04 December, 2020

Aussies love to gamble. From having a slap on the pokies to picking the first try-scorer in the footy, gambling is a popular – and widely accepted – form of entertainment in our culture.

But when does gambling go from harmless fun to a dangerous compulsion? How do you know if you have a gambling problem?

If you’re worried about your gambling habits, knowing the signs of a gambling problem can help you decide what action to take.


Signs of a Gambling Problem

These are just some of the common signs of a gambling problem.

Financial Signs

  • Borrowing or stealing money from friends and family to gamble
  • Selling belongings for money to gamble
  • Spending all disposable income on gambling
  • Spending more money than planned on gambling
  • Trying to chase losses with more gambling
  • Lying or being secretive about how much is spent on gambling
  • Constantly planning how to get more money to gamble
  • Needing to gamble with increasing amounts of money to get the same thrill
  • Avoiding social activities that cost money so you have that money to gamble
  • Considering getting money to gamble through illegal means

Behavioural Signs

  • Lying to people to hide the extent of the gambling
  • Less involvement in hobbies and leisure activities
  • Skipping work/school/important commitments to gamble
  • Spending more time gambling than planned
  • Using drugs and alcohol more often/excessively
  • Changes in sleeping, eating, or sexual relationship patterns
  • Constantly checking the odds
  • Trying to cut back on gambling, without success

Emotional Signs

  • Arguing with friends and family after or about gambling
  • Feeling guilty about gambling
  • Gambling to escape problems or feelings
  • Not feeling interested in friends, family, or normal activities
  • Feeling preoccupied with thoughts of gambling
  • Feeling worried, agitated or upset for no apparent reason
  • Feeling hopeless, depressed or suicidal


Support for Gambling

Gambling Help Queensland offers free and confidential support to anyone impacted by gambling. If gambling has become a problem for you or someone you know, you can call the 24/7 helpline on 1800 858 858 to talk or book an appointment with a counsellor.