Frequently Asked Questions
See frequently asked questions by gamblers and their significant others. If you like to discuss options, call or chat us. Peluuri's helpline is open every weekday from 12 noon to 6 pm. Peluuri's chat is open mon, wed, fri from 12 noon to 3 pm. Our services are free and confidential and in English if possible.
Gambling problems typically narrow the thinking which makes it difficult to see all options clearly. Many wishful thoughts and believes maintain gambling problems. Familiarize yourself with the most common false conclusions, thoughts that maintain gambling and with the mathematic of gambling. Challenge your own believes! In other words, there are two alternatives in the situation:
1. You hold on to your dreams and decide to continue with the gambling.
The gambling takes your money, your time, while making you depressed, anxious and prone to hide and cover up your problem. Your finances, relationships and other problems will most likely get even worse.
2. You decide to try to change your behaviour and start to sort out the problems.
In that case your gambling behaviour, your finances and the rest of your life are given a chance to sort themselves out according to your wishes. The change, however, won't happen overnight. There are different useful tools and external support to help you make the change. Get familiar with the services provided by Peluuri, the crisis help and other assistance available to you.
Usually the financial problems are so complicated and one's own emotional state so low that external help is needed to get things sorted out.
There are many different ways to get help and support to limit/quit gambling.
The services available in Finland vary regionally, but basically every municipality has to arrange treatment also for gambling problems. If the treatment isn´t offered within your own municipality, the needed services will be arranged with a financial obligation agreement from a municipality nearby.
Find out more by contacting the intoxicant or mental health services of your municipality.
We at Peluuri are also happy to help with finding the right services: call or chat to us if you want to know more about the services provided in your area.
Feelings like shame, failure and guilt are understandable and quite natural in the situation.
Guilt and anxiety is often numbed by more gambling, by drinking or by any kind of activity in order not to confront ones feelings. When a person has started to recognise his/her feelings instead of trying to escape them, the possibility for change will present itself.
- Look for help, encouragement and new ways to control your gambling.
- The most certain way to break the circle of negative feelings is to avoid to be left alone with the problems.
- Not talking often makes the problems worse and deepens the anxiety.
- Many gamblers hide their gambling problem from their loved ones for a long time because they want to sort out the problem by themselves, and they are afraid of the reactions of they loved ones. The fact that you have the courage to bring up the subject yourself is a sign of honesty towards yourself and your loved ones. It is also a sign that you have noticed the problem and started thinking about alternatives to change the situation.
- Talking gives the people around you an opportunity to listen to you and to support you in your decision to change things, as well as to push you forward. If you however can´t yet talk about the problem with your loved ones, do you have a trustworthy friend with whom you could share this problem?
- You can call the Peluuri helpline weekdays from noon to 6 p.m. to talk about anything related to gambling problems.
- The call is free of charge, you can choose to be anonymous and Peluuri won't get hold of your phone number or other identification information.
- Together with a professional you can take a closer look at your situation and think about means that would suite you in particular. You can also chat with us on weekdays via our website.
- Join a web/phone based peer support group if you rather get support from someone with experiences similar to your own.
- None of the face-to-face or online services exclude each other. You can participate in all of them and try out which one is the most suited to support you in your change.
According to our research, banks don´t seem to have tools which would allow the customer to effectively control their spending. In other words, the customer does administer his/her use of money if he/she is not within the guardianship services.
However, some banks do have tools which specify on what you have spent your money. These can be helpful in planning future use of money.
What can you do yourself in order to limit your spending?
- Give up your credit card and instead get a debit card to which you can set a daily withdraw limit and block the possibility to use it as a pay card. You can change these limitations at your online bank service. You can´t buy games at a slot machine with a debit card limited like this.
- It is useful to give up your codes for your online banking service, especially when the gambling problem is in an acute phase. This stops you from changing your withdraw limits or from transferring money to gambling sites.
- Take care of all your obligatory payments and expenses immediately when you get money and set up direct payments for your bills.
- When it is payday, transfer money to a savings account, investment fund, a account owned by a loved one or to somewhere else from where you don´t get it immediately in use when you get an impulse to gamble.
The service providers of your telephone and internet subscriptions can block them in different ways
- You can for instance prevent the browsing of certain types of websites with your device or block some service numbers (for instance payday loans).
- Some of these services are free of charge; some can be subjected to a charge.
- Ask your own service provider for more information regarding different blocking possibilities.
- There are also different blocking softwares available which block gambling sites. These programs are worth utilising in order to prevent online gambling.
FAQ Significant others
The first step is that the one who gambles notices and admits the existence of the problem. He/she has to be willing at least to consider a change. Sometimes this process can take long, sometimes things progress faster.
Below is a list of methods in order to get the gambler to see the existence of the problem and to admit it:
- Bring up the harms you see in your loved ones gambling during your discussions.
- Don´t pay off your loved ones gambling debts or give him/her money, because this will often just prolong the existence of the gambling problem and delay the willingness of starting to fix the problem.
