Arizona Council on Compulsive Gambling, Inc.

ARIZONA HELPLINE 1-800-777-7207

Enabling The Gambler

"Granddad, I’m so ashamed. I went to the casino with my friends and spent all of my tuition money. Please, please don’t tell mom or dad and help me out just this once."

"Mom, I don’t know what we’re going to do. You know George has been spending a lot of time at the casino. Yesterday, after mailing out checks for our bills, he went gambling and cleaned out our checking account using the casino's ATM. Now all of our checks are going to bounce. Please, you have to help us!!"

"Joan, we’ve been friends for 25 years. I don’t know what came over me, but I can’t even pay my mortgage and utilities this month. Would you lend me the money just this once? I promise this will never happen again."

Friends and families of compulsive gamblers need to know how to recognize the escalation of a gambling problem in order to avoid falling into the trap of trying to "rescue" them financially. Monetary "aid" may only serve to fuel the gambler's urge to recoup his/her losses. Unfortunately, the money meant to amend the desperate situation created by the addiction actually may be used for more gambling.

Do you know how to recognize a loved one's gambling problem? What should you say to someone who asks for your financial help?

Compulsive Gambling (Escape) is a symptom of other psychological trauma. The majority of those who suffer from compulsive gambling later in life do so to self-medicate or escape from other life problems.

Compulsive gambling is a progressive, diagnosable, treatable disease much like alcohol and drugs. It does not go away by itself. Someone with a gambling problem needs to become educated about the disease and accept help.


Read the relevant articles available on this website to help you make a decision about whether the person who is asking you for financial help has a gambling problem. Read the articles in Types of Gamblers and Male or Female Gamblers as they may pertain to the person of concern. It is not unreasonable to ask the gambler to read the same material and, if they accept they have a problem, formulate a plan for getting help.

In addition to reading materials, you may want to attend a CoDependents Anonymous (CoDA) meeting. Many family members benefit from CoDA because it helps them love the person with the problem without trying to solve it for them.

CoDA meetings thrive throughout the nation, but especially in the Phoenix area (CoDA was founded in Phoenix). Meeting times and places are available on the internet on the CoDA website or by calling 602-735-3060.