Nottingham City Council is raising awareness of the signs of gambling harm and asking, “would you recognise if you’re being affected by the gambling of someone you know?”

Gambling can affect physical and mental health, damage relationships and leave people feeling lonely and isolated. It can also cause problems with employment, education, housing and lead to serious debt.

Gambling-related harm is under-recognised and often hidden. Many people being harmed by gambling don’t see themselves as a person with a problem and don’t recognise the issues it’s causing. But gambling harm can be experienced by not just the person who is gambling, but by family, friends, work colleagues and loved ones too. On average, six to ten other people will also experience harm, despite not participating in gambling themselves.

There are many signs which can help people recognise if gambling has become harmful to them, or someone they know. These include:

  • Being preoccupied, struggling to concentrate or distracted by gambling
  • Withdrawing from social activities to gamble instead
  • ‘Chasing losses’ to try to win back money already lost
  • Lying to others about the time or money spent on gambling
  • Experiencing big changes to mood
  • Having trouble sleeping  

It can be difficult for those who are living with, working with or caring for someone with a gambling problem. From being physically and emotionally draining, to having money or relationship worries, or understanding how to help someone where gambling is causing harm, people who are affected by someone else’s gambling can experience a range of emotions, including:

  • Anger
  • Betrayal
  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Lack of trust
  • Lack of control

Councillor Linda Woodings, Nottingham City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Adult Social Care and Health, said: “If someone close to you is struggling with gambling, you might find that you experience several emotions that are difficult to deal with. This is normal, and it’s important you look after your own needs too. If you are not looking after yourself, you will find it a lot harder to help someone else. Support and advice services are available in Nottingham for people being negatively affected by the gambling of another person.

“If you’re planning to have a conversation about gambling or someone you know reaches out for help, try to create a safe space where they can feel free of judgement, are listened to, and able to open up to you. If you’re worried that they might be affected by gambling harms, try to encourage them to access the support and advice which is available.”

To learn more, and to find out about free advice and treatment services available in Nottingham, including information on support for people who are affected by another person’s gambling, visit: