Donate toggle menu
MENU
Problem Gambling Services

Problem Gambling Services

COSTI’s Problem Gambling Services include culturally and linguistically appropriate prevention, education and treatment for gamblers and family members in the Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish Canadian community and prevention services that include outreach and public education activities directed towards various ethno-cultural communities. The program currently targets ethno-specific communities such as the Hindi, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Spanish, Sinhalese, Tagalog, Tamil, and Vietnamese speaking communities. The program works collaboratively with ethno-specific agencies and the Canadian Association for Mental Health Services to deliver prevention activities in the various ethno-cultural communities. The treatment service is client centered and easy to access for the Italian Canadian community. COSTI’s Problem Gambling Service, uses a model of intervention that is culturally based and linguistically appropriate, incorporating a harm reduction approach, and motivational, cognitive, behavioural and solution focused counselling.

Read more about COSTI's Problem Gambling Services, in COSTI and the Community.

Services Available

  • Individual, couple, family and group counselling for people with problem gambling or those affected by a problem gambler
  • Psycho-social assessment
  • Telephone counselling
  • Referrals to credit counselling and other services not available at COSTI
  • Family education and support groups
  • Outreach and public education to the Italian Canadian community to raise awareness on the issue
  • Assisting other ethnocultural groups with the issue of problem gambling, using a community development approach, which utilizes a variety of prevention and educational strategies, including print media to place advertisements in local community newspapers, broadcast media, and the production of written resource materials, to address the issue of problem gambling in the targeted ethnocultural communities

Staff at this location speak English, Italian and Spanish.

For services in Portuguese, contact: Ricadina Pereira Portuguese Mental Health and Addicition Services 399 Bathurst Street Toronto, Ontario M5T 2S8 Phone: 416.603.5974, ext. 5891 For Problem Gambling Services in French, please contact CAMH Problem Gambling Service at 416.599.1322 or Toll free in Ontario at 1.888.647.4414 Email: gambling@camh.net

Pour des services en français concernant des problèmes de dépendance au jeu, veuillez communiquer avec le Service du jeu problématique de CAMH, au : 416.599.1322, ou sans frais en Ontario au : 1.888.647.4414 Courriel : gambling@camh.net

Who is Eligible

Services are available to all Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish Canadians residing in Toronto and York Region.

Program Intake

Monday – Friday: 8:30 am to 4:30 pm

Contact Details for:

Problem Gambling Services
Phone: Toll Free Number: 1.866.222.9993
Email: gamblingservices@costi.org

This Program is Located at:

Family and Mental Health Services
Sheridan Mall, 1700 Wilson Ave., Suite 105
Toronto, ON
Phone: 416.244.7714 | famcounselling@costi.org

There is no fee for this service.

COSTI's Problem Gambling Services program is funded by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care through the Addictions Program, Mental Health and Addictions Branch.

Related Resources

View Workshop Calendars

Does Someone You Know Have a Gambling Problem?

Although a gambling problem may be difficult to detect and may remain hidden for a long time there are usually signs relating to finances, time, behaviour and emotions that can alert a loved one that there may be a problem with gambling.

Here are some of the signs to look for:

  • Neglecting family and work responsibilities

  • Lying

  • Secretive about finances

  • Argumentative

  • Irritable, restless or unable to concentrate

  • Anxious and/or depressed

  • Promising to stop and then gambling again

  • Increasing time and money spent on gambling

  • Disinterested in other social activities

  • Preoccupied with gambling

  • Convinced past losses can be won back

  • Increasing alcohol or other drug use

  • Disappearing for long periods of time

  • Committing illegal acts (forgery, fraud, embezzlement) to get money.


New Beginnings: Problem Gambling Awareness Kit for Newcomers in Ethnocultural Communities

Produced by COSTI and the Responsible Gambling Council (RGC), New Beginnings: Problem Gambling Awareness Kit for Newcomers in Ethnocultural Communities, is a video resource for use with recent newcomers to Canada. The video provides information on problem gambling and offers suggestions on prevention.

For more information click here.

You Didn’t Know There Was a Gambling Problem in Your Family

You may have felt for some time things were not quite right, but you were not exactly sure what was wrong. Every time you questioned your loved one about something that seemed out of the ordinary, they had an explanation.

If you have just discovered a problem, the gambling may be out of control. Your family’s financial resources and the trust that holds your relationship together have been seriously damaged. Do not blame yourself for the problems that have been created or for not connecting the signs to a problem. An important first step is to take immediate action to preserve your family’s remaining financial resources. Financial problems related to problem gambling can be complicated, so it is important to talk with someone who is knowledgeable about debt management. Depending on your individual situation you may need to consult with a lawyer to understand your legal rights and financial obligations.

Next it is important to explore how problem gambling can affect you as a family member. You may be feeling overwhelmed betrayed, financially devastated, emotionally drained, depressed and frightened for the future. Thoughts and feelings of this nature are common when first addressing the complex issues that arise as a result of a gambling problem. Take the time you need to sort through these feelings. Believe it or not there are solutions to what might, now, appear to be insurmountable problems. Change is made in small steps-every small step is progress toward making things better.

Whether you are living with a gambling problem, or if you have just discovered a problem in your family, it is important that you look after yourself.

The following are some suggestions of things you can do for yourself:

  • Finding ways to relax by doing something you enjoy


  • Defining your own boundaries may be a source of relief


  • Go for a physical check up


  • Join a support group or attend ongoing counselling. Counselling can assist you and your family in beginning to take action to repair relationships and to regain a sense of personal security. It may help you regain a sense of control in your life.

You’ve Stopped Gambling for a While, But You've Started Again

People may go back to gambling (relapse) after they have decided to stop. Don’t be discouraged, this happens to many people for a variety of reasons. This doesn’t mean that you will not achieve your goal. It may be more difficult but still possible. Your counsellor can help you learn from this and look at how to avoid relapse in the future.