Triggers that fire off a gambling urge and what to do when the urge strikes.
If you know the triggers that set you off on spending more time or money gambling than you want to, you can take action to avoid them and put in place an action plan so you can go into damage control and minimize the threat to your goal of gambling safe or not gambling at all.
Gambling triggers may include:
- having money (e.g., on payday)
- feeling bored, restless, angry, depressed or lonely
- money worries or rising debts
- drinking or taking other drugs
- reading the sports section and daily market figures
- passing places to gamble, TAB, pubs, clubs, casino
- spending time with friends who gambling
- regular gambling times (e.g.Friday after work or weekend football games)
Once you’ve identified your triggers, work out damage control actions for each. Think about what you can do to avoid the triggers (protection) and how to distract yourself or get help if a trigger has spiked a gambling urge (damage control).
For example if payday is your trigger you might arrange to have your pay split into two accounts including one with no ATM access or one where a trusted friend keeps the ATM card.
Set up automatic transfers on payday so as soon as your pay hits your account the majority is transferred into a savings account.
Set up Bpay to pay set amounts to regular bills like gas and electricity.
Meet your partner or friend straight after work on payday and buy your essentials – food and groceries, petrol, transport tickets. Buy store vouchers/cards where you buy your essential items, so the vouchers can see you through to the next payday.
For each trigger you can identify, think about various activities you can do for at least 20-30 minutes to divert you from gambling thoughts, calling a friend, exercise, watching a film. Call Gambling Help 1800 858 858 anytime, every day for information and help with managing gambling or go to www.gamblinghelp.nsw.gov.au
To instant chat or email with a gambling specialist anytime, go to www.gamblinghelponline.org.au