Problem gambling

Problem gambling

Problem gambling teaser

21 Jul 2017

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. While it may seem obvious what gambling is, emerging technology has blurred the lines to expand the range of ways people gamble.

Traditionally gambling is an activity where someone risks money or belongings, there is an element of randomness or chance involved and the purpose is to win.

Gambling is fun to do from time to time, but for others it can get out of hand and cause distress and financial problems.

Impact 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. Lifeline WA offers free and confidential financial counselling.

Other services


Information for family and friends of problem gamblers

Gamblers Anonymous

A fellowship of men and women who share there experience strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others recover from a gambling problem.

Gambling Help Online

Support for anyone affected by gambling
1800 858 858

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