Get practical support with your gambling problem Forum Friends and Family I am lost, my husband is gambling

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    Yesterday morning, I saw a mobile notification on my husband’s old phone which he left at home while working. I saw a word “Betaway” and straight away knew it was gambling website or something.

    I opened his phone (forgive me for doing this but I had to find out) and saw bank transaction record of spending £80-140 to William Hill, Ladbroke, Betfred, as well as Betaway (online), and another mobile betting app.

    I was so shocked and even couldn’t sit still. Almost like physically collapsing.

    I have had a suspicion that something wasn’t right. He was spending too much like £40-80 for scratch cards.

    Then this.

    When he came home, I confronted him. I told him that I am not mad or blaming him but really want to help him as a friend. 

    He completely flat denied. He said “It is a one-off, you should not worry. Also, this is my problem if I am gambling. I don’t need help. I know what I am doing. I can manage.”

    His words made me even more convinced about his problem as I phoned gambling helpline and checked websites for info beforehand.

    Then just now, I realised that he registered 2 online casino websites.

    My heart is shattered and I feel deeply hopeless.

    After the confrontation, I was sitting at a kitchen like a broken empty bottle. My husband approached me and said, “Are you ok?”

    I answered, “I am not.” Then he asked me what I want him to do. I said, “Please get counselling. You can get professional help.”

    However, his answer was like “Ok, ok, I will get counselling!” which sounded more like just covering rather than really seeing it as a problem.

    I feel that I have to leave him to protect myself. This is not his first lie or unreasonable behaviour.

    At the same time, I feel so guilty and sad to leave him alone in this horrible situation which might drag him down to an even more horrendous situation.

    I am lost and don’t know what to do.


    Hello Chanlon

    Thanks for starting a thread in the Gambling Therapy friends and family forum. This forum will provide you with warmth and understanding from your peers.

    Feel free to use the friends and family group, you’ll find the times for these if you click on the “Group times” box on our Home page

    Read about the friends and Family Online Groups

    Now that you have introduced yourself you’ll find that many of the people you meet here have already read your initial introduction and they’ll welcome you in like an old friend 🙂

    If you’re the friend or family member of someone who is either in, or has been through, the GMA residential programme please take extra care to make sure that nothing you say in groups, or on our forums, inadvertently identifies that person. Even if your loved one isn’t connected with GMA, please don’t identify them either directly or indirectly just in case they decide to use the site themselves.

    You’ll find a lot of advice on this site, some of which you’ll follow, some you won’t…but that’s ok because only you fully understand your situation and what’s best for you and the people you love. So, take the support you need and leave the advice you don’t because it all comes from a caring, nurturing place 🙂

    We look forward to hearing all about you!

    Take care

    The Gambling Therapy Team

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    Hi Chanlon

    A gambling addiction in the home often turns those who would never have considered such an action to play detective, so there is no need for forgiveness.

    I completely understand your thinking when you say to your husband that you want to help him ‘as a friend’ but sadly his addiction will not allow him to hear these words as you mean them. A gambling addiction drastically changes reality to fit the personal perception of the gambler causing him to hear words spoken, with all the best intentions, as white noise from someone who cannot and does not understand.

    Please rule out any thoughts of guilt, whatever you decide to do will be understood here. You have come here for support and I will never suggest that you leave or stay – all decisions must be yours as it is important that you re-take control of your own life. Knowledge of your husband’s addiction will give you power over it and I believe that knowledge helps one make the right decisions.

    I take it that your husband has never sought any help for his problem – if this is the case and he was my husband, I would give him information on GA, this site and dedicated addiction counsellors. Maybe you could let him know that you are seeking help for you because you are treating his addiction seriously even if he will not.

    Lying goes hand in hand with the addiction Chanlon – it is the gambler’s way of coping with those who love them telling them that they know what is going on. Lying and sometimes stealing are not necessary in a gamble-free life and your husband can have that life – if it was not so I wouldn’t be writing to you.

    Your husband’s addiction can drag you down with it, if you allow it to do so. Looking after yourself is so important. Many loved ones give up on their friends and interests when they are worrying 24 hours a day about an addiction that they do not own themselves. You are stronger than his addiction, even if you don’t feel that you are.

    Keep posting and hopefully pop into a group – it is good to share in real time.



    Hello Velvet

    Thank you very much for your kind and warm words. It really encourages me with a great comfort.

    So, yesterday morning, which is a couple of hours after I wrote the first post, I printed out GA 20 questionaire, GameCare, this website, national gambling clinic, Stepchange, Gordon Moody male residential treatment info, and handed over to him. I said “Please read. Just read please.” Then I went out. I thought that he might pay more attention to the info if I am not around.

    About 1 hour later, he texted me. He said sorry. According to him, I already did gambling checklist to see if he is addicted and the result was “You are in high danger” + even playing lotto is very dangerous to him. He also said he knows that he put himself in great danger by going into betting shops but he stopped and won’t do it again.

    I couldn’t trust him. So I replied that his belief of being out of danger is his illusion and he must see counselor.

    I met a friend of mine who has been suffering from CG brother (he is playing with stock market which is even crazier). My poor friend has been paying a huge debt of almost £60,000 from credit card and loans because of that brother. I knew that she has a problem with gambler family but didn’t know the actual picture. We talked a lot and I advised her to contact gambler helpline.

    When I got home, my husband was also back after seeing his friend who has a serious gambler brother. 

