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 … Continue reading Musings of a gambling counsellor

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 … Continue reading What randomness really means in poker machines

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 … Continue reading Why is gambling so hard to kick?

The role of positive early experiences

People that struggle with problem gambling often ask themselves “Why me? Why can’t I stop?”. Many view it as an addiction, while others view it as something they’ve inherited in their genes especially when parents or other family members have been heavy gamblers. Others again berate themselves as being ‘so stupid’ and just unable to … Continue reading The role of positive early experiences

Supporting others

If you have experienced problem gambling, or maybe still are, it is likely you have experienced a wide range of distressing consequences. This may include, to name a few: financial hardship, feelings of depression and anxiety, and relationship problems. Perhaps one (and likely the only) advantage of having suffered through this is that you are … Continue reading Supporting others

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 … Continue reading Gambling under the influence

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 … Continue reading House Edge

Reach Out

How many times have you tried to stop gambling, only to go back to it when the cravings get too much? If you’ve ever experienced this, then you’ll know that will power alone is rarely enough to stop gambling. The good news however, is that is it possible to reduce your motivation to gamble in the … Continue reading Reach Out

What does harmful gambling look like?

Problem gambling does not discriminate and can be found in all age groups, income groups, jobs, and cultural backgrounds. Some may have developed gambling problems suddenly, while others may have struggled for many years. Problem gambling is not only about losing money, but is also harmful because of its potential devastating impact on the emotional, … Continue reading What does harmful gambling look like?

Gambling and Emotions

Almost all of my clients have experienced the lowest of emotional lows because of gambling. This typically happens at the end of a session when they have lost everything. Despair about the present and the future, self-blame, self-judgment and suicidal thoughts are all very common in those moments. These negative emotions are absolutely awful to … Continue reading Gambling and Emotions