What is problem gambling?
Gambling may have become a problem if you are:
- starting to lie about your gambling
- hiding your gambling from others
- spending more money and time on gambling than you intended
- losing interest in other activities (except for gambling)
- borrowing money to pay for living expenses, eg. bills, groceries, petrol
- finding your work is affected
- finding your relationship with your partner is affected
- finding your role as a parent is affected
- skipping hours at work/at home to gamble.
Counselling is available
Relationships Australia Victoria runs a FREE counselling service for anyone impacted by out-of-control gambling behaviour. The counselling is offered as part of the Gamblers Help Program via our Ballarat Centre. The program consists of:
- face-to-face counselling services for people with a gambling problem and/or partners and relatives impacted by problem gambling behaviour
- assistance in overcoming a gambling problem, like exploring the extent and nature of the gambling behaviour and the factors which trigger the behaviour or encourage its continuation
- controlling gambling behaviour through strategies that minimise the harm resulting from gambling and strategies to avoid relapse into uncontrolled gambling behaviour
- financial counselling, to address debts, cope with creditors, and reorganise financial affairs generally
- counselling to address the underlying issues linked to gambling and the impact of gambling on relationships and family life and steps to relieve that impact.
The Gamblers Help Counselling Service is provided to people in the Grampians region. This includes but is not limited to the following communities: Bacchus Marsh, Daylesford, Ballarat, Ararat, Stawell, Horsham, Hopetoun and Kaniva. To access the service, contact RAV's Ballarat Centre, telephone (03) 5337 9222 or Toll Free 1800 243 696. View our brochure.
Note: if you need crisis counselling, information or referral about your own or someone else's gambling behaviour call Gambler's Help Toll Free on 1800 858 858. This service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Tips on how you can control your urge to gamble
- Keep a record of how much you are losing (be honest).
- Only gamble what you can afford to lose.
- If you gamble, do not have your debit or credit card with you.
- Break the silence about gambling by telling a close friend or loved one about your gambling, or alternatively, call a telephone counsellor in your area.
- Avoid alcohol while gambling.
- Eat regularly to manage stress and cut back on stimulants such as coffee and nicotine.
- If you go shopping, ask a friend to accompany you.
- Arrange to have your bills paid by direct debit from your bank account.
Breaking free booklet
Relationships Australia Queensland has produced a booklet to help problem gamblers break free of their urge to gamble.
Break Free - a practical guide to quitting gambling
Please note that:
- the booklet contains contact information about problem gambling services in Queensland (on page 39). Please refer back to this page for services and help in Victoria.
- in Queensland the problem gambling service is called "Break Even". In Victoria, it is called "Gamblers Help"
Problem gambling links
Gamblers Help also provides community education sessions on problem gambling, information products and liaison with the gambling industry. Professional development for other health and welfare workers is also part of the service. The program is funded by the Victorian Government via the Community Support Fund.