When confronting a friend or loved one that is struggling with an addiction to gambling, I find it best to fight fire with fire. Take that addiction and use it against the addicted. Look the compulsive gambler in the eyes and say, "I bet you $1,000 you can't stop gambling for a year." If your acquaintance is truly a pathological gambler, he or she will take that bet. There are several ways this can play out.
1. The gambler succeeds in resisting the urge to gamble for one year. In this case, you've tapped into someone's potential, helping them realize the extent of their own willpower. Unfortunately, the gambler expects to be paid. Do not give $1,000 to the gambler. Instead, teach the gambler that gambling doesn't pay. Besides, you can't afford it.
2. The gambler loses the bet. While the addiction remains, your friend or loved one has now lost $1,000, and hopefully that encourages the gambler to seek further help. Plus, you just made a thousand bucks!
3. The gambler loses the bet, but refuses to pay you. This is a scenario you must prepare yourself for. No matter how close the gambler is to you, you have to be willing to shatter that person's kneecaps when payment is refused. This will provide yet another deterrent from a life of compulsive gambling, and it sends a clear message to others struggling with gambling addiction, letting them know that you mean business. Finally, you could really use the money. The holidays are right around the corner.