Problem Gambling Part 1

Problem Gambling Part 1: Financial Steps a Family Can Take Today

Problem gambling causes disruptions in any major area of life: psychological, physical, social, or vocational. Although most adults who choose to gamble are able to do so responsibly, an estimated 2 to 6 million U.S. adults struggle with problem gambling to some degree. In consultation with the National Council on Problem Gambling, this workshop specifically focuses on practical steps problem gamblers can take to deal with the financial impact of their addictive behavior.

Workshop Materials

You must agree to the terms of the Content License Agreement below to access the materials. Once the materials are downloaded, they may be used as-is or customized to best meet your needs.

Each kit provides workshop facilitators with the materials needed to run a workshop straight out of the box, or the choice to adapt any of the detailed presentations, scripts or learner action plans to suit their unique audience’s needs. Here is what you can find in each workshop.

A Presentation

Display these PowerPoint slides during your presentation to keep the workshop engaging and on track.

A Script

Consult the script for tips on how to prepare for your workshop, what your primary talking points will be, and follow-up resources.

Activities and Info Sheets

Guide your workshop participants through the hands-on activities and informational sheets to bring the financial skills to life.

Related Resources

Find additional suggested resources that can help round out your educational offerings.


The FAQ section for each workshop can help answer your questions about working with your intended audience.


How widespread is problem gambling in the United States?

Approximately 2 million U.S. adults (about 1 percent of the population) are estimated to meet the criteria for pathological gambling in a given year. Another 4 to 6 million (2–3 percent) would be considered problem gamblers (that is, they do not meet the full diagnostic criteria for pathological gambling, but meet one of more of the criteria and are experiencing problems due to their gambling behavior). These criteria may include increased preoccupation with gambling, a need to bet more money more frequently, restlessness or irritability when attempting to stop, “chasing” losses, and continuation of the gambling behavior in spite of serious negative consequences. According to the National Council on Problem Gambling, research indicates that most adults who choose to gamble are able to do so responsibly.

I’m not a therapist or counselor. How can I help someone who has a gambling addiction problem?

The National Endowment for Financial Education designed the Problem Gambling workshops to focus specifically on dealing with financial issues faced by the gambler and related nongambler family/friends. This workshop explains specific strategies and practical steps to protect and safeguard financial resources. The workshop does not expect you, as a facilitator, to provide advice or approaches for dealing with psychological issues related to problem gambling.

I’ve never had a gambling problem myself. How can I best relate to workshop participants?

Nearly everyone faces some type of temptation that feels too hard to resist, or you may know someone who engages in compulsive behavior. Whatever that temptation is for you, recognize that a problem gambler may have similar issues when gambling. Acknowledging your own weaknesses in an appropriate manner can help participants feel like you understand and empathize with their situation.

Is this workshop designed to help only friends and family of problem gamblers?

This workshop is designed primarily to provide assistance and support for nongambler family members and/or friends. Problem gamblers may also benefit from the information, but the primary focus is on nongamblers. Another workshop, Problem Gambling: Financial Steps to Recovery, targets problem gamblers and what actions they can take to address the financial problems created by their addictive behavior.

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