Need help? We are here for you 24/7:

I want to know more about how gambling impacts my life.

Call 1-888-347-8888. It is free, anonymous and available 24/7.

If you’re dealing with a mental health crisis, not just a gambling issue, call the Nova Scotia provincial mental health crisis line, 1-888-429-8167, to address your crisis immediately. It’s available 24/7 for anyone experiencing a mental health crisis.

What is gambling?

Gambling is when you bet money or something of value on an uncertain outcome in hopes of winning more than you risk.

There are many kinds of gambling, these include:

  • Video lottery terminals (VLTs) or slot machines
  • Casino table games, like blackjack or roulette
  • Horse racing
  • Internet casinos and betting
  • Sports betting
  • Card games
  • Lotto or scratch tickets
  • Bingo
  • Raffle tickets

New ways to gamble are being designed all the time. Online and mobile app gambling are growing areas.

Gambling can be addictive to some people because it acts on the same pleasure pathways in your brain as substances. For some people, this can become harmful.

When does gambling become harmful?

There is no easy answer to this question. Every person is different and may become harmfully involved in gambling for different reasons. Gambling isn’t always a problem. Gambling is harmful when it affects the gambler’s wellbeing or it affects the people around them. There are different—and increasingly harmful—levels of gambling.

Levels of harm from gambling

No Harm

  • You enjoy gambling and the people you’re with.
  • You don’t feel bad after gambling.
  • Gambling is one of the many leisure activities that you do.

Low Harm

  • You gamble a couple of times a year.
  • Sometimes you spend a little more than you meant to.
  • How you feel after gambling depends on whether you win or lose.

Moderate Harm

  • You have a hard time resisting the impulse to gamble.
  • Gambling is having a negative effect on your mood, relationships, work or study, and finances.
  • You sometimes ask for a loan when out gambling.

Significant Harm

  • Unable to resist the impulse to gamble. Gambling is your main or only leisure activity.
  • You are experiencing an addiction that is affecting all parts of your life.
  • Gambling is affecting the people in your life – partners, children, relatives and friends.
  • Win or lose, you feel badly after gambling.

Determine your level of harm

This quiz may help you work out whether gambling is putting you at risk.

Take the Quiz

Call (toll-free) 1-888-347-888. It is free, anonymous and available 24/7.

If you are in a crisis and need help now, call the Provincial Mental Health Crisis Line 1-888-429-8167. It is available 24/7 for anyone experiencing a mental health crisis.

Concerned about your gambling?

This booklet can help you explore if gambling is causing harm in your life and what strategies you might use to reduce or stop gambling. If you would like to talk to a trusted person about any of this information, please call the Gambling Support Network, 1-888-347-8888.

Download Now