Australians spend more than $23 billion a year on gambling, and approximately 115,000 people are classified as ‘problem gamblers’. However, some people can have the occasional bet – be it on the races, a footy match, or through poker machines – without it being an issue. Others gamble more, to the point where it impacts their daily life and becomes a problem.
Below are some signs that gambling may be affecting you and those you care about, as well as some ways you can get help.
Signs of problem gambling
You may need to seek help for your gambling if you:
- Are spending a lot of time gambling instead of doing other things you used to enjoy – like playing sport or spending time with your family
- Have gambling related debt, or have gambled money that was meant for other things – like mortgage payments, rent, groceries or household bills
- Have borrowed money to gamble (often hoping for one big win to pay back your losses)
- Think about gambling when you are doing other things – like working or spending time with your family
- Find your gambling is a problem for your family and friends, and you are arguing with them about its impact
- You hide, or lie about your gambling – to others, but also to yourself. You may even blame those closest to you for your gambling
- Use gambling to manage your emotions – such as gambling when you are stressed or you’ve had a bad day, or you gamble because not doing so makes you feel restless or unfulfilled.
Getting help for problem gambling
Steps you can take if gambling is already a problem in your life:
- Acknowledge you may have a problem: The first step to addressing any issue is to recognise it, and let others know you need help
- Know that your addiction doesn’t just affect you: Acknowledge that those closest to you may been affected by your dependence on gambling (as well as your reaction to gambling losses)
- As with any addiction, the biggest step is knowing when you need help, and reaching out. Start with your GP or a counsellor. They can help you work out a plan to address the issue.
- Gambling Anonymous: confidential meetings – the only requirement for membership is a desire to stop gambling
- Gambling help online: Online help for anyone affected by gambling
- National debt helpline: Free financial counselling
- Gamble Aware: Information and support, including a 30 second test to calculate your risk
- Not a dollar more : A podcast exploring gambling.
Changing for Good welcomes new participants who have successfully completed a men’s behaviour change program and want extra support in their efforts at change. We also welcome participants who have difficulty accessing a men’s behaviour change program for a variety of reasons. Just call 1300 015 120 and leave a message with your name and contact details and one of the team will follow up with you.