Gambling Issues

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 their life.

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

Next steps

Want to assess whether gambling is a problem? Try our self assessment.

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.