get help for problem gambling and pokies addiction

Responsible Gambling knows all too well what negative impacts problem gambling has on individuals, families, communities and Australia as a whole so it goes without saying that we take the responsible service of …gambling’ very seriously indeed.

In fact as it stands we spend a lot of time talking to readers about playing free pokies and online slots. However, we want to remind you that it is important to play these games for fun and enjoyment, and to do so responsibly. Playing slots can be an entertaining and exciting hobby – but for some people, it can turn into something potentially dangerous and destructive – just one look at the latest statistics tells this frightening story instantly!

If you are beginning to worry that the gaming being done by you or a loved one is starting to get out of control, we want you to know that there are resources available to help you better understand the problem and potentially receive help if necessary. This is part of our commitment to providing a safe, responsible environment for our readers: something that we think expands beyond the sites we recommend to you, and also to ourselves as a trusted resource for bettors around the world.

Recognizing a Problem

recognising warning signs of problem gambling

There is nothing wrong with gambling on occasion, and even being a high roller who enjoys betting large amounts of money on a regular basis does not necessarily make someone a “problem gambler.” However, it is also true that even occasional players who engage in low stakes games could potentially have a disorder, depending on the behavior they exhibit related to their play.

Various organizations have offered up criteria on recognizing and diagnosing gambling disorders. The following criteria are those used by the American Psychiatric Association, and are present in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (better known as DSM-5):

  • The individual needs to gamble with increasing amounts of money in order to feel the desired excitement from playing.
  • Attempts to cut down or stop playing cause restlessness or irritability.
  • They have repeatedly failed in efforts to control or stop their gaming.
  • They are often preoccupied with gambling.
  • Gambling is used as a way of dealing with feelings of distress.
  • They chase their losses, betting more in order to try and recover money that has been lost.
  • They lie to loved ones in order to conceal how much they gamble.
  • Their betting activities have either jeopardized or caused the loss of a major relationship, job, or educational opportunity.
  • They have relied on others to provide them money in order to cover their financial obligations after losing money through gaming.

Simply exhibiting one or two of these behaviors on occasion may not be enough to suggest a serious issue, but if several of these apply to you, then you may have a problem. A disorder is considered mild if at least four of these criteria are met; six criteria make for a moderate disorder, while eight or more indicate a severe issue.

If you are unsure if such a diagnosis applies to you, there are resources you can use to help you determine this. The following resources are listed state by state and provide you with free 24/7 confidential support for problem gamblers and those directly (and indirectly) affected by the addiction to pokies and gambling impulsiveness that so badly effects 1 in 6 Australians.

Gambling Support Services for EVERY Australian

australians online pokies legal rights

Call Gambling Helpline 24/7 for free and confidential support Call Gambling Helpline 24/7 for free and confidential support[/caption]

Gambling Help New South Wales 

  • Gambling Help Online provides a 24 hour 7 days a week Counselling, Information and Support service to problem Gamblers.
  • What is great about GHO is they provide a Postcode box for you to FIND HELP NEAR YOU because (and I quote) “There is free face-to-face counselling in  your area available for anyone affected by gambling problems” – and this is AUSTRALIA WIDE btw

Give them a call and take the first steps to beating this disease TODAY!  –> 

Gambling Help Queensland

Queensland Gambling Help is provided via two support systems, the Gambling Helpline and the Gambling Help counselling service. The Gambling Helpline (1800 858 858) is a free, confidential telephone help service which operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The Gambling Helpline offers immediate information and assistance over the phone, crisis support and referral to your closest Gambling Help service. These services are available for anyone affected by problem gambling, be it yourself, a partner, family member or friend. Calls to the Helpline are free from landlines, and won’t be listed on your phone bill (though may be listed on mobile phone bills). For Gambling Help services in Queensland see this Queensland Government Support & Resource Page

Gambling Help Victoria

Responsible Gambling Foundation have provided one of the most resourceful and easy to navigate websites for anyone and everyone directly (or indirectly) affected by problem gambling. There is also a specific area for children affected by gambling – a sign that this social issue is getting worse before it gets better 🙁 You Can visit the website here –>  

Gambling Help South Australia

Problem Gambling SA is a government initiative and part of the national support service that exists under the 1800 858 858 Helpline support number Visit them by following the link –> or check out their Resources page for further reading and support

Gambling Help Western Australia

Gambling Help WA is a free service for people with gambling problems, their partners and families. It offers a supportive environment in which to talk about the impact that gambling has on their lives as well as the opportunity to learn new ways to manage behaviour. The services provided by Gambling Help WA include;

  • Professional, confidential  face-to-face counselling for people who have an issue with gambling
  • Counselling for the family and friends of people with a gambling issue
  • Financial counselling to help with gambling-related financial problems
  • Community education and assistance to reduce the negative effects of gambling

Contact them directly on 1800 858 858 or visit them via the Gambling Help Online site here –> Looking for more Gambling Help Resources in WA? Visit Centre Care’s resource page here –>

Gambling Help Darwin provide a range of community services to residents of Darwin and Gambling is definitely high on their priority list, providing an incredible range  of resources and services across the greater majority of the Northern Territory. Visit their Available Help page for a range of services and take the first steps to beating the pokies today!! Visit Amity’s available help page here –> Problem Gambling Financial Counselling Anglicare-NT offer a free and confidential specialised financial counselling service for clients experiencing financial difficulty as a result of problem gambling. –>

Getting Help (For The Rest of the World)

If you believe that either you or a loved one has a gambling problem, it is important to understand that this is a disease that can be treated like any other. Most jurisdictions that offer legal gaming have put systems into place that provide resources to help those in need, and even where this is not true, there are numerous trained professionals who know how to help individuals that are exhibiting gambling problems.

If you want to immediately talk to someone about your situation, many nations and states have set up hotlines that can provide you with resources, information, and directions on how to seek further help. Typically, these phone lines are absolutely free and available 24 hours a day for anyone who might need them.

Many people who find that they are compulsive gamblers seek out self-help groups where they can discuss and work through their issues with others who have gone through (or are in the middle of) the same process. Gamblers Anonymous and Bettors Anonymous are two popular and free organizations that offer meetings throughout the world. Similarly, Gam-Anon is a group specifically designed to provide support for family members of someone with a betting problem.

For more help, you may wish to seek the help of a doctor of pyschiatrist who specializes in dealing with problem gambling and other compulsive disorders. In many cases, there are outpatient treatments available, and governments often provide assistance to those who may not be able to afford such care.

Even if you are unsure as to whether you have a problem, you may have reached the point where you are uncertain of your ability to control your urge to bet even when you cannot afford it. If this is the case, you may wish to add yourself to self-exclusion lists that could prevent you from playing even if you wish to do so. Most local jurisdictions (and individual casinos) have lists that can legally bar you from so much as entering a casino either permanently or for a predefined period of time. Many online sites will also allow you to exclude yourself from their games, and in regulated jurisdictions, the government agency that oversees the Internet gaming industry may also have their own lists that will prevent you from playing on any licensed site.

A Note To Our Readers…

If you believe that you or someone you know may be a compulsive gambler, we urge you to seek help. We hope that these resources and services will help you on not only start your own journey to recovery but will also open your eyes as to the number of Aussies impacted by problem gambling and addiction to pokies – and maybe you’ll realise you don’t have to do this alone.

Above all, Please play responsibly at both online and land-based casinos.