- Set your own limits for what you allow and what you don´t allow from your loved one and stick to them. Take care of your own coping and secure your own economics. Give a hand with taking care of things to that degree that you are able to, want to and can cope with.
- The gambler does often feel shame and helplessness because of that he/she can´t control his/her own behaviour. He/she wants to cover up his/her gambling and explain things in a favourable light for himself/herself and for others. You can alleviate the shame by telling that there are over 100 000 other persons in Finland who suffer from a gambling problem. Assure him/her that it is possible to make a change and to have a better future. Use your own means to encourage the gambler with the change.
- Advice your loved one to for example read the websites of Peluuri and/or the Valtti forum. You can call Peluuri and ask us for material that you can then give to your loved one to read. Knowledge and similar experiences will hopefully help your loved one to notice the existence of the problem and the need for a change as well as increase the hopefulness of a change to be possible.
- Don´t go along with unrealistic dreams of winning, because these dreams will only sustain the enthusiasm of gambling and they make the quitting/reducing more difficult.
In order to minimize the harms remind your loved one to take care of the obligatory payments (food, rent, bills etc.) immediately when his/her salary, pension or other incomes are paid and, if you have the possibility, make sure that he/she also does so.
Help your loved one with making a budget and encourage him/her to use the direct payments option in his/her online banking service. Advise him/her to give away his/her credit card.
- Bring up the harms you see in your loved ones gambling during your discussions.
Problem gamblers do often have several reasons why they don’t want to talk about their gambling:
- the harms caused by gambling aren´t yet significant enough
- the gambler is denying the problem for himself/herself and others
- it can feel too bad or too difficult to talk about it
- the gambler can feel that the problem is a private matter which doesn´t concern others
- silence can feel like a way to solve the situation
No-one can be forced to talk and everyone doesn´t know how, or have the courage, to talk about their feelings. For many people it is difficult to express their feelings in words or try to explain their behaviour or the reasons which led to it – the reasons are not always very clear and structured for the gambler either.
However, if the problematic behaviour isn´t confronted it cannot be changed. Silent approval or acceptance of a harmful behaviour equals allowance. This won’t help the gambler nor change to situation of the loved one.
In case the other persons behaviour or actions causes sorrow, grief or arguments there have to be a possibility to communicate in some way with one’s inner circle of close relatives and friends. There are many ways for self-expression and it is possible to learn how to deal with difficult things too.
Here are a few tips in case it feels difficult to start the discussion
You can encourage the gambler to write down his/her thoughts for himself/herself, as a letter to you or to a peer support forum.
The gambler and the loved one can agree on the times when they´ll concentrate on talking about only the gambling problem. In this way the conversations will stay on topic. Decide a time, topic, length and rules for the conversation. Both parts are obligated to come with suggestions to help solve the problem.
Sometimes an outside mediator is needed. Instances offering services for problem gamblers do also help couples and families. Different services for couples can also be helpful.
If the gambler doesn´t want to communicate in any way regarding the problem, the loved one have to review his/her own situation and ask himself/herself if he/she wants to continue like this? When the gambler avoids facing the facts the loved one can do the same thing without even noticing. It is important to wish for a change, but without action, own or the other parts, no situations will change.
The problematic gambling of a loved one does easily give birth to strong feelings. Even in a surge of emotions it is worth to think about how to express things so that to situation won´t grind to a halt: pay attention especially to how you talk, which words you use when talking about the other person and how to express yourself in a way that advances to discussion.
Talking about gambling doesn´t need to be an argument. Both parts are responsible for the way they express themselves.
Many people who realise that they gamble too much at first wants to try limiting their gambling.
If there have been only occasional minor excesses in the control of the gambling it is possible that the limiting really works out. On the other hand, if the gambling limits are repeatedly exceeded or the games have caused serious economic problems or debts, is it highly likely that the gambler can’t keep his/her gambling under control in the future either.
The attempts to limit the gambling are still positive signs: they signal that the gambler wants to do something in order to change his/her gambling habits. If these attempts fail, it usually leads to a decision to stop gambling all together.
There is no one correct way of acting. However, there are a few good principles that are worth considering in the case that your loved one tries to limit his/her problematic gambling:
- Make the gambling and the spending transparent.
- Make a budget together. It is good that the ”partner without problems” also makes an budget and set an example of how to control spending. After a week or a month take a close look at where your money has gone.
- Do a common plan and agreement, in which you write down the answers to the following questions:
- What is the amount of money and time that the gambler can spend on games per week?
- What is the amount he/you can lose without getting upset?
- Which games have caused problems to the gambler, which haven´t? Games with a fast tempo (for example slot machines, online games, casino table games and live betting) cause more often problems than lottery games and live betting’s with a slower tempo.
- In which situations is the gambler allowed/not allowed to gamble?
- How can you as a loved one ensure that the gambling limits hold up? Do also set weekly and monthly limits for gambling sites.
- What does the gambler promise to do if he/she doesn´t stick to the gambling limits?
