Problem gambling occurs when gambling behaviour causes disruption in any or all major areas of life including; psychological, physical, social, emotional, financial or vocational.
The three phases of problem gambling
There are many pathways to problem gambling and each problem gambler may have a different experience. Research suggests that there are three distinct phases to problem gambling:
Signs of Problem Gambling
- The winning phase: Gamblers experience a big win, or a series of wins that leave them believing, unrealistically, that their winning will continue. This leads to excitement when gambling and may lead to increases in bets and money spent.
- The losing phase: Gamblers are more likely to gamble alone, think more about gambling and borrow money to gamble. They may start lying to family and friends and become irritable, restless and withdrawn. Gamblers begin to chase their losses, believing that they will be able to win back their losses.
- The desperation phase: During this final phase there is a significant increase in the time spent gambling, often accompanied by remorse, blaming others and alienating family and friends. Individuals who have developed a problem with their gambling may experience hopelessness, mental health issues, relationship issues and substance abuse issues.
Gambling should be an enjoyable experience. Borrowing money to gamble, exceeding spending limits, using money allocated for other purposes or spending increased time at the Casino can lead to significant problems.
Individuals who have developed a problem with their gambling frequently don't realise they have a problem, or they are in denial and try to hide the extent of their gambling habits.
Warning signs of a problem with gambling can include:
- A preoccupation with gambling and a strong, seemingly uncontrollable urge to gamble
- Spending more money and time on gambling activities than originally intended
- Getting angry whilst gambling and/or feeling distressed during or after gambling
- Gambling for long periods of time without a break
- Borrowing money to gamble
- Continuing to gamble to recoup losses
- Gambling whenever money is available
- Holding unrealistic views regarding gambling; e.g. believing gambling is a way to make money
- Lying to family members, friends or employers to conceal involvement with gambling
- Fighting with family members or friends over gambling behaviour and/or money lost
- Feeling irritable or restless when attempting to stop or cut down time spent gambling
- Failing to reduce or stop gambling after repeated attempts
- Blaming others for their gambling and losses
- Placing gambling as a priority above other previously important relationships and activities
- Risking significant relationships, family, job, educational or career opportunities because of gambling
- Frequently visiting the ATM whilst gambling to withdraw more money for the purpose of gambling
- Relying on others to provide money to relieve financial pressure caused by gambling
- Committing illegal acts, such as fraud or theft, to finance gambling activities
- Leaving children unattended in the Casino for the purpose of gambling
If you identify with one or two of these behaviours you may be 'at risk' of developing a problem with your gambling. Identifying with more than two of the above indicators suggests your gambling may have become a problem.
If you are concerned about your own or someone else’s gambling or have any questions about how we can help, visit the RGIC at Riverside Entry at the base of the escalators. Alternatively, you can contact a member of our Responsible Service of Gambling Team on 1800 801 098
or email firstname.lastname@example.org