A Father’s Story

Fred* rang the Gambling Helpline a very worried father. He had just found out that his son Jordan*aged 22, was $30,000 in debt, owed most of this money to credit cards and had used the money for gambling. Fred admitted that both he and his wife Marie* had known that Jordan gambled, but certainly not [...]

Young people and gambling

Youth gambling is a concern for many parents especially with the increasing presence of gambling in sports and online. There may be one person suffering from gambling in every high school class. Ideally young people won’t gamble at all, if they do sometimes it can become a serious issue which may result in depression, missing [...]

Support is key!

Asking for support can be challenging even though all the evidence says that you are much more likely to be able to overcome a gambling problem if you have at least one person who can support you. One of the challenges is talking to your support person about a lapse – which of course we [...]

Jessica’s Story Part 3:  Family, Community and the difference between Gambling in Australia and China

The open and accepted nature of gambling within the Australian cultures can be at odds with Chinese policies and practices around gambling. For example, gambling in Jessica’s home country gambling is restricted unlike Australia where may forms of gambling are freely accepted. This more open-minded view of gambling and its emphasis on individual ‘responsible gambling’ [...]

Jessica’s Story – Part 1

Gambling in Australia is more readily available than anywhere else in the world and this can cause problems for people coming from countries where it is more restricted. For example, recently arrived migrants to Australia can find the freedom of the Australian culture and the constant availability of gambling activities a risk factor for problematic [...]

Negative emotions and gambling relapse

Negative emotions such as worry about finances and the guilt and shame associated with losing money through gambling are often the reasons people give for the decision to give up gambling. However, negative emotions can also trigger a relapse. Negative emotions come in many forms - feeling bored, stressed, overwhelmed, sad, lonely and depressed. For [...]

Environmental factors and relapse – continued

Environmental factors that influence relapse for those trying to abstain from gambling often include being inside a hotel where the exciting gaming room atmosphere, winning jackpots and easy wins become triggers to gamble. For example, a gaming environment is often described by gamblers as tempting with excitement that stimulates the anticipation of winning money making [...]

Relapse – Part 1

One thing to always think about when addressing gambling problems, is relapse. Unfortunately it is a  common part of the change process and can seem to come up out of the blue. Here are some quotes from clients who were asked to reflect on the times they had relapsed: I was going so well and [...]

Core needs – health

Health is the first core need – and one of the foundations. When we are in good health, and taking time to look after ourselves, we are generally more resilient to stress and bounce back from adverse life events. Taking care of ourselves is also an important part of self worth – by treating our bodies [...]

Core Needs – relationship

Issues within relationships can impact us in many ways. Depending on the length and seriousness or a relationship, when there are problems with your partner you will likely experience stress and difficult emotions. So how do relationships impact my gambling? Just like with money, it can go both ways. People experiencing problems with their relationships [...]

Core needs and gambling: money

Having enough money is extremely important to our wellbeing. Not necessarily having unlimited amounts, but having enough for food, rent, petrol and essentials. Often being short on money can be the source of enormous stress and anxiety. So how does money relate to my gambling? Just like with health and home, it goes both ways. [...]


Starting to think about change is a big process. Often when people begin the process of counselling, we will ask them ‘what is it that motivated you to make this appointment?’ Here is what some of our clients have had to say about the process: ‘I reached a point where I realised I was about [...]

It’s difficult to stop gambling when you’re feeling desperate

After listening to many stories by those experiencing gambling problems it is clear gambling can cause significant harm across many areas of life including financial problems, depression and relationship problems. These negative consequences are often overwhelming and lead to feelings of distress. Many gamblers admitted to me that its at these times gambling becomes difficult [...]

It’s tough to get started

Many people who have shared  their stories on the Gambling Help website feel like they’re at “Rock Bottom” struggling with everything from financial problems and relationship breakdowns, to  homelessness  and loss of work.  Their words express enormous guilt, sadness, anger, and shame at the end of a gambling episode – sometimes there are even thoughts [...]

Musings of a gambling counsellor

One of the heart breaking things I've seen working as an intake officer and counsellor at a gambling clinic is coming across the people who called the help line, but just couldn’t bring themselves to come in for that first session. Or those who showed up for the first session, and for whatever reason, dropped out. It [...]

Gambling and depression

Gambling can take a toll not only on your finances but also on your physical and emotional health. How have you been feeling over the last few weeks? Have you been feeling flat? Lacking in energy? Have you been feeling hopeless or helpless? Have you been feeling distant from other people? Do you find that [...]

Alcohol and Gambling- what’s the damage?

Australians gamble more per head than any other nation. This in itself isn’t necessarily a problem as, for some, gambling can be an enjoyable pastime. Often, people find that when they gamble recreationally, it is often in social situations where alcohol is abundantly available. It is common practice and, dare I say, emblematic of our [...]

Have you learnt the art of urge surfing?

Are you trying to stop gambling but finding it hard because you keeping having cravings to gamble? Don’t worry, this is very common! Experiencing cravings or urges to gamble is completely normal among people trying to give up gambling. Sometimes it may feel like your urge is so powerful that you have to give in. [...]

What randomness really means in poker machines

You have all probably heard about poker machines operating randomly, though what exactly does that mean? In gambling, random means that we are unable to accurately control or predict the outcomes that will occur next. Randomness also means that each outcome is independent of one another. That is, the outcome of each spin on a [...]

Why is gambling so hard to kick?

It’s been months since a win, your partner fights daily with you over it, you struggle to have enough money to fill the car with petrol and the red letters are now coming weekly threatening to take away your beloved car.  As you leave another session empty handed, broke and filthy with yourself you might [...]

Gambling under the influence

Recent research funded by the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation has found that 14% of people receiving treatment for substance abuse also experience problems with gambling. There are many similarities between substance abuse and gambling problems - both may be used to escape uncomfortable feelings such as depression and anxiety, both can result in preoccupation (either [...]

House Edge

Did you know that it takes on average $330,000 to win the $10,000 prize on the pokies? This translates to odds of over 9 million to one. In case you’re wondering, the chances of getting hit by a bolt of lightning are 1.6 million to one. So, next time you’re playing the pokies hoping you [...]