Author Topic: Friend with Sports Gambling Problem - Discuss or Stay Away  (Read 1956 times)

jake1988

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 10
Friend with Sports Gambling Problem - Discuss or Stay Away
« on: April 23, 2019, 04:45:52 PM »
A good friend of mine likes to bet on sports and I think it is a problem for him. In our early 20s, a lot of "the guys" would hang out on Sundays, primarily during college and a few years after and bet a little on NFL games (spare me the lecture MMM board), but low stakes $20-$100 maybe overall, nothing serious and then maybe on the SuperBowl.

Fast forward to today, pretty sure nobody bets on anything besides maybe the SuperBowl besides this friend. We used to live together and I knew he bet on sports then, but it still seemed like minimal amounts of money. Over the last 6+ months, he has mentioned the games he has bet on and the amount bet which has increased quite a bit. A few months back, he was using my computer and when I came back later once everyone had left, he hadn't closed the website for the site he makes his bets through, it was on the "Transactions" page which showed all of his results, basically an Excel spreadsheet layout of all the bets, if they were Wins or Losses and those amounts ...I didn't mean to even stumble upon this, but I can tell there is a major problem here, and while it's not my business, I can see where this is heading...the results page was full of losses, which wouldn't be as bad, but many of the losses were all parlay bets (long shot "sucker" bets, common in gamblers that chase their losses). It was filtered to show results on a monthly basis and I could see these losses were just at what his monthly income is (I've never asked him this, but he asks me about his career, negotiation salary, etc. so I know these numbers from discussions with him).

On one hand, I can see the perspective that this is not my business and I should just let it go. On the other hand, this is a good friend of mine and I can tell he is going down a very dangerous path, especially as he tells me he is likely planning to get engaged soon (I'm certain his SO has no clue as she thinks he is saving for their future (ring, house, etc.)) and he isn't a rich person, so clearly these losses are not trivial and the increasing amounts and style of bets show signs of someone addicted. Part of me thinks he might be upset with me if I tell him I saw what I say, but at the same time, if that's what it takes to get him off this dangerous path, it might be worthwhile in the long run, that said, it might change absolutely nothing.

I feel like I'm in a bad spot either way, if I don't say anything, I know he will continue burning all of his cash and every day is digging his financial ditch (which I assume his SO will find out eventually as they live together) and I would feel bad not ever trying to help, whatever that means. Anyone ever been in a situation like this?

BicycleB

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2546
  • Location: Live Music Capital of the World
  • Older than the internet, but not wiser... yet
Re: Friend with Sports Gambling Problem - Discuss or Stay Away
« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2019, 07:52:35 PM »
Not with gambling.

Tough call. I say follow your heart. My guess is it's going to be bad no matter what. But like you say, you'll probably feel better for trying. I assume he's going to be angry, especially if you tell her and not just him. But both parties have at least a small chance of being better off if you try. Still it takes skill/luck... 10 to 1 odds you just get burned. (Sorry!)

Re going down a dangerous hole of risk, I did know a drug dealer who used too much of his product. He owned the restaurant I worked for and was pillaging it to pay for his habit. One day he looked really sick because his best friend / junior business partner had been killed to issue him a payment warning. A few days later the restaurant shut. The feds never answered any of our questions about the matter. I never got paid for my last check either.

jake1988

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 10
Re: Friend with Sports Gambling Problem - Discuss or Stay Away
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2019, 08:13:50 PM »
Not with gambling.

Tough call. I say follow your heart. My guess is it's going to be bad no matter what. But like you say, you'll probably feel better for trying. I assume he's going to be angry, especially if you tell her and not just him. But both parties have at least a small chance of being better off if you try. Still it takes skill/luck... 10 to 1 odds you just get burned. (Sorry!)

Re going down a dangerous hole of risk, I did know a drug dealer who used too much of his product. He owned the restaurant I worked for and was pillaging it to pay for his habit. One day he looked really sick because his best friend / junior business partner had been killed to issue him a payment warning. A few days later the restaurant shut. The feds never answered any of our questions about the matter. I never got paid for my last check either.

