4 Negative Gambling Effects on Family & How to Deal With It

Young attractive couple in relationship problem with internet mobile phone gambling addict boyfriend ignoring sad neglected and bored girlfriend at home bed feeling depressed and lonely

An individual doesn’t recognize the gambling effects on family occurring right before them, nor do they see the consequences taking place personally, physically, or emotionally.

When left to progress to a habit, time is stolen, finances are in shambles, and lives are ruined. It’s a lesser talked about addiction that can grow out of hand rapidly and before a participant realizes they have a problem. 

If not stopped at the first indication of an issue, it can get severe the longer it goes. While relationships, families, even friendships are tested, the recommendation is that the addicted individual gets unconditional support, as would be true with any addiction. 

How is that possible with the devastation people with gambling problems can inflict on their loved ones? We’ll learn together.

What is addiction to gambling?

Gambling involves betting in varied gaming, sports, playing slots, lotteries and produces the euphoria of winning plus the lows that come with losing. 

The development of addiction is not necessarily to play a game but more so to the exhilaration that comes when you conquer the play. 

Addictions shouldn’t be confused with an indication of personal weakness or flaw in someone’s character, nor does it carry statistics about the level of intelligence, social status, age, or amount of wealth. 

Many people can go to the casino or even play online with no cause and effect of gambling. Others become compulsive with trying to win to experience that euphoria that comes with it. 

It can develop into such a “high” that players start craving the sensation, especially trying to attain it after the mental crash from losing. The need to keep playing despite the possible effects of gambling on relationship brings entertainment to an addictive level. 

It is referenced as gambling addiction, compulsive gambling, or problem gambling. It becomes a significant issue when there are financial consequences, work is disrupted, or partners of gambling addicts recognize a problem.

When gambling addiction is left to progress, it can not only devastate the ones the gambler loves, but the individual can begin to experience emotional turmoil, guilt, feelings of shame, and start to self-isolate, further evoking gambling effects on family.

Fortunately, the addiction is treatable. Although there are negative effects of gambling on family and friends, including exasperation, anger, worry, it’s a time that requires the utmost love and support so healing can occur. Follow the clinical guidelines to learn the fundamentals of gambling addictions.

What is the impact of gambling problems on families & relationships?

Addicts feel the compulsion their suffering affects only them and their life making it seem okay since they believe there are no gambling effects on family. 

The victory they experience in any game, regardless of what they play, equates to the “high” a user would receive from a drug. 

The gambler doesn’t recognize gambling addiction effects on everyone around them nor that the behavior in any way has the potential to ruin the lives of those closest to them, including their mates. The only consideration for this individual is that it makes them feel good – sometimes. 

If the person is forced to face reality, there is a “let-down,” almost like they’re dissatisfied or lacking something essential. As a rule, addiction of any kind is generally kept quiet in families. 

That’s especially true of gambling. It’s a “silent addiction” for which the individual tends to hide, and the loved ones will often enable to protect the person, often resulting in worse implications for the one suffering the disorder plus everyone associated with that person sometimes.

But it depends on the severity of the addiction initially, how far it’s allowed to progress, how intimate the partnership is, and other variables. 

There is the possibility for severe emotional, psychological, social, financial, and potentially legal issues that could result in the union’s demise altogether. Here is research on the effects of problem gambling for those involved.

1. Financial implications

Worried couple doing their accounts in the living room

Instead of letting themselves feel that they are in any way disappointing their family, most begin to lie about either their activities or the amount of money they’re losing, especially if they’re neglecting work in favor of play. 

Some may even ultimately use the activity as a primary source of income. In that scenario, there can only be negative effects of gambling on family since a gambler will not always be a winner resulting in zero income a majority of the time.

That leaves partners of gambling addicts struggling to make ends meet, attempting to restrict the money the gambler uses and trying to help their mate see the need to get back into the workforce, usually to no avail. 

When friends and relatives begin to loan money to “assist” the compulsive gambler believing it will help alleviate financial challenges or monthly expenses, it will likely enable the gambling behavior, ultimately doing more harm than good.

In extreme cases, gambling ruins lives, with families having to foreclose on homes and eventually go into bankruptcy. Some signs of financial repercussions due to problem gambling:

  1. Monthly expense funds used for gambling
  2. Banking statements disappear
  3. Loans begin to stack up
  4. Creditors start calling
  5. Bills accrue
  6. Debt is growing
  7. Savings disappears
  8. Credit card cash advances
  9. Assets disappearing out of the household
  10. Paychecks not coming in

The repercussions for not paying bills and accruing debt that the gambler then neglects can result in creditors taking cases to court, leading to lawsuits for repayment. 

The financial burdens become even more overwhelming when there are legal consequences, meaning more significant gambling effects on family.

2. Effects of gambling addiction on family and friends

The gambler’s behavior presents the family and friends with excessive tension and stress, putting the bonds they’ve developed in jeopardy; whether it be a spouse, parents, children, siblings, friends, or a mate, the trust is broken. 

