For many, gambling is a popular pastime. Pokies, lotto, scratchies, card games, racing, and other forms of betting are forms of gambling prominent in Australia. Gambling is fun to do from time to time, but for others it can get out of hand and cause distress and financial problems.
Impacts of problem gambling
- Debt or other financial problems
- Relationship problems – arguments, disagreements or loss of connection with friends and family
- Loss of a job or problems at work due to lack of motivation, absences, inability to concentrate on work
- Mental and emotional health concerns – increased stress, depression, panic attacks
- Negative impacts on family, especially children – may start getting in the way of being a good parent
- Loss of control – gambling can be addictive and starts to take over, it can be hard to stop even when you know it is causing you and your family harm
Recognising the warning signs or risk of a gambling addiction
It can be hard to know if your gambling is getting out of control. A common reaction is to minimise, hide or deny gambling problems and the harm it could be causing. Some people will lie to themselves and others about how much money or time is being spent on gambling.
If you suspect you may be developing a gambling addiction, or if you recognise risk in someone you love, get help immediately.
Signs you may have a problem
Do you do any of the following:
- Spend more money and time than you intend to gambling
- Feel guilty and ashamed about your gambling
- Try to win back your losses
- Miss important things in life such as family time, work, leisure activities, appointments, because of gambling
- Think about gambling every day
- Have arguments with friends or family about your gambling
- Lie or steal to get money for gambling
- Get into debt or struggle financially due to gambling
- Worry about any other aspect of your gambling activities
What you can do
Taking steps to get help now and overcome gambling problems can help you regain control of your money, time and life, and reduce the impacts on your mental health, family, and relationships.
- Identify or admit you may have a problem or be at risk of developing one is an important step.
- Talk to someone you trust about your gambling. This will be the first step to finding the best way forward and develop a plan to cut down or stop.
- Call the Gambling Helpline (1800 858 858 – any time 24 hours). They can talk to you confidentially and provide information and self-help tools.
- Contact a gambling help service such as Gamblers Anonymous or another service in your local community. Even one session with a counsellor or support worker can help you assess your situation and set up a plan to help you.
- Ask a friend to check in with you. Having a close friend to support you can help.
- See a financial counsellor. After seeking help for your problem gambling behaviours, a financial counsellor can assess your financial concerns and help set up a plan to manage debts.
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- Information for family and friends of problem gamblers
- Gambling Help Online
- 1800 858 858