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Gambling effects

Problem gambling affects personal finances as the gambler attempts to chase losses which with time becomes unmanageable. The impacts of problem gambling can be more than just losing money. 


GamCare Uganda hears from people that have lost property to gambling, people evicted by landlords for rent defaulting, students that have missed school because fees are lost to betting, people that have committed suicide,  those that haven’t spoken to anyone else about what they are going through and in turn the impacts on their loved ones can be just as bad.

Below is more information on the common impacts of a gambling problem. If you or someone you know needs help to address the impacts gambling is having, contact us now and we will help.

Financial effects

Problem gambling can have serious effects on personal finances as the attempt to chase loses become unmanageable. As well as spending wages, savings and spare cash, debts can also be a feature of problem gambling as a result of borrowings and loans to cover gambling loses. However, the impacts of problem gambling can be more than losing money.


Problem gamblers often say they feel isolated as a result of their solitary pursuits of chasing loses. There is a tendency to stay away from school, college or work in order to gamble. for example the betting shop, or people they talk to online. Problem gamblers can lose interest in maintaining personal relationships, career or hobbies as they are preoccupied with gambling, and they can suffer from social isolation. Regular life sometimes doesn’t hold the same appeal as the gambling ‘high’. The gambler may isolate themselves due to guilt or shame, or perhaps because they have borrowed or stolen to fund their gambling. It can begin to feel like there is no way back.


Having a gambling problem can be very all-consuming, and as well as the effect on the gamblers themselves, there is often a pre-occupation with gambling, a lack of interest in maintaining relationships and a lack of motivation to engage in social activities.  Arguing more with your partner or family, especially about money, budgeting and debt, being preoccupied with gambling and finding it difficult to focus on other things, spending less time with people and more time gambling, lying to friends and family about losses, stealing money from friends and family to gamble with. This and more is some of the forms gambling affects relationships

Problem gambling in a family can also have an effect on children – the impact of stress within the family unit and potential loss of relationship with a parent can have lasting consequences.

Mental health

Although a lot of people gamble to escape feelings of depression or other mental health problems, gambling can actually make these conditions worse. One reason that problem gambling can affect mental health is the way people experience 'highs' and 'lows' when gambling. If you gamble a lot yourself, you may have found the experience of anticipating 'the big win' to be very mentally involving and extremely exciting, perhaps better than feelings created by any other activity. You may also have found the devastation of losing to be a massive low, leading to feelings of despair.

This is especially the case in very high-risk forms of gambling, where very large amounts of money are being staked. This increases the potential for the massive 'high', but also makes the 'low' feel worse when it comes. Feelings of loss and despair following a gambling spree can lead to greater desires to gamble straight away in order to try and get back on a 'high'. However, by continuing to gamble, any negative feelings only get worse.

Are you experiencing some or all of the following?
• Having extreme emotions or mood swings?
• Feeling that gambling is the only thing you enjoy, to the exclusion of other things?
• Finding it difficult to sleep?
• Feeling depressed or anxious?
• Having suicidal thoughts?
• Using gambling as a way to deal with other problems or emotions in your life?

Contact us for help.

GamCare Uganda is a registered and independent non-governmental organization and as such, donations are vital in extending the reach and impact of our work to minimise gambling-related harm to individuals and families.

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