    I asked him to have a proper chat. I first explained why I think his belief is an illusion and why he has to get counseling. Of course, I cried. I also told him that I must put myself first and have to protect me from him. He nodded. I also told him about my friend and her brother. How this brother forced my friend to show a bank statement (how much she is earning). How he makes her feel guilty about buying really cheap clothes for herself rather than giving money to him. How he manipulates her, lies to her, and eventually bullies her. And how my poor friend still gives money to him and pays deb on his behalf. It is a crazy story but sadly real.

    Then my husband began to talk. “I am really sorry for your friend. Her situation is really bad and the brother is a definitely serious gambler who takes all possible advantage of his family. I am not manipulating you. I lied but I am not like him and I will never. I need to tell you what really happened.”

    It was his first time to step into that dangerous betting shop just 10 days ago. When I checked his mobile, the 1st transaction to betting shop was about 1 week ago so maybe he is telling me the truth. Or maybe not.

    According to him, he even had to learn how to play the machine. A homeless man in the shop and clock behind the till taught him how to do. So he first played £10 or so (I can’t exactly remember but it was less than £20). Then, BOOM!, £800. He was really really happy. That satisfaction was so great.

    So did he stop there? No, he played more with a hope to feel that satisfaction again. Then he lost all.

    He was so angry. Really really mad. So he began to chase his loss. Of course, he kept losing!

    That is how he spent hundreds of pounds for a week or so.

    Then, he suddenly realised how dangerous it was. He was shocked by how much money he lost. He said, “put £10 then £10 again, then less than 2 hours, more than £100 is gone!”

    So he decided to stop. He deleted online website too. Then he transferred his salary to me (he did it a couple of days before I discovered). He did so following the advice on the gambling checklist website.

    He also told me about a conversation he had with his friend who has a gambler brother. I think my husband wanted to understand what impact the brother has on his friend. His friend is depressed but tries to recover and employed – the job is very important to the friend He said.

    After listening to him, I was relieved? No, I was sadder and more frustrated. I said, “Why on earth do you step into the fire? Why? People don’t go into the fire because they Know It Is Dangerous! And you know that betting shop is no go zone!”

    He told me that he just did it without proper thinking. Like finger snap. Like jumping over the edge without knowing why. I may be wrong, but I feel that he is harming himself. I have suspected that he is depressed for more than a year. I asked him to see GP but he ignored.

    Before I came home, I already searched counselor who is specialised in gambling, other addictions, and many other psychosocial issues. I found him following advice from gambling helpline advisor. She taught me where to look at to find a good counselor.

    I showed my email to the counselor to my husband and urged him to get counselling. He said, “I will because I want to show that I really appreciate your kindness and I want you to be relieved.” So I replied that it should not about Me. It must be for himself. Also, I told him that this is the last thing I can do; if he doesn’t go for counseling, I will leave him.

    He said, “I want to go, not because of gambling, but because I want to know why I behave like this (smoking then stop then, drinking 1-2 beers almost every day then stop, then buying scratch cards then going to the betting shop.). Why I behave like an irrational and immature kid who doesn’t know/see danger until he harms himself.”

    That was last night.

    This morning, I again asked him to contact counselor.

    I won’t give up. Just yet. I need to do everything I can do before completely giving up without a single regret.

    In terms of protecting me, I don’t have any joint account with him. He can’t access my bank accounts as he doesn’t know PW. I also put my valuables to safety box in the bank yesterday. Safety box sounds like I have a huge amount of jewelry or so, but I am not. They are mostly from my mom which are not expensive but very important to me. However, still, they can be sold for some cheap money.

    I really hope my husband begins to talk to the counselor. This is really my last hope. I am also referred to counselor. Fingers crossed that my turn comes quickly. I will also attend local family & friend who are affected by gambler meeting. It is been really really tough. And I reckon that it will be tough. How long? I hope it is not that long… Let’s see.

    By the way, he said something interesting. He knew that I would find this(gambling) out. So I asked if he wanted me to discover. He said, “I don’t know, maybe.” If that is the case, I feel like he is actually screaming for help – not for gambling because that is just a surface, but something else like depression or deeper psychological issues.


    My friend who has a gambling brother asked me to deliver her words to my husband.

    “Don’t chase what you lost. Just stop and forget.”

    When I told my husband this, he was like someone who was just told about how to solve a very difficult math problem.

    Also, when I told him about losing my trust, he said, “I don’t trust myself anymore, so why should you?”


    Hi Chanlon

    Your husband is saying a lot of the right things but obviously it is actions that will c o u n t in the end.

    Your friend’s words are good – it isn’t enough to say to a compulsive gambler ‘just stop’, they need to know how.

    The addiction to gamble causes depression – it is hardly surprising in that it is an addiction that offers only failure to those who own it – they can never walk away until everything is gone because it is ‘the gamble’ that rouses the excitement – not money.

    Gamblers are often emotionally immature but with the right support wonderful lives can be lived as a result of taking control of the addiction. The courage and determination that it takes for a person to control this destructive addiction can make for very special lives – I know this to be true.

    I like very must that he doesn’t expect you to trust him because he can’t trust himself – that admission alone suggests he is thinking in the right direction.

    It is important that if you threaten a compulsive gambler that you are prepared to carry the treat through – not to do so would be a green light to carry on gambling.

    Keep posting, you are doing well


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