Problem Gambling? How To Come Out A Winner
The convenience and ease of gambling at online casinos in Australia is bonzer for most responsible players, but for some it presents quick access to a very serious addiction. 70% of Australians participate in some form of gambling each year, wagering $20 billion with over half spent playing the pokies.
While online casinos are pure entertainment for the overwhelming majority of Aussies, it's estimated one in six who play the pokies regularly has a serious addiction. Although we promote and highlight the best Australian casinos online, we also recognize a duty in protecting and helping those players whose gambling is out of control. Below we've assembled a guide with the basics of problem gambling, data on reckless gambling, and how addicts can seek help.
What is problem gambling?
Problem gambling is an uncontrollable urge to wager one's money at a casino or online casino. The Australian Government estimates up to 500,000 people are at risk of becoming, or are, problem gamblers.
Problem gamblers by the numbers:
- $4.7 billion: estimated social cost of problem gambling
- 15%: Only 15 out of 100 problem gamblers seek help
- 5-10: The actions of a single problem gambler negatively impacts five to 10 people
- $21,000: On average, problem gamblers lose $21,000 annually
It's too easy to lose
In the age of the Internet, you have the freedom to gamble any time and anywhere, at work, at home, or on your mobile phone. The more you play, chances are the more you will lose. Problem gamblers turn their heads to those harsh facts.
Responsible gamblers understand that the odds of most games, slots, and pokies are stacked against them. Problem gamblers think they can beat the odds.
Responsible gamblers set limits on how much they'll gamble and how long they'll play. Problem gamblers try and recoup losses by wagering more, playing longer, and taking out credit to continue betting.
How can you recognize a problem gambler?
Like most addicts, a problem gambler is very likely to try and hide their addiction. They will tell lies, cover up their losses, and scheme up ways to gamble more. They're often defensive and quickly dismissive of questions regarding their casino visits.
Behaviour clues to a problem gambler include an increase in alcohol use. They're also four times as likely to smoke daily than non-gamblers. If the person in question goes absent for long periods or avoids home time with no real excuses, gambling might be at fault.
How do you know if YOU are a problem gambler?
Addicted gamblers are often the last ones to recognise they have a problem. If you're debating whether or not you are a problem gambler, ask yourself the following questions:
- Is gambling interfering with my work or family?
- Do I gamble to make up for previous losses?
- Do I have an addictive personality?
- When gambling, do I drink alcohol?
- Have I gambled to escape worry or trouble?
Problem gamblers will answer "yes" to at least one of these questions.
Money clues associated with problem gambling:
The easiest way to determine whether you or a family member has a gambling problem is to assess your financial situation. If creditors and financial institutions have contacted your home, or disconnection notices have been received, you or your family member's gambling is in immediate need of help.
A common excuse used by the addict is a claim they are staying late at work. Addicted gamblers sometimes even consider gambling as a form of work, therefore self-validating their excuse.
If credit card and bank statements are being hidden, ask to review by enquiring as to their whereabouts. Problem gamblers go so far as obtaining post office boxes to have financial mail received there instead of the home.
Help is available
Responsible gaming means you gamble for entertainment purposes only, you expect to lose, and consider losses as the cost of your entertainment. If this guide has allowed you to diagnose yourself or someone you know as a problem gambler, it's important to know help is available.
Australia considers gambling problems as an addiction just like alcohol or drugs. For local help in your state or territory, access Australia's government-funded GamblingHelpOnline.org.au for immediate assistance. Face-to-face counselling services are offered around the country for free. Online and telephone support is also available at no cost, as are group and peer support meetings.
Regardless of which support method you choose, the goal is to regain control of your life and eliminate your gambling problem. Similarly to drugs and alcohol, kicking a gambling problem takes determination, professional help, and time.