SummaryRead the full fact sheet
- Talk about your gambling with somebody you trust who won’t judge you. This could be a family member, friend or professional counsellor.
- Reduce financial risk factors such as the use of credit cards, taking out loans and carrying large amounts of money.
- Avoid using gambling venues to socialise and don’t use gambling as an escape.
- Find an alternative recreational activity or hobby to fill the gap left when you stop gambling.
If your gambling is causing harm, there are things you can do to stop it being an issue. You can take steps to change your life.
Strategies for change
- Set goals – setting short-term and long-term goals may help you to stay focused and clear about cutting down or giving up gambling.
- Avoid high-risk situations – such as the use of credit cards, taking out loans, carrying large amounts of money with you, using gaming venues for socialising, or gambling as a reaction to emotions. These behaviours will weaken your resolve to control or stop your gambling.
- Talk about it – 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.
- Find alternatives to gambling – There are two major risk factors why people continue to gamble, social isolation and leisure substitution. When people stop gambling they lack motivation to find other activities that are exciting and fun and they lost family and friends who could support them in engaging in such activities.
Self-exclusion is a free program where you ban yourself from gambling venues or online gambling.
You can ban yourself from venues like casinos, clubs, pubs or TABs, or from placing a bet on gambling websites. By law, Australian gambling providers must give customers the option to self-exclude from their venue or products.
Every year Gambler’s Help assists thousands of Victorians to successfully take control of their gambling. Gambler’s Help supports people experiencing gambling harm as well as helping family and friends close to them. All Gambler's Help services are free and confidential.
Talk about 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.
Relax and look after yourself
Giving up when you’ve spent hours each week gambling can make you feel tense and irritable. You may feel even worse when you go into the places where you gambled, or if you pass a TAB or the casino on your way to work.
Learning how to relax, getting plenty of rest and eating properly can help you stick to your goal of reducing or giving up gambling. A counsellor may be able to help you with your strategies, which may include:
- muscular relaxation training
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.
What to do if you feel like gambling
When you feel like you might gamble again, or if you do gamble again, helpful strategies include:
- Talking to your support person.
- Writing your feelings and actions in your gambling diary. If you gambled, look at what happened and see if you can spot ways of stopping it next time. Look for the positives too. Did cash limits help? Did you find it easier to talk about it instead of lying about it? These are big steps forward. Next time it will be easier to cope.
- Control your cash. See the Better Health Channel fact sheet ‘’ for more information.
- Fill in the gap that gambling has left with new things to do.
- Practise your relaxation.
Where to get help
- Tel. 24-hour telephone counselling service
- Tel. 24-hour telephone counselling service for people under 25.
- Your or other health professional
- - counselling and information services including a .
- Tel. , TTY 1800 777 706 – 24-hour telephone counselling service
- Tel. – support group for people with a gambling problem
- – information about the odds of winning, how gambling works, and when to stop
- Victoria Tel.