28 Sep 17
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Caution: this article may be triggering for some people who are trying to avoid gambling.

at races

It’s that time of year where lots of major sporting events are happening right across Australia, potentially making the pull towards gambling stronger than usual.

Even though it may be tough, it is possible to keep your gambling under control. Here are some tips on how to do it.

Have a plan

In the lead-up to any event that you may find difficult, think about how you are going to work through it. You may like to have a chat with one of our counsellors about how to prepare a plan.

It may be best to try to avoid gambling and temptations on the day of an event. Try to take part in activities that don’t have any link to the event. This could include going for a walk, watching a film, reading a book or doing a crossword.

There are quite a few public holidays dedicated to sporting events. On these days people may host gatherings of family and friends that are centred around these events. Depending on how comfortable you feel, you may want to talk to the person hosting the event beforehand and explain that you don’t want to gamble. Also try to keep yourself busy, you could do this by looking after the kids, cooking or barbecuing.

Should I go?

If you are considering going to the event or gathering, think about whether this is a really good idea. If you must attend, take a moment to think carefully about whether to gamble; especially if you have been trying hard to abstain. You may try to gamble responsibly but carefully consider your options before taking part.

Many people call the Gambling Help Line upset that they have lost control and been unable to stick to their initial plans to limit  r abstain from betting.

For example:

Sam called for help after he gambled at the races. He described planning how he would manage the excitement of his favourite sporting event for weeks. He did not consider  that friends would encourage him to bet more money than he had planned. After a few drinks, he gave in to this peer pressure. He took his credit card, which gave him easy access to money that he did not wish to gamble. This one session at the races caused him significant financial consequences.

Here are a few tips that may help you avoid Sam's situation:

  • Take a moment to consider the temptation to gamble at an event or gathering where big sporting events will be featured.
  • Setting a betting limit can be helpful, especially if you can restrict your access to money.
  • Only take money that you can afford to lose.
  • During the day, keep track of how much you are spending.
  • Try not to drink too much, as this lowers inhibitions.
  • Have a support buddy who can help you identify when it’s time to stop betting, or even leave.
  •  Take regular breaks from betting. For example, touch base with friends or have some food.
  •  Come up with an explanation, that you are comfortable with, for why you may need to leave early or manage peer pressure.

Remember that you can always seek support from a qualified counsellor who is ready to have a chat – get started.

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