Many problem gamblers say that once they've taken the first active steps to dealing with their situation, they immediately feel much more positive and in control. There are things you can do today that will help you take control of your gambling.
If you live in NSW, you have the right to ask a pub or club to exclude you either from the whole venue or from certain areas within it. In the case of clubs, you will need to sign a separate document for each club you may visit, although you can self-exclude from several hotels in one go. You can also ask the casino to exclude you. Your local gambling counselor or Gambling Help can help you to complete this process (see the 'help near you' section on the Gambling Hangover website for a list of services).
To exclude yourself from online or mobile phone-based gambling, visit the GamBlock website on www.gamblock.com. This is not a free service, charges can be up to $100US per year.
Keep a gambling diary
Many people find that they learn a lot about the things that make them spend too much on gambling by keeping a gambling diary. There's one included in our Workbook, which you can order or download via the Gambling Help website. Or you might prefer to simply jot down the details in a small notebook. Each time you gamble, write down the day and date; the time; the place; who you were with; how much cash you were carrying and your net win or loss.
It's also important to make a note of why you were gambling: did your friends encourage you? Were you bored, angry or stressed? By looking back at these details later, you will probably be able to see patterns emerge that give you an idea of what makes you want to gamble too much. You'll also get an idea of how much you're losing over the long run.
Download the workbook
Order a free copy
Limit your access to money
When you decide to gamble, leave your ATM and credit cards at home, and only take with you an amount of cash that you can afford to lose. NEVER 'chase your losses', or try to win back money you've already lost. This is the way that gamblers most often end up in serious trouble. Once you've lost, or won, walk away.
You can also consider asking your bank to lower the daily withdrawal limit on your ATM card.
Get a helper
Pick someone in your life whom you trust and talk to them honestly about your gambling and the fact that you would like to get more control of that aspect of your life. Ask them if you can 'check in' with them once a week, or as often as you need to, to talk over the steps you're taking to change your life.
Making positive changes can be difficult when you first start. Having someone there to cheer you on can be a big source of strength and encouragement.
If you don't feel comfortable talking to someone you know, call Gambling Help on 1800 858 858 – it's available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The person at the other end of the line has talked to hundreds of people just like you, and they understand exactly what you're going through. You can call as many times as you like, at the cost of a local call, and you can arrange to speak to the same person each time, if you prefer. Our website also has a list of people and organisations near you who can offer help and support.
Sign up for Free SMS Reminders
Are you more likely to gamble on particular days or at particular times? If so, you may find our free SMS message service useful. You can subscribe to SMS messages daily, to help remind you of your decision to get your gambling under control. The messages include facts about gambling, encouraging messages and information about help and support.