- How precisely do you hold on to the limits?
Remember that unfortunately your support, advices and encouragement doesn’t always lead to a desired outcome. The gambling or non-gambling of another adult person is never your responsibility.
- Make the gambling and the spending transparent.
Problems doesn´t unfortunately disappear just because we wish them to. A gambling problem will not be cured by the loved ones suffering, sacrifices or mental malaise. The relationship to the gambler works as all other relationships- lies, avoiding of responsibility or other kind of negative behaviour affect it.
If the gamblers doesn´t succeed in quitting by himself/herself he/she should seek help. There can be many hindrances in seeking assistance (like shame, lack of effort, fear, uncertainness regarding the treatment, possible queuing time, obsession of getting things fixed by oneself), but it is worth encouraging the gambler to take the help offered in spite of these hindrances so that the harmful behaviour can be changed.
When being in the middle of gambling problems the loved one usually notices faster than the gambler that everyone is responsible for his/her own actions or non-actions. The same apply to searching for help: the loved one can give an example to the gambler by searching for help or support and noticing that he/she feels better, find new ways to act and take care of himself/herself.
If your loved one is capable of taking care of his/her own things (he/she has no memory disorders, is not under guardianship, not underage etc.), he/she has a right that is called self-determination.
In that case you can persuade and help your loved one to make an appointment to the doctor, a debt counsellor or to a place that offer treatment for gambling problems. You can book an appointment f to couples therapy or family therapy yourself and you can also visit together the instance providing treatment for gambling problems.
If your loved one gambles using your computer, you can install a blocking software which blocks the access to online casinos or betting sites. If he/she uses his/her own computer help and encourage him/her to install the blocking software or do so yourself after receiving his/her permission.
You can together take a voluntary own credit stoppage. In that case your loved one can only take credit with the certificate which he/she can give in your possession and you again can hide it to a place he/she can´t find it. You can also set an option in the credit stoppage that you get a notification every time your loved one applies for a pay day loan. However, you can´t take a credit stoppage on behalf of someone else so you have to do it together in mutual agreement.
You can´t take a marketing ban on behalf of someone else: it can only be taken by the owner of the telephone subscription.
So with the assent of your loved one you can help him/her sort out different things. Help, but do not absorb the responsibility. It is better that the responsibility of paying bills caused by gambling as well as fixing other financial problems stays with the gambler.
The best way to control the finances is to transfer all the money on payday to the persons bank account who doesn´t have a gambling problem.
If you feel that your loved one isn´t capable of taking care of himself/herself or his/her finances, you can file a petition for appointment of a guardian at the Local Register Office. The Local Register Office will based on the petition (filed by the person himself/herself or someone else) gather information from the doctors, health care professionals and/or the social workers of the case in order to make the decision if the person in question need a guardian. The person in question is heard in person as well as the petitioner if the petition is made by someone else.
The Local Register Office can appoint a guardian, if the person oneself has filed for the petition and asked for someone specific to be appointed as his/her guardian. In other cases the decision is made by the district court. The competency of the person is restricted gradually and never more than necessary in order to protect the person in question. The need to continue with the guardianship is checked every four years. Guardianships are often connected to difficult life situations and they don’t last for the rest of the life.
A person who is suitable for the task and who gives his/her permission to it can be appointed as a guardian. You get more detailed information about the guardianship practice by contacting the Local Register Office.
Many gamblers ”get better”, just like many drug addicts or other addicts get their problem under control. Everyone has a chance to recover. It is impossible to know beforehand who recovers.
A person suffering from a gambling problem can learn new ways to control his/her everyday life, so that he/she doesn’t need to gamble or can keep his/her gambling under control.
For some people gambling can have worked as an escape in a difficult life situation and gambling can have been a way to try to solve other problems. When the situations change and when new ways to solve problems have been learned, the person may realize that he/she no longer uses gambling as a way to survive or control feelings.
A person suffering from a gambling problem do sometimes feel that the tendency to gamble and attraction to games will always be a part of him/her. Even in these cases it is possible for the person to learn an everyday life where the addiction isn´t steering his/her actions. There is a lot of different ways to control life and gambling: self-help tools, peer supporting groups, therapy, information and literature.
It is possible to learn to trust a person with a gambling problem, just like it is possible to learn to trust anyone who has changed his/her course of action. In a relationship trust is based on us believing in the other person’s words or promises he/she gives us.
The quitting of problematic gambling is often connected to the relearning of openness and honesty. The gambler learns how to recognise feelings, thoughts and actions connected to self-deception as well as situations were these occur.
The gambler and their loved ones benefit from learning how to talk with each other in an open way, plainly and without hiding anything. A gambler who learns how to express himself/herself openly can give his/her loved one a possibility to support himself/herself in difficult situations. In this way the loved one can learn to notice which everyday situations might awaken the urge to gamble.
There is a wide selection of support, help and tools to help build a functioning and trusting relationship: books, manuals, different courses (for couples or individual) as well as services for families and couples provided by the municipality.