The person can no longer provide a sense of security, nor can anyone maintain confidence in what is being told to them, more so there is apprehension over what will happen in the future.

With any degree of compulsion, lies typically accompany the behavior. Often, if the addict goes to the casinos, they’ll be out for prolonged times or come home the following day. There’s much manipulation to get what they want, threats if they don’t, and in some cases, resultant violence or abuses. 

Friends who lend money are assured it will be returned only to be avoided when it’s time for repayment.

These things ultimately lead to the end of relationships elevating the problem further since the individual will go deeper into isolation, avoiding anyone who was once close to them due to shame and going further out of control to ease the pain. 

The repercussions are more significant gambling effects on family. 

Check this video showing effects of problem gambling on family and friends.

3. Emotional and psychological distress

Invariably a mate or spouse will attempt to carry the load that the compulsive gambler is not handling. The significant other will excuse the behavior to friends and relatives, often being dishonest about where the addict goes.

The enabling becomes increasingly deceitful in the partner’s effort to keep the relationship together and garner a certain degree of normalcy for the family even though there are more and more effects of gambling on the family.

When children are involved, they can sense a problem despite no one coming out and telling them there’s an issue. They recognize the arguments; perhaps parents are sleeping separately, of course, they’re wise to suffering financially. 

Kids will begin to act up both at home and in school when they feel insecure. Psychological issues can even develop like depression or anxiety due to fear of things getting worse.

4. Domestic abuses

In a tense environment where financial distress and loss of security are an issue, emotions are high, and arguments will ensue with the potential for violence resulting in either spousal or child abuse when the addicted personality feels attacked.

Unfortunately, the greater the losing streak, the deeper the addiction and the more likely the fighting will continue as the gambler looks for that euphoric win that’s eluding them. A partner doesn’t know how to deal with a gambler that’s out of control. 

The only options are to seek help for the problem or for the mate to walk away. And with this type of behavior, a person with problem gambling is not ready to receive counseling. For their safety, the family needs to leave.

Can gambling cause relationship problems?

Young woman consoling disappointed impotent husband

Gambling addiction relationship problems can be severe depending on the depth of the compulsion. The addicted personality will lie to cover up any dependence on the activity at any level. Lying in itself is cause for there to be broken trust between two people. 

Over time, as a partner realizes there’s an issue, it can go one of two ways, the significant other can either begin to make excuses for the behavior or bring it to the surface and call the gambler out. That can be risky given the propensity for violence that follows this addiction.

Unfortunately, in many cases, partners tend to deceive friends and family instead of divulging what’s genuinely happening in the household to protect the individual with the problem, thereby enabling the addiction. 

While it might look on the outside like that’s in some way “helping,” it’s, in fact, making the problem much worse and setting yourself up for, perhaps financial ruin along with the probability of the end of the partnership. 

When someone is enabled, that’s kind of along the lines of telling them you permit it. The problem gambler can then participate openly and gregariously because they’re “allowed.” 

That leaves all the burdens of the household in your lap when bills are not met, the home goes into foreclosure, bankruptcy looms, and creditors reach out.

The gambling impact on families or a relationship is strong when it reaches the point where you can call it a compulsion. Any addiction is hard on a significant other, but gambling addiction relationship problems can ruin lives and devastate emotionally, financially, socially. 

These are things you don’t just bounce back from, even when getting help.

The importance of treatment for gambling addiction

The gambling effects on family, friends, and the individual can be harsh, having overall health consequences and financial repercussions. At the first sign, there is a problem developing; it’s essential to seek help to prevent the issue from getting out of control. 

Once you lose the ability to control the behavior, you’re at risk of ruining your life and the lives of everyone you love leaving you with no one. And because you siphon away all your finances, your job, and your home, you’ll have nothing and nowhere to go.

The suggestion is that treatment programs can be beneficial in helping with recovery for those who wish to be supported. 

Most are designed to work with the cognitive thinking process, as is typical in a mental health capacity, to help reprogram the brain’s views on gambling.

The primary thing to consider is why you gamble and find a method to help avoid those temptations and prevent the triggers. 

A professional counselor can help you with coping skills and guide you towards other activities that will make you feel good and substitute for the addiction.

How to deal with your partner’s gambling addiction?

Spouses or partners of gamblers with a compulsion for the activity should avoid enabling their mate due to the potential gambling effects on family and other loved ones. 

For advice on methods to help your partner, follow the tips in this guide.

Final thought

Addiction is a challenge for an individual to endure and a family or partner to see their loved one contending with. Often, families are unsure how to help, tending to go into protective mode immediately, but in protecting, we can sometimes do more harm than good. 

In most circumstances, the ideal reaction is to reach out to a professional for guidance on precisely how to handle the situation for the greatest good of the affected person. The experts can offer advice that will serve the person’s best interests and, in turn, find methods that will aid the family as well.

Want to have a happier, healthier marriage?

If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.

Take Course

Learn More On This Topic