Increasingly people are reaching out for help because online gambling is adversely affecting their lives. Here are some of the reasons for this and what you can do to try and reduce or stop gambling online.
If you feel that online gambling is affecting your life, you are not alone. Need a hand straight away? You can start chatting to a counsellor right away.
Why are more people gambling online?
Smartphones and other portable internet-enabled devices, plus the proliferation of online gambling websites are making really easy to gamble no matter where you are, and without some of the checks and balances that have existed with traditional gambling outlets.
The companies that set up online gambling sites rely on the fact that they are so easy to access day and night. They use science to make them as addictive as possible, enacting parts of the brain that release feel-good chemicals like dopamine every time you “win’ or have a “near win’, this coupled with the ease of access even when trying to abstain can make it difficult to move away from the temptation.
Debts can easily spiral because of the distance between money and reality, once you have put in your card details it may not feel like you have spent a lot of money until they realise when they look at their bank account. At times the money doesn’t feel real, more like the money in a board game than something they have hard to earn through hard work.
Need a helping hand?
Mike* called for help after a recent relapse triggered by an online advertisement.
I thought it was ok if I gambled with free credits, as I wasn’t really spending anything. I started to win big playing free online casino games and convinced myself that spending a few of my own dollars would be ok!
I soon got hooked back into gambling but this time it was online. I had avoided the hotels for several months and was so pleased with myself. It’s so hard to resist the temptation to gamble when it's on my phone and computer at work and home.
Even though he was already in recovery, he found that reaching out and admitting his relapse was p[particularly difficult as he felt ashamed that he had been drawn back into gambling. But said that once he chatted to one of our counsellors he felt immediate relief.
The counsellor provided him with a few simple steps to reduce his gambling and an appointment to see a free counsellor who specialises in gambling-related issues.
How can I change?
If you are struggling with online gambling here are a few things you can try to curb or stop your online gambling:
- Self exclusion – check out some of the options for excluding online
- Keep your money safe – limit your access to cards that could be linked to online gambling sites
- Opt out, unsubscribe or block email addresses that will send you
- Avoid the temptation, limit your access to the internet until you feel you can manage
- Put your phone away or downgrade your phone to one that doesn’t have the internet
- Find other activities that stimulate and engage you – exercise, sports, craft, socialising, cooking etc.
Need a hand with making a change to your gambling? You can chat to one of our counsellors anytime - get started.