I'm not considering telling his SO, feel that would definitely cross the line of friend-code.

Sounds like a crazy story with the drug dealer.

frugaldrummer

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 833
Re: Friend with Sports Gambling Problem - Discuss or Stay Away
« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2019, 09:26:10 PM »
You'll probably lose the friendship but you might save his life.

I'd think of it like any other intervention for an addict. Are his parents around? How well do you know his SO? An intervention can be really difficult, but the point is to bring up the problem in a loving supportive environment, with enough of the important people in his life that he can't gaslight you all.  The goal is to get him to admit he needs help and the GET him help

If you approach him alone he'll just gaslight you for sure. And then you'll lose your chance.

You might first contact someone through Gamblers Anonymous to see if they can advise you or at least get information that you can give to your friend.

I WOULD have the SO at the intervention because A) she deserves to know what she's getting into and B) she might be his best ally in getting well.

Risk your friendship to save his life? Heck yes.

jake1988

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 10
Re: Friend with Sports Gambling Problem - Discuss or Stay Away
« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2019, 09:47:55 PM »
I should make a few clarifications. His SO DOES know he bets on sports as he is always looking at his phone at the sports apps to check the scores, even when out with friends, BUT I'm nearly certain she is under the impression it is minimal amounts of money as they are both rather cheap/frugal (obviously this is his vice, but very frugal in almost all other areas of life) and I am 100% positive if she knew, she would not be onboard.

I've also tried in a roundabout fashion to bring this up, for example, when baseball started, I saw some article about how bad of a sport it is to bet on for various reasons. I casually brought it up in conversation and he mentioned that he "barely bets anymore", and referenced only putting a small amount of money on a few games from time to time (an amount at least 5X smaller than I clearly saw on the website).

Also, I could particularly tell this is becoming a problem as I noticed his bets are all over the place, including betting on Russian hockey leagues and tennis matches that I am 100% certain he knows nothing about. The more I type this out, the more I realize something needs to happen, I just don't know what the first step should be.

marty998

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7039
  • Location: Sydney, Oz
Re: Friend with Sports Gambling Problem - Discuss or Stay Away
« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2019, 09:49:55 PM »
I'm not considering telling his SO, feel that would definitely cross the line of friend-code.


Gambling ruins many more lives than just that of the gambler (as with drugs as you can see form the previous posts).

I agree with frugaldrummer. The SO needs to know, one way or another. Otherwise this isn't going to stop, and it will escalate.

middo

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1164
  • Location: Country Western Australia
  • Learning.
Re: Friend with Sports Gambling Problem - Discuss or Stay Away
« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2019, 09:50:28 PM »
Personally I think it is worth trying.  If you don't, you will lose the friendship anyway.

I would try the "mate, I think you might have an issue with gambling" type talk if he ever brings it up.  Most addicts will bring it into their conversation somewhere.

Try not to judge him if he does talk at all.  He needs help rather than judgement, as he will already be judging himself.  Maybe have some ideas about services he could access for when the opportunity arises, but be careful to not preach.


jake1988

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 10
Re: Friend with Sports Gambling Problem - Discuss or Stay Away
« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2019, 09:53:59 PM »
You'll probably lose the friendship but you might save his life.

I'd think of it like any other intervention for an addict. Are his parents around? How well do you know his SO? An intervention can be really difficult, but the point is to bring up the problem in a loving supportive environment, with enough of the important people in his life that he can't gaslight you all.  The goal is to get him to admit he needs help and the GET him help

If you approach him alone he'll just gaslight you for sure. And then you'll lose your chance.

You might first contact someone through Gamblers Anonymous to see if they can advise you or at least get information that you can give to your friend.

I WOULD have the SO at the intervention because A) she deserves to know what she's getting into and B) she might be his best ally in getting well.

Risk your friendship to save his life? Heck yes.

In my view, this is taking a serious move, involving his family and SO, I mean that is seriously crossing a line in terms of the friendship and I wouldn't want to put him in a position where his relationship with SO could go south because of me.

