Whether gambling is a problem for a person depends on the circumstances and experience of each individual; however, a typical feature of problem gambling is that it is often shrouded in secrecy – that is it lied about or covered up in some way.
Problem gambling is often a cause of embarrassment, guilt and shame, and as a result is often kept a secret from others. In contrast, recreational gambling usually involves a social setting in the presence of others, and the amount spent, won and lost is not kept a secret.
Individuals with gambling problems often try to keep the amount of money lost a secret from even themselves, by rarely checking their account balance or avoiding calculating their losses, particularly for longer periods of time such as weekly or monthly losses. Individuals may also use alcohol to relieve the feelings of guilt or shame following a gambling session, which in term may exacerbate the harm caused by gambling.
Your gambling is a problem if it influences your life in a negative way. It may start as little ‘white lies’ or omitting details about a gambling session such as how much was lost or the length of time at a venue. The tendency to downplay or lie to others about your gambling in many cases leads to relationship problems and fosters denial.
If your gambling has become a source of secrecy, you can call Gambling Help at any time on 1800 858 858 for free and confidential support, or visit www.gamblinghelp.nsw.gov.au for more information on the free services available in your area.