Is problem gambling leading to debt?

The UK has one of the biggest gambling markets in the world. Problem gambling not only harms the individual, but their families, friends and wider society.

In 2018, 24.5 million people in England gambled (54% of the adult population, or 40% when you exclude the National Lottery).

The North West (4.4%) and North East (4.9%) had the highest prevalence of at-risk gamblers.

  • Do you bet more than you can afford to lose?
  • Do you need to gamble with larger amounts of money to get the same feeling?
  • Have you tried to win back money you have lost (chasing losses)?
  • Have you borrowed money or sold anything to get money to gamble?
  • Have you wondered whether you have a problem with gambling?
  • Has your gambling caused you any health problems, including feelings of stress or anxiety?
  • Have other people criticised your betting or told you that you had a gambling problem (regardless of whether or not you thought it was true)?
  • Has your gambling caused any financial problems for you or your household?
  • Have you ever felt guilty about the way you gamble or what happens when you gamble?

Score 0 for each time you answer "never"
Score 1 for each time you answer "sometimes"
Score 2 for each time you answer "most of the time"
Score 3 for each time you answer "almost always"

If your total score is 8 or higher, you may be a problem gambler.

Help for problem gamblers

If you have a problem with gambling and you'd like to stop, support and treatment is available.

There's evidence that gambling can be successfully treated in the same way as other addictions. Cognitive behavioural therapy (opens in a new window) usually has the best results.

Treatment and support groups are available for people who want to stop gambling - have a look at the pages below:

Problematic Gambling - Beacon Counselling Trust (opens in a new window) - free counselling across lancashire and South Cumbria

Help for problem gambling - NHS ( (opens in a new window)

Get help with gambling problems - Citizens Advice (opens in a new window)


Former Premier League footballer Clarke Carlisle has opened up about his problem gambling in a bid to help others deal with similar problems.

The 41-year-old is supporting the Lancashire and South Cumbria Health and Care Partnership’s Let’s Keep Talking campaign which focuses on problem gambling.

Being a compulsive gambler can harm your health and relationships and leave you in serious debt.

Have a listen to Clarke's story:

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