Perhaps this is wishful thinking, but I'd ideally like a solution that involves just me and him talking about the situation to try and come to a resolution, but I can certainly see how that wouldn't work as well.

frugaldrummer

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 833
Re: Friend with Sports Gambling Problem - Discuss or Stay Away
« Reply #8 on: April 23, 2019, 10:02:58 PM »
You are worrying more about the harm to the friendship than you are about the risk to him (and to his SO who deserves to know).

Ask yourself what you would do if he was a heroin addict. Would you protect his SO from finding out? Would you worry about losing the friendship of you confronted him?

This is just about as serious and life-ruining an addiction.

Talk to some people from Gamblers Anonymous and read up on interventions for addicts.

Lulee

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 252
  • Location: NH
  • "We'll jump off that bridge when we come to it."
Re: Friend with Sports Gambling Problem - Discuss or Stay Away
« Reply #9 on: April 24, 2019, 07:58:04 AM »
Talk to some people from Gamblers Anonymous and read up on interventions for addicts.

+1

Consider too that he may have left that website open "accidentally on purpose" so you would step up as his friend and help that part of him that wants to confront his addiction. Put your friend first and find out how to get him help NOW.  The longer you wait, the worse the fallout will be for him and everyone who cares about him, including you.

BicycleB

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2546
  • Location: Live Music Capital of the World
  • Older than the internet, but not wiser... yet
Re: Friend with Sports Gambling Problem - Discuss or Stay Away
« Reply #10 on: April 24, 2019, 08:27:01 AM »
Heís not going to morph into being a non-addict overnight. At best he will resist the urge with the support of friends and family.

If heís getting married, sheís already involved, you just havenít communicated with her. How do you know she isnít quietly aware, wondering why his buddies are ignoring the problem?

My experience with problem hiders is that they avoid connecting their loved ones because isolation is the best way to continue addiction. Forming a team of the people who care about him is not what his addiction wants. His addiction wants you to tread cautiously and stay isolated.

Congratulations on stepping up, asking for ideas and being honest about where youíre at. I think youíre going to find out as you go along that youíre capable of handling things you never imagined. And you may make a difference. Best wishes however you proceed!


jake1988

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 10
Re: Friend with Sports Gambling Problem - Discuss or Stay Away
« Reply #11 on: April 24, 2019, 09:11:05 AM »
You are worrying more about the harm to the friendship than you are about the risk to him (and to his SO who deserves to know).

Ask yourself what you would do if he was a heroin addict. Would you protect his SO from finding out? Would you worry about losing the friendship of you confronted him?

This is just about as serious and life-ruining an addiction.

Talk to some people from Gamblers Anonymous and read up on interventions for addicts.

You make a good point and analogy. I think looking up GA is a good idea as they have been through this process more than anyone.

jake1988

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 10
Re: Friend with Sports Gambling Problem - Discuss or Stay Away
« Reply #12 on: April 24, 2019, 09:15:41 AM »
Heís not going to morph into being a non-addict overnight. At best he will resist the urge with the support of friends and family.

If heís getting married, sheís already involved, you just havenít communicated with her. How do you know she isnít quietly aware, wondering why his buddies are ignoring the problem?

My experience with problem hiders is that they avoid connecting their loved ones because isolation is the best way to continue addiction. Forming a team of the people who care about him is not what his addiction wants. His addiction wants you to tread cautiously and stay isolated.

Congratulations on stepping up, asking for ideas and being honest about where youíre at. I think youíre going to find out as you go along that youíre capable of handling things you never imagined. And you may make a difference. Best wishes however you proceed!
You are right. They are not married or engaged yet, but live together. I think this is definitely a case of problem hiding as you mentioned above. His SO comes from money, so my guess is he just acts like this is small time gambling and she never second guesses it or even sees it as I believe they have separate bank accounts and she would have no clue if he is typing in a $1 bet on his phone or a $200 bet on his phone.

civil4life

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 441
    • My Journal
Re: Friend with Sports Gambling Problem - Discuss or Stay Away
« Reply #13 on: April 24, 2019, 01:07:39 PM »
You mention that his SO and he are generally frugal people.  So on some level he knows what he is doing is wrong and hurting his/their future.  Maybe bringing it up through the financial side.  Maybe pretend the opposite.  I am doing alright with my savings, but I really am spending too much gambling on sports.  How do you manage it?  He could go with the faking it or possibly open up about his difficulty.  If he owns up to the situation maybe say hey I was considering trying GA want to come with me.

