How to Start a Conversation with a Problem Gambler:
Talking with someone you know about a potential gambling problem can be difficult. Remember, you can’t stop the person from playing; only he or she can make the decision to stop. Choose the right moment, speak in a caring and understanding tone and hear what he or she is saying. To start the conversation:
- Tell the person you care about him and you’re concerned about how he is acting.
- Tell the person exactly what she has done that concerns you.
- Tell the person how his behavior is affecting other people. Be specific.
- Be clear about what you expect from her (“I want you to talk to someone about your gambling.”) and what she can expect from you (“I won’t cover for you any more.”).
- After you’ve told the person what you’ve seen and how you feel, allow him to respond. Listen with a non-judgmental attitude.
- Let the person know you are willing to help, but don’t try to counsel her yourself.
- Give the person information, not advice.
- Encourage him to call the toll-free helpline.
For specific advice on how to approach a problem gambler, call the S.C. Gambling Helpline toll-free 1-877-452-5155 to talk with a certified counselor. The Helpline operates 24-hours a day, seven days a week. All calls are toll-free and confidential.