16 Oct 20
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photo by john tuesday @ unsplash.com

“If gambling isn’t in my face I am okay.”

Thus said a recent caller to the Gambling Helpline. It’s no wonder people find it hard to resist the pressure to gamble online when they are confronted with an avalanche of messages about gambling when they turn on the TV or view any form of social media. 

The statistics about gambling promotion during a footy match on TV are astounding. There are typically about 50.5 separate episodes of sports betting marketing through TV and stadium ads, footy jumpers and the footy commentary during one game. 

With the upcoming Spring Racing Carnival and the football finals of all codes, advertising about gambling will increase. Knowing this, how can you continue to enjoy sport, while limiting the effect of all the advertising on your pocket? How can you resist the triggers and the urges to gamble that all that advertising is designed to produce in you?

Be prepared

Counsellors and the “responsible gambling information” on your preferred gambling platform will tell you such things as, “Only gamble what you can afford to lose” and “Decide beforehand what you are going to spend.” 

While this is excellent advice, in the heat of the moment it is hard to resist the temptation to gamble. However, you can enforce your limits by placing restrictions on your betting accounts. If you want to be safe from temptation some of the major banks are now offering ways to limit access to your accounts for betting, you can join a self-exclusion program or buy yourself some protection with gambling blocking software (Gamban, Gamblock). The cost of this software is usually minimal compared with betting losses!  

Learn and practice the STOPP exercise before the Spring Carnival and the footy finals

Practice putting a space between your gambling thoughts and your gambling actions by doing the STOPP exercise. The short version is below and information is available in the links provided.

  1. Stop what you are doing
  2. Take a breath
  3. Observe
  4. Pull back
  5. Proceed

The STOPP app can be downloaded to your phone so you can access the exercise whenever you need it.

Watch the STOPP method explained

Limit the amount of advertising you are exposed to

You can take apps off your phone, turn the TV off when an ad comes on, and tell your friends you are “having a break” (Yes. Your friends might be the biggest pressure you have to resist!)

Here is a challenge for you, keep a tally of the number of “incentives” to gamble that is placed in front of you. By counting, you will have removed yourself from the effect of the ad. If you are astounded or worried about the amount of advertising, perhaps you could begin a conversation with your friends about the effect of this on their gambling behaviour.

Be open about your gambling. Talk about your losses as well as your wins. That way you reinforce the knowledge within your group that “everyone cannot be a winner.” There are times you may win, and times you may lose.  If you keep a record of your gambling – on paper or on an app – you may even see this clearly for yourself.

Resist the urge to gamble with a mantra that you repeat when a thought to gamble enters your head. “Gambling is not a way to make money” is a common one people use, along with “Has it been your experience that gambling is a way to make money?”

What’s next? 

If you want to discuss options for overcoming financial and other problems already caused by your online gambling, a referral to a financial counsellor may be the start of your journey to recovery.

If you think you will have trouble resisting advertising in the coming months, our counsellors are always available for a chat. Gambling Help Online is free, confidential and available 24/7.

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