Most people gamble at one time or another. It may be at the TAB, on lotto, on the pokies or in a casino. For most people, gambling is fun and entertaining. If gambling has stopped being fun for you and started to feel like a problem, you can take control of your life and change it.
Why do I need to think about gambling?
The majority of people who participate in gambling experience no harm as a result of their involvement. It's tempting to think that gambling problems happen to other people, not to you. You could well be thinking "This stuff is fine for people with no self-control, but why do I need to think about gambling?"
The short answer is that it's not possible to say who will be harmed by gambling and who will not. If you do gamble, it is also possible that at some stage you may experience harm, no matter how smoothly things are going at the moment.
It's far better to acknowledge the potential for problems than to be caught off-guard. Some simple strategies will help you to avoid hassles.
Tips for Staying Safe
- Gamble only for fun, not if you are feeling stressed or unhappy.
- Understand the odds - never rely on winning.
- Set time and money limits and stick to them. Be alert for any feelings of wanting to break your limits.
- When you've spent to your limit, your session is finished. Don't try to win back what you've lost.
- Put any winnings in your pocket; don't re-invest them.
- Don't borrow money for gambling.
- Be open with family and friends about your gambling.
- Be careful about how you mix alcohol and gambling.
- Go with friends who will look out for you. Tell one another your limits and check on them.
- Make gambling just one part of your leisure activities.
You can change these tips to better suit your situation, or create new ones. For example, some people leave their bank cards at home and only take the cash they can afford to spend. Others keep a certain amount of their spending money in a separate "gambling account", or pay winnings into a special fund so that they can treat themselves later on.
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