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Why is gambling so addictive?

When people gamble they are influenced by a number of things over which they have no control:

  • Due to the influence of chance, gamblers receive irregular winnings or payouts. Gamblers often think they can guess when the next payout or win will occur, but of course this is impossible to do.
  • Some forms of gambling have been described as hypnotic.  If you gamble when you are angry, depressed, anxious or frustrated, you may go into a trance-like state and temporarily forget all your troubles as well as how much time and money you have spent.  This suggests that a person will only get control over their gambling when they have started to make progress in working on the big worries in their life.
  • Most people have strong values about not giving up easily, and not quitting when the going gets tough.  Some people also have very strong competitive drives.  These factors tend to work against gamblers, leading them to keep going until all of their money is gone.

Apart from this, gambling can provide some other non-financial pay-offs, for example: excitement, relief from boredom/stress, as well as a sense of belonging and company.

Relationships Australia offices in Tasmania, South Australia, Victoria and Queensland provide specialist counselling to people affected by gambling, including people affected by the gambling of another person. All Relationships Australia offices can provide counselling on issues of addiction.

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Further resources

Information Pack for people seeking help on Problem Gambling (pdf). 
Please note that this pack was developed for people living in South Australia and contains service information for that area, but is provided here as a general resource as it contains much helpful information for people affected by problem gambling.

You can ring the Gambling Help Line for a free 24 hour anonymous counselling referral service:

  • Australian Capital Territory: 1800 858 858; TTY 1800 777 706
  • New South Wales: 1800 858 858; TTY 1800 777 706
  • Northern Territory: 1800 858 858; TTY 1800 777 706
  • Queensland: 1800 858 858; TTY 1800 777 706
  • South Australia: 1800 858 858; TTY 1800 777 706
  • Tasmania: 1800 858 858; TTY 1800 777 706
  • Victoria: 1800 858 858; TTY 1800 777 706
  • Western Australia: 1800 858 858; TTY 1800 777 706

Useful Websites

Gamblers Help Online

Problem Gambling Links

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