In a recent post in the Gambling Help Online Forums, a member made an important observation:
“This is certainly the biggest self-exclusion that has ever happened... Take it as a helping hand and take time to work out our triggers and reasons for gambling… by the time everything reopens, we will be so much stronger.”
In this time of uncertainty during the pandemic, we are all being forced to make changes in our lives that are unexpected and unwelcome. Perversely, though, not being able to go to the pokies, the TAB or the casino may be a blessing in disguise, even if we might be struggling to fill all the free time the stay-at-home orders have created. We can’t even turn to the other forms of entertainment we usually enjoy, like movies, live music, or gyms. Filling our evenings might feel like a daunting challenge, but it’s important to recognise the positives of this involuntary exclusion.
If you regularly spend time gambling, you might find yourself surprised at the amount of money you now have, for instance to spend on things you were not able to buy previously.
Social distancing has been a strange and often stressful experience for our communities, but we urge you to think about whether some of the changes that have been forced on you might actually feel like improvements, when you really think about it. You wouldn’t be alone in feeling that way — the ABC recently reported that they have spoken to many people who feel this has been one of the most “peaceful” periods they can remember, without the temptation of poker machines causing turmoil in their lives. The Alliance for Gambling Reform reported that Australians have saved more than a billion dollars in poker machine losses since social distancing began.
Involuntary exclusion is giving some of us an opportunity to change our lives for the better.
After you’ve experienced the benefits of giving gambling a miss for a while, you might decide to build on this involuntary exclusion period by joining a self-exclusion program. They are designed to keep up the barrier to a return to gambling. You are still able to join these programs even while venues are closed.
There are also apps available to help you block digital gambling services. These apps are not free but they prevent information from gambling providers coming to you and block your ability to gamble online worldwide. In the long term they will save you money.
The 100 Day Challenge
Another way to build on the change you are experiencing is by joining the 100 Day Challenge on www.100dc.com.au.
We know that spending 100 days (or more than three months) without gambling can really kick start all those resolutions about giving up or reducing how much you gamble — especially when it’s a lot easier to resist the temptation because your favourite venues are closed anyway. Now is an ideal time to make changes you may have been considering for a while.