If he is denying it will at least make him think about it.  Possibly not feel alone.

Give it a few weeks and see what happens. 

Most likely that will not be enough and after this you will probably have to go the more direct approach.

One other piece might be getting your spouse to adapt MMM.  Looking at your future life and what you want etc.

Psychstache

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1039
Re: Friend with Sports Gambling Problem - Discuss or Stay Away
« Reply #14 on: April 24, 2019, 02:50:19 PM »
You'll probably lose the friendship but you might save his life.

I'd think of it like any other intervention for an addict. Are his parents around? How well do you know his SO? An intervention can be really difficult, but the point is to bring up the problem in a loving supportive environment, with enough of the important people in his life that he can't gaslight you all.  The goal is to get him to admit he needs help and the GET him help

If you approach him alone he'll just gaslight you for sure. And then you'll lose your chance.

You might first contact someone through Gamblers Anonymous to see if they can advise you or at least get information that you can give to your friend.

I WOULD have the SO at the intervention because A) she deserves to know what she's getting into and B) she might be his best ally in getting well.

Risk your friendship to save his life? Heck yes.

In my view, this is taking a serious move, involving his family and SO, I mean that is seriously crossing a line in terms of the friendship and I wouldn't want to put him in a position where his relationship with SO could go south because of me.

Perhaps this is wishful thinking, but I'd ideally like a solution that involves just me and him talking about the situation to try and come to a resolution, but I can certainly see how that wouldn't work as well.

If you are right (hiding the degree and frequency of his betting, hiding this information from his SO), then his relationship is going to go south. If he is an addict and doesn't get support and treatment, it is a question of when his relationship blows up, not if.

+1 on contacting/getting resources from Gamblers Anon.

pbkmaine

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8392
  • Age: 64
  • Location: The Villages, Florida

Villanelle

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3631
Re: Friend with Sports Gambling Problem - Discuss or Stay Away
« Reply #16 on: April 24, 2019, 03:00:57 PM »
You'll probably lose the friendship but you might save his life.

I'd think of it like any other intervention for an addict. Are his parents around? How well do you know his SO? An intervention can be really difficult, but the point is to bring up the problem in a loving supportive environment, with enough of the important people in his life that he can't gaslight you all.  The goal is to get him to admit he needs help and the GET him help

If you approach him alone he'll just gaslight you for sure. And then you'll lose your chance.

You might first contact someone through Gamblers Anonymous to see if they can advise you or at least get information that you can give to your friend.

I WOULD have the SO at the intervention because A) she deserves to know what she's getting into and B) she might be his best ally in getting well.

Risk your friendship to save his life? Heck yes.

In my view, this is taking a serious move, involving his family and SO, I mean that is seriously crossing a line in terms of the friendship and I wouldn't want to put him in a position where his relationship with SO could go south because of me.

Perhaps this is wishful thinking, but I'd ideally like a solution that involves just me and him talking about the situation to try and come to a resolution, but I can certainly see how that wouldn't work as well.

Why wouldn't you want that?  If you think this is truly problem gambling, then the most important thing should be his well-being, not protecting his relationship with his partner, or even with you.

And losing those relationships may be part of what it takes for him to realize it's a true problem and get healthy.

To me, it is either a somewhat minor problem, in which case I'd do nothing--basically treating it like a friend who buys too many lattes and fancy cars and isn't saving enough.  Or, it's a major problem, in which case minor little steps are almost certainly not going to be affective and I'd feel like anything less than just about whatever I could do would just be enabling him. 

