When gambling isn’t fun, it can affect all areas of a person’s life. The below are a few examples of warning signs that might indicate a problem. The more signs a person exhibits, the greater the likelihood that they may have lost control of their gambling.

Last night he told his spouse he was working late; he was really at the casino
Lying about how often or how much someone gambles is a sign of a problem.

She’s absent from work a lot and is unable to keep up with her workload.
Those most at risk are often absent from school, work or important social activities because they’re gambling.

He missed his son’s birthday. He couldn’t leave the slot machine he was playing.
Those with gambling problems often neglect family or personal needs and responsibilities to keep gambling.

He missed a mortgage payment after he used that money for blackjack.
Spending more money than you can afford, using money intended for other purposes, and growing debt resulting from gambling are signs of a problem.

She gambles more and more for relief from the increasing pressures at work and home.
When gambling becomes an escape from job and family responsibilities, it’s a problem.


  • Gambling for longer and longer periods of time
  • Lying about how much or how often they gamble
  • Often missing work or school to gamble
  • Neglecting personal or family needs to gamble
  • Spending more time and money than they can afford
  • Using money intended for other things to gamble
  • Gambling more to win back lost money or get out of financial trouble
  • Thinking gambling will finally be under control once the "big win" happens
  • Feeling anxious or guilty about gambling
  • Constantly thinking or talking about gambling
  • Feeling empty or lost when not gambling




If gambling no longer feels like a game, it may be time to step away. In some cases, you may decide you need support in getting control of your gambling.

Signs of a gambling problem

Gambling Disorder is behavior which causes disruptions in any major area of life: psychological, physical, social or vocational. It is a progressive addiction characterized by increasing preoccupation with gambling, a need to bet more money more frequently, restlessness or irritability when attempting to stop, “chasing” losses, and loss of control manifested by continuation of the gambling behavior in spite of mounting, serious, negative consequences.

More Information

More Information


Are you concerned about a potential gambling problem? Take the ten-question self-assessment provided by the National Council on Problem Gambling.

A person shows signs of gambling disorder if he/she:

  • Needs to gamble with increasing amounts of money to achieve the desired excitement
  • Exhibits restless or irritable behavior when attempting to cut down or stop gambling
  • Is often preoccupied with thoughts about gambling
  • Often gambles when feeling distress
  • Chases one's losses/returns another day to get even
  • Lies to conceal the extent of gambling
  • Jeopardizes a significant relationship, job or opportunity because of gambling
  • Relies on others to provide money to relieve desperate financial situations caused by gambling




If you would like to learn more about responsible gaming, consult with a GameSense Advisor.

If you feel you need help, please call the following 24-hour confidential hotlines:

Washington State Gambling Helpline

Call: 1-800-547-6133
Website: www.hca.wa.gov