Regaining Control

Thinking straight

Ever felt lucky or that you know how to win? Find out more about how thinking straight can help tackle problem gambling behaviour.


People who have identified gambling as a problem often have similar ways of thinking about gambling. These 'ways of thinking' can lead people to believe they can predict or control the outcome of a bet. Thoughts such as 'the poker machine is due for a payout', 'a particular number is due to come up on a roulette wheel' or 'I have a lucky jockey,' are all thoughts that can lead to problem gambling behaviour.

When you are gambling do you ever?

  • Think the odds are in your favour
  • Only play on certain machines
  • Think that certain machines are due for a payout
  • Wear 'lucky' clothes or take 'lucky charms'
  • Think a win is due
  • Think a certain jockey is a 'lucky' jockey

If you answered yes to any of the above, take a look at the following sections to find out how these thoughts may contribute to gambling behaviour:

The truth about gambling

It is true someone has to win, but most gamblers have to lose. Getting to know the odds of winning can help put your chances in perspective.

The chances of developing a problem with regular gambling are probably much better than the chances of having a big win. The chances of developing a gambling problem also increase the more often a person gambles.

The reasons why a person gambles as well as the type of gambling also has a bearing on the likelihood of developing a problem.

  • Never gambles: no chance at all
  • Occasionally gambles: 1 in 50
  • Gambles once or more a week on non-lottery types of gambling:  1 in 7
  • Gambles once a week or more on poker machines: better than ever winning a jackpot.

Next steps

If you have ever gambled because you felt 'lucky' you should find out more about

to understand how these thoughts contribute to gambling behaviour.