partner about something that seemed out of the ordinary, they had an explanation or story. And, even though at times the explanation/story provided did not make sense, you believe it because you love and trust your spouse/partner.

 Do not blame yourself for not knowing.


The gambler was able to keep their activity a secret by doing one or more of the following things:

  • Lie or make up stories in order to cover up their gambling activity;
  • Control all the family’s finances or let their spouse control the daily finances while they establish a complex network of ways to obtain credit;
  • Control the mail by having it sent to their place of business or a post office box; or
  • Forge loved one’s signatures for personal loans or mortgages.

When dealing with the effects of a gambling problem you will have feelings of anger, frustration, resentment, isolation and desperation.  You feel like your life, all your thoughts are consumed by the problems you are facing.  Thoughts and feelings of this nature are common. 

Take the time you need to sort through these feelings.  There are solutions to what might, now, appear to be insurmountable problems.  Solutions to complex personal and family problems are available.

It is import to establish a safety net of supportive family, friends and community support agencies.  They can help you work through the complex problems you are facing.  Each person’s support network is unique; each community provides some kind of service. 


The following can provide initial and/or long-term support:

  • The Problem Gambling Helpline - call, live chat, text or email.  A crisis gambling counsellor can help assess your situation and connect you to ongoing support.
    Health region problem gambling counsellor.  See Directory of Services.
  • Credit Counselling Society, provides free credit counselling services.
  • Self-Help organizations.
  • Parents or other family members.
  • Friends.
  • Religious leaders​

    Gam-Anon

         Gam-Anon is a 12 Step self-help fellowship of men and women who have been affected by the gambling problem of another.  We understand as perhaps few can. We are familiar with worry and sleepless nights and promises made only to be broken.

         We may have become fearful and uncertain as to how to cope with the deterioration in our lives and our relationships, the financial problems, and the debts caused by the gambling.  We know that living with the effects of another's gambling can often be too devastating to bear without help.

         With the help of Gam-Anon, we find our way back to a normal way of thinking and living, whether or not our loved ones continue to gamble.  We believe that a change in our attitudes is of boundless helps to us as well as to our gamblers.

         Gam-Anon is not a religious organization or a counseling agency.  It is not a treatment center nor is it allied with any organization offering such services.  No dues or fees are required. Membership is voluntary, requiring only that one's own life has been affected by someone else's gambling problem.

    PURPOSES OF GAM-ANON

         1. To welcome and give assistance and comfort to those affected by someone else's gambling problem.

         2. To communicate Gam-Anon's understanding of compulsive gambling and its impact on our lives.

         3. To share our experience, strength, and hope in coping with the gambling problem.

         4. To use the Steps and Tools of the Gam-Anon program which nurture our spiritual and emotional growth and recovery.

    Saskatoon Gam-Anon Meeting

  • Monday October 1st, 2018 at 7 pm
    Mayfair United Church (902 33rd St. West)- Front Door Entrance
    For more information, contact: Tony 306-683-0421
                                                      Emil  306-291-1571 

    Are you living with a compulsive gambler? Gam-Anon 20 Questions pdf. 

Problem Gambling Family Guide – Help for Family and Friends   

This guide was developed to provide families and friends with information about problem gambling, the impact on families, how children are affected and the financial consequences.  The guide provides hope and the information needed to confront the effects of gambling addiction on your family.

The Problem Gambling Family Guide includes:

  • What you should know about gambling
  • Signs of gambling
  • What is the impact of a problem gamber on your family
  • What you should know about the financial impact
  • Do's and Don'ts for gamblers and spouse

Review of the help that is available


Surviving a Compulsive Gambling Addiction - True Stories

Betty White recounts her experience being married to a compulsive gambler. Her honesty provides insight into how dangerous compulsive gambling can be...