Gambling Issues

Ready to Change?

Making a decision to change can be both exciting and scary. When gambling has become a part of who you are, how you think and what you do it can be difficult to change this behaviour. But not impossible!

What is readiness to change?

As with all people dealing with habitual behaviour, gamblers will be at various stages of accepting that there is a problem. Being ready to make the necessary changes requires different skills and strategies at different stages.

Often motivation changes from day-to-day, or even at different times during the day. It is not uncommon to hear gamblers say 'I'm never going to gamble again' only to be in a venue by sunset!

It is normal to go backwards and forwards when deciding to change. Where are you at the moment in the cycle of change?


  • 1.No problem


    Not concerned about your gambling or seriously considering change?

    If you are in this stage the positives of gambling outweigh the negatives. You enjoy gambling and don't see it as a problem. 

  • 2.Thinking about it


    Concerned that you are spending more time and money gambling than you would like?

    People at this stage feel ambivalent about their gambling. Often they enjoy it, even though they know that it costs time and money. If you are in this stage you might be thinking about making a change.

    If you are in contemplation, taking our gambling self-assessment can help you work out how gambling might be affecting you. 

  • 3.Getting ready


    Ready to take control of your gambling?

    People in preparation feel ready to control or stop their gambling and have made the decision to do something about it. Additionally, they have scheduled a time in the very near future in which to start making changes.

    Planning to prepare for change is an important step.

    If you are ready to think about making plans, take a look at ideas for regaining control.

  • 4.Taking action


    Ready to change the effect that gambling has on your life?

    This is where you begin to do the work. People in this stage say things like - "I am doing something to change my behaviour". This is when people get together a package of strategies that they can use to help them change their behaviour.

    If you are ready for action, take a look at the tips in regaining control.

  • 5.Maintaining change


    Keeping past gambling habits under control?

     This stage is probably the hardest. It is when people have found all the things they need to do to change their behaviour and they have started to put these things into practice. What is needed now is practice, practice and more practice. Maintenance is the time to turn new behaviours into a habit. 

  • 6.Slips and falls


    Have old gambling behaviours gotten out of control?

    This stage is very important because it is a common part of the process of change. A lapse or slip up can be a good way of finding out how to adjust your plan to stay on track. It is a good idea to adjust rather than give in to a full-blown relapse. It is easier to get back on track, than to start over again. 


Ready for change?

If you are thinking about change or preparing for change you might be ready to set some goals. Regaining control provides suggestions and strategies for change.

Quitting for good

Many people find that not engaging in any form of gambling is the safest option for them. There are strategies for quitting for good that can help in achieving this goal.

Quitting one type of gambling

Some people quit the types of gambling that have caused them difficulty, but continue to engage in other types. This choice requires work. You must always watch to see if a problem is developing with another type of gambling. It tends to be harder to try to control gambling than to quit entirely. If this is your choice, then decide what type of gambling you are eliminating and what type of gambling you can continue.

Cutting back

Some people plan to continue to play their problem type of gambling, but limit their involvement to non-problem levels. If you decide to cut back on your gambling, consider the following guidelines:

  • Set a budget for how much you will spend in one session and in one week.
  • Limit the time you will spend gambling.
  • Develop ways to not 'chase your losses'; consider your losses as the cost of entertainment and don't try to make up for what you have already lost.
  • Keep a daily diary to record your gambling. Use a notebook to record the amount of time gambling, number of occasions, wins and losses.

Find out about other tools for cutting back.