Get help and support
If your gambling is causing problems in your life, there are things you can do to stop it being an issue. You can take steps to change your life.
Set some goals
Setting short-term and long-term goals may help you to stay focussed and clear about cutting down or giving-up your gambling. Check out the 100 Day Challenge for inspiration.
Avoid high-risk situations
High-risk situations like use of credit cards, taking out loans, carrying large amounts of money with you, socialising in gaming venues or gambling as a reaction to emotions will make it difficult to control or stop your gambling.
Face the feelings
Becoming aware that you could be experiencing harm from gambling may cause feelings of shame and guilt.
Self-blame and self-harm can increase stress and may urge you to gamble more.
Be kind to yourself. However, acknowledging the problem and taking steps to seek help can help you change your life for the better.
Talk about it
Talking about gambling problems with somebody you trust and someone who won't judge you can ease the pain of bottling it up. It can also reduce the stress that can cause you to continue to gamble.
There is no doubt that if you have help from your spouse and close friends you are more likely to succeed. Make an effort to explain your problem to people close to you.
Once you can admit that you have a problem and may have hurt them, they will be barracking for you.
Coming clean - Talk about the lying
When people lie about gambling and debts, they may sometimes try to gamble their way out of debt, so they won't have to ‘come clean'.
This usually leads them further into debt.
Coming clean about gambling with a trusted person can relieve pressure and provide the space to prepare a more thoughtful plan for recovery.
Ask for help
If you are finding it difficult, you do not have to handle your issue with gambling on your own. A support person makes it easier, especially if you're experiencing harm caused by gambling.
This person might be a spouse, parent, friend or counsellor. Many people seek professional help.
Gambler's Help has free, confidential help, advice and support services available 24/7. Call 1800 858 858.
Try to find an alternative to gambling
Some gamblers may spend 10–20 hours or more a week gambling. They also spend a lot of time thinking and worrying about their gambling. Many people also start gambling in the first place because they don’t know what else to do. Try to find an alternative recreational activity or hobby to fill the gap.
There are lots of ways to do this:
- Plan ahead
- Reconnect with family and friends if you have neglected them while gambling
- Take another part-time job
- If you are a lunch-time gambler, go somewhere different with workmates, arrange to meet someone, take a sandwich and read a book, go for a walk or a jog
- Take up a hobby or a sport
- Set short-term and long-term goals
- Look at other things you can do to ‘treat' yourself
- Make your home an interesting place to be in, with interesting things to do
- Return to other things you enjoyed before you started to gamble too much
Prepare for a lapse
A lapse occurs when you gamble again after deciding to stop. You do not have to continue to gamble if this happens to you. You can use this to learn more about what triggers your gambling. Examine what worked and what didn't work with your plan.
You can kick the habit. However, you must be fair to yourself. It can be hard to stop gambling or keep it under control.
You can often predict when gambling will reoccur. You are more likely to lose control when you have bad times in other parts of your life that make you feel sad, anxious, angry or depressed.
When you feel this way, it's challenging to stick to your plans, as you may feel an urge to go back to the old habit.
When you feel like you might gamble again, or if you do gamble again, here are some things you can do:
Put your hand up for help. We offer confidential, professional, free advice and support to anybody affected by gambling (your own gambling or someone else's).
Telephone and online help are available 24/7 and we can also give you the contact details for your local Gambler's Help for one-on-one counselling sessions, including financial counselling.
For privacy, we can also refer you to a service outside your local area if you prefer. Calls to the Gambler’s Help telephone help line and access to the website are free and won't be listed on your phone bill.
- Gambler's Help on 1800 858 858
- Gambler’s Help Youthline on 1800 262 376
100 Day Challenge
Rediscover life outside gambling with the 100 Day Challenge. Discover new activities, share tips, get support and connect with other challengers in the online community forum.
Peer Connection is a free, confidential and easy-to-access telephone support service for people struggling to stop/control their gambling and for people impacted by another person’s gambling.
All our peer support volunteers have experienced gambling harm themselves and can share their own stories of hope and recovery.
Sometimes speaking with a person who has ‘been there done that’ can be helpful for your own recovery, especially when it’s difficult to talk to others about it.
Find out more about Peer Connection.
Self-exclusion from gaming venues and websites
Self-exclusion is a free program where you ban yourself from gaming venues and/or online gambling.
Read more about Self-exclusion.
Unsubscribe or Opt-out
Opt-out of gambling company marketing messages, such as special offers and other inducements by turning off your gambling app notifications in your phone or internet browser settings.
You can also unsubscribe from emails using the small ‘unsubscribe’ link usually found at the bottom of emails.
Getting your finances back in control can help give you the breathing space you need to deal with the other problems gambling is causing in your life.
Read more about money management.