RetiredAt63

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 13915
  • Location: Eastern Ontario, Canada
Re: Friend with Sports Gambling Problem - Discuss or Stay Away
« Reply #17 on: April 24, 2019, 03:50:46 PM »
And she needs to know as well, before she gets further involved by marrying him.  She won't be the first to back out of a wedding because of gambling, I know of at least one wedding called off because of gambling debts.   

ReadySetMillionaire

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1619
  • Location: The Buckeye State
Re: Friend with Sports Gambling Problem - Discuss or Stay Away
« Reply #18 on: April 24, 2019, 04:11:31 PM »
I was up by 20 points in my fantasy baseball league going into the final MLB game Sunday. My opponent had the starting pitcher for the Atlanta Braves -- if he got enough points, his team would win. His pitcher amassed 18 points going into the 7th inning and was certain to get 5 more points for a win (the Braves were up 11-0) -- but then Franky Lindor hit a home run and the subsequent batter walked -- both of which were worthless in the real world. 

But in fantasy world, that's -4 points for his pitcher, putting his pitcher down to 14, who then got 5 for the win (total of 19), meaning I won the week's matchup 243-242. That was bliss.

***

I tell this stupid story for perhaps an alternative approach you might think about, as I used to have a big gambling problem.  A lot of law students revert to booze and/or weed, but my distraction was gambling on sports, fantasy, and blackjack at the casino downtown. I was going to the casino 3-4 days a week -- which is insane given that I was in my first year of law school and clerking 20 hours per week. It basically had to get to the point that I was losing close to my entire paychecks until I just stopped.

Some might disagree with this approach, but I resolved everything by getting involved in low stakes fantasy leagues that take up the whole season, as well as small card tournaments.  With fantasy, I still get my fix of watching games every day and being interested in outcomes, but it comes at the total cost of about $200 per year. I think that's well worth it in terms of entertainment value.

I also play in $50 card tournaments about 5-6 times a year with friends and colleagues.  I'm actually hosting a card tournament at my new office this Saturday and I'm super excited about it, as it gives me an opportunity to network, have fun, keep in touch with old high school friends, etc.

What I'm getting at is maybe you can approach your friend with some alternative ideas. Maybe invite him into a low stakes fantasy football league (maybe $100), and that could occupy him for the fall. And then baseball is April to October.

I don't want to make too much of my own anecdotal experience, as some might say you need to cut off cold turkey. Every situation is different, though, so I thought I'd offer something not discussed in this thread.

Just a thought.

***

While I support approaching him, I also just want to note that I categorically and emphatically disagree with anyone saying to get the SO immediately involved. Maybe get her involved eventually, but definitely do not right at the outset.

Your duty is to your friend. If there is any way you can resolve this and help him confront this issue privately -- all the while preserving his relationship -- that makes you one hell of an amazing friend.

I know I would have appreciated a friend asking me, politely and in confidence. But my wife (who I admit I was not dating during law school) is the greatest thing to ever happen to me -- and I would have absolutely blown my fucking lid if a friend jeopardized my relationship if they had partial knowledge about something. Honestly, it would have possibly driven me into a deeper abyss and turned to some type of other substance. Not sure I know what would have done.

***

This is a tough situation. Best of luck.

COEE

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 611
Re: Friend with Sports Gambling Problem - Discuss or Stay Away
« Reply #19 on: April 24, 2019, 07:56:22 PM »
I agree with getting professional advice from GA.

Be willing to lose your friend... it's not worth keeping your friend and see him go down a black hole.  It's worth losing a friend and him not going down that hole.  You might need to be the fall guy.  That's okay.

iris lily

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3850
Re: Friend with Sports Gambling Problem - Discuss or Stay Away
« Reply #20 on: April 27, 2019, 06:15:13 AM »
I agree with getting professional advice from GA.

Be willing to lose your friend... it's not worth keeping your friend and see him go down a black hole.  It's worth losing a friend and him not going down that hole.  You might need to be the fall guy.  That's okay.

Wow, this is heavy. And good.