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 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?

Why should I understand the poker machines?

An understanding of the ways in which the poker machines operate is an important part in treatment of problem gambling. We may assume we understand how these machines work because we play them often or because ‘people have told us how they work’. However, an accurate understanding of the poker machines must include an understanding … Continue reading Why should I understand the poker machines?

What is Return to Player?

If you are a regular pokies player, you’ve probably heard of something called the 'Return to Player Percentage'. It is something often talked about but not always well understood. It is important to clarify what Return to Player Percentage is, as misunderstandings can lead to problem gambling. By law, every poker machine in Australia must … Continue reading What is Return to Player?

Persistence

“If you are going through Hell, keep going.” - Winston Churchill Many people with gambling problems feel like they’re literally in Hell, wrecked by feelings of worthlessness, guilt and shame. Some feel like their lives are worthless and there’s no way out. Many have been gambling for more than a decade. Some have gambled hundreds … Continue reading Persistence

Problem gambling and your lifestyle

The impacts of problem gambling are often thought to be purely financial; however problem gambling can also lead to unhealthy lifestyle choices. Gambling on the poker machines is often accompanied by drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes. Problem gamblers are four times more likely than non-gamblers to have problems with alcohol and four times more likely … Continue reading Problem gambling and your lifestyle

Alarm Bells

It might not always be obvious if your gambling or that of a loved one is out of control. Remember, even people with gambling problems start off as recreational gamblers, perhaps going out for an occasional punt with friends over a few drinks on the weekend. No one starts out as a problem gambler. What’s … Continue reading Alarm Bells

That’s so random

Poker machines work randomly. Every win, every loss, every spin of the reel - completely random. We know this because it’s the law. It’s in the National Standards which are vigorously enforced by governments and independent testing agencies. It even says so in the Gaming Industry’s own Player Information Booklet. So why do so many … Continue reading That’s so random

The signs of relapse

Gambling can be a very difficult thing to stop - it is a process that takes time, energy and often there are bumps along the way. However people do get there and often feel relieved after going a considerable period of time without gambling. This sense of relief from ceasing gambling activities can come with … Continue reading The signs of relapse

Keeping Secrets

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 … Continue reading Keeping Secrets