Gambling Addiction

From 4-D and Toto to the casinos around the world, Singaporeans have convenient access to various forms of gambling. In moderation, gambling can be viewed as harmless fun. However, excessive gambling can causes many problems. Unpleasant circumstances (e.g. stress, anxiety, and depression) can trigger compulsive gambling, as it seems like a fun way to unwind. When gambling becomes more than a crutch to handle personal problems, it becomes a problem in itself. Studies have suggested that compulsive gamblers are 20 times more likely to commit suicide than the general population, making this a deadly addiction.

Problem gambling is sometimes referred to as the “hidden illness”, as its symptoms cannot be easily spotted, unlike drug addictions. The gamblers also tend to hide their habit from families and loved ones. The National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) lists some patterns seen in problem gamblers:


  • A need to bet more money, and more frequently.
  • Restlessness or irritability when attempting to reduce or stop gambling.
  • Continuation of gambling behaviour despite mounting negative consequences.
  • Increasing isolation from family and friends.
  • Declining work performance.
  • Neglecting basic needs like money for food and rent.
  • Lying about how money is spent.
  • Denying there is a problem.

NAMS offers the Gambling Addiction Management through Education (G.A.M.E.), a comprehensive treatment programme. G.A.M.E. comprises of a thorough assessment, medical screening, counselling, group treatment, and family support group. The NAMS Gambling Hotline number is 1-800-6-668-668.

Below are links to external websites that provide more in-depth information on problem gambling:

Khoo Teck Puat Hospital Department of Psychological provides assessment for substance and behavioural addictions. We have a dedicated multidisciplinary team of psychiatrists and psychologists that can provide assessment and treatment for your psychological and emotional distress.

It is never too late to seek help. If you would like to obtain an assessment, please obtain a referral from your doctor or call 65558828 for an appointment.