How to Stop Gambling


Gambling involves wagering something of value on a random event with the intention of winning something else of value. The activity may also take place with materials that do not have a monetary value, such as marbles or Pogs (collectible trading cards). While gambling can be fun and exciting, it is important to remember that every time you gamble you are taking a risk. If you find that your gambling is causing harm to yourself or others, there are steps you can take to stop it.

One way to stop gambling is to talk about it with someone who won’t judge you – such as a family member, friend or professional counsellor. You can also reduce financial risk factors such as using credit cards and taking out loans, and avoid gambling venues if you can. Another good way to help stop gambling is to find other recreational or social activities to replace it. It can be difficult to give up gambling when you have spent a lot of time and money doing it, but the best thing to do is set short-term and long-term goals for yourself.

Research and harm reduction strategies that use a social practice perspective to understand gambling could include policy restrictions on where, when, and how gambling is practised. They could also reshape the availability and shape of gambling products, as well as the ways in which they are advertised to influence consumption and behaviour. Furthermore, they could focus on how gambling practices are bundled together with other social practices such as alcohol consumption and watching sport.

Many scholars have drawn attention to the neoliberal infused political economy of global gambling, arguing that it is driven by marketisation and liberalisation policies and that the effects on poor communities are exploitative. However, critics from a normative perspective have argued that this critique is polemical and ideological and does not provide a useful basis for understanding the causes of gambling-related harm.

Problem gambling has a high level of comorbidity with other psychiatric conditions, and a burgeoning literature on the psychological, neurological, and health impacts of it is gaining recognition. But, to date, government health-research agencies that have experience tackling substance abuse and other behavioural addictions have not taken the lead in addressing the issue.

To minimise the risk of becoming a problem gambler, never bet more than you can afford to lose and never chase your losses. If you think you are due to win, or that you will get back what you have lost if you just keep playing, this is called the gambler’s fallacy and it is not true. As soon as you start thinking this, stop gambling immediately. If you are unsure, ask your local Gambling Support Service for advice. They are free and available to assist people with gambling problems, including those with problem gambling. They can offer support, advice and referral to counselling services. You can contact them on 1800 858 858 or visit a Gambling Help Centre in your area.