Are the odds stacked against
Have you ever wondered whether you or someone you know, might
have a problem with gambling? It can seriously damage your
relationships and your finances.
We explain some common warning signs associated with problem
gambling as well as options available to get help and support.
What is problem
Problem gambling is when a person is unable to limit how much
time and money they spend on gambling. It is usually impulsive and
can lead to relationship, financial and workplace problems for the
Sometimes people can't seem to limit their gambling because:
- They are excited by the possibility of winning
- They have won before and think they will win again
- They want to escape reality
- They like the social atmosphere of the place they gamble
Signs of problem gambling
Here are some signs that you might have a gambling problem:
- You think about gambling a lot
- You lose interest in social activities and your friends
- You can't afford to gamble, but you find ways to do it
- You use rent or mortgage payments to gamble
- You hide your gambling debts from loved ones
- You lie about gambling and about where you have been when you
- You feel that your gambling is out of control and you need
Case study: Trevor loses big on the pokies
Trevor was in his 20's and had a job as a barman.
He found his job stressful so to relieve the stress he played the
pokies in his breaks and after work.
Trevor started out spending only $20 a night on the pokies but
when he felt really stressed he played much more than that. He
finally got to the point where he was spending all his wages every
week on the pokies, hoping he could win back his losses to get his
finances back on track.
After a few months of this Trevor ended up with $10,000 of
credit card debt as he had to put all his bills and rent on his
Trevor knew he was in trouble so he went to his parents to ask
them for help. His parents helped him contact a financial
counsellor. The financial counsellor helped him negotiate with
his creditors and work out a plan to pay off his debts. His parents
also encouraged Trevor to contact Gambling help online and they
connected him with a local support group.
Trevor then decided to find a different job, where he will be
less tempted to gamble.
What can you do if you have a
Here are some places to get help if you think you have a
- Contact Gambling help online - They provide
counselling, support and information for people experiencing
problem gambling. Services include real time chat, email support
and counselling that can be accessed confidentially. They also
offer a short quiz to assess your gambling risk and tools to help
you calculate how much you spend on gambling. Here is the Gambling help online website.
- Speak to your family or friends - If you feel
uncomfortable speaking to someone at Gambling help online, you
should speak to someone close to you like your partner, a
family member or a friend, to share your situation with them. They
can help support you and get you the help you need.
Worried about someone close
Here are some common signs that your friend or relative might
have a gambling problem.
- They borrow money regularly from family and friends
- They are always short of money even though they are
- They are juggling a number of loans
- They are secretive about their finances
- Their possessions are disappearing or being sold
- They seem withdrawn from friends and social activities
- They display changes in personality, such as unexplained anger
- They spend a lot of their free time studying gambling
Gambling help online has lots of
useful information on how to help someone who may be a problem
gambler. They also have guidance on how to talk to your loved one
about their gambling issues and how to access professional help and
Problem gambling is a complicated, emotional
issue. It is important to know where to get help, but also how to
work out if your social gambling has become a problem.
Last updated: 14 Oct 2016