Signs of a gambling problem
Wondering about gambling behaviour? Not sure if it's a problem? Find out what the signs of problem gambling are and what you can do about it.
What is problem gambling?
Up to 90% of adults in Australia have gambled at some point in
Problem gambling is characterised by difficulties in limiting money and/or time spent on gambling, which leads to adverse consequences for the gambler, their family or friends and for the community.
Indicators that gambling has changed from being a social activity to a problem can include:
- Struggling to control gambling impulses despite negative consequences in other areas of life
- Spending more money on gambling than is planned
- Spending more time gambling than is planned.
How common is problem gambling?
The latest research suggests that about one per cent of the population has a gambling problem. In some groups, such as young men and people who have grown up with parents who had a problem with gambling, it is even more common for gambling to be a problem.
Signs of a problem
By the time gambling has become a problem it has often impacted on several areas of a person's life. Signs of a problem can include:
- Increasing levels of debt
- Struggling to pay bills on time
- Lying to friends and family
- Feeling more moody, irritable or angry
- Missing work or having trouble concentrating at work
- Prioritising spending time and money on gambling rather than spending time with friends
- Thinking that continued gambling will fix financial problems
- Feeling like the gambling has taken over
If you feel that gambling is creating issues, you could:
- Talk to someone you are close to. It's often helpful to speak to someone who knows you well, as they might have a different perspective on the issue
- Get a sense of how much time and money you are spending on gambling by using the gambling calculator
- Complete the self assessment to determine the risk your gambling poses
- Find out more about how problems develop
- Think about how you can regain control
Enlist some professional support. Talking to a counsellor may help you to explore your options and work out what you want to do. There are a range of services and different types of help available and it is important to find out what will work best for you. You can talk to a counsellor online or phone 1800 858 858 for immediate telephone support.