Gambling harm and affected others

An affected other is a person who experiences harm as a result of the gambling of someone else. It is estimated that for each person experiencing gambling harm, six other people are affected.

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Why is it important to speak to someone who is affected by someone else’s gambling?

Affected others can be anyone. The harm to an affected other is not limited to just financial harm and the fear of losing possessions or accommodation. The survey below from GambleAware spoke to affected others about their experience of knowing someone experiencing gambling harm and how it impacted them.

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99% reported their loved one’s gambling had harmed their health

  • Reduced physical activity and neglecting medical needs
  • Self harm
  • Increase use of substances and tobacco
  • Attempted suicide
  • Depression and stress related problems
  • Loss of sleep due to stress, worry or anxiety
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93% reported their loved one’s gambling had impacted their financial security

  • Needing help from support services or applying for benefits
  • Fear and anxiety over losing a major asset like a house or car
  • Increased debt and bankruptcy
  • Less money available for spending or saving
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82% reported their loved one’s gambling had impacted their work or education

  • Having to leave employment or be terminated
  • Failing exams or having to leave education
  • Lack of progression in work or education
  • Reduced performance at work or studying due to distraction, mental health and lack of sleep
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96% reported experiencing relationship harms

  • Greater tension and conflict in relationships
  • Spend less time at social events and with loved ones
  • Misunderstood by person who is gambling harmfully

People can be classified as an affected other due to someone else gambling in the present or it can be historical, from their childhood. There is no time limit.

We support people affected by someone else’s gambling as many of the harms associated with the person gambling are the same for the affected other - especially if they are a partner, parent or close to the person experiencing gambling harm.

People who are affected by someone else’s gambling also experience stigma associated with gambling harm. The fear of gambling harm being perceived as an individual’s concern can prevent people from speaking out and seeking support.