Problem Gambling

Each year, 70% of Australians participate in some type of gambling, but for some, gambling can quickly become a problem.

When gambling becomes a problem

Gambling can take the form of pokies, lotto, scratchies, card games, racing or other forms of betting. Problem gambling does not have to mean you are totally out of control; it is any gambling behaviour that disrupts your life, or the life of your loved ones. 

The impacts of problem gambling can be far reaching and may include:

  • Debt or other financial problems
  • Relationship problems — arguments, disagreements or loss of connection with friends and family
  • Loss of employment or problems at work due to lack of motivation, absences, inability to concentrate on work
  • Mental and emotional health concerns — increased stress, depression, panic attacks
  • Negative impacts on family, especially children — may start getting in the way of being a good parent
  • Loss of control — gambling can be addictive and start to take over, it can be hard to stop even when you know it is causing you and your family harm.

For many, accepting that their gambling is becoming a problem can be difficult.

A common reaction is to minimise, hide or deny gambling problems and the harm it could be causing. Some people might also actively lie to themselves or others about how much money or time is being spent on gambling.

If you experience any of the following: 

  • Spending more money and time than you intend to on gambling
  • Feeling guilty and ashamed about your gambling
  • Having arguments with friends or family about your gambling
  • Lying or stealing to get money for gambling
  • Thinking about gambling every day
  • Trying to win back your losses
  • Missing important things such as work, family time or appointments because of gambling
  • Getting into debt or struggling financially due to gambling.


Gambling – Factsheet

Taking steps to get help to overcome gambling problems can help you regain control of your money, time and life, and reduce the impacts on your mental health, family, and relationships.

  • Identify that you have a problem or are at risk of developing a problem
  • Talk to someone you trust about your gambling such as a close friend, family member, religious or community leader, GP, or other health professional
  • Contact a support group such as Gamblers Anonymous
  • See a financial counsellor (you can try our free Financial Counselling Service).

Gambling – Factsheet

If you are concerned about your gambling or someone else’s, below are some places to go for information and support:


For Crisis Support contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 (24/7) or via text (12pm – 6am AEDT) on 0477 13 11 14

For 24-hour telephone crisis support, call Lifeline on 13 11 14

If life is in danger, call 000

Lifeline South Coast would like to acknowledge the lives that have been lost to suicide. We are committed to supporting those with a lived experience of suicide and aim to reduce the stigma around seeking help for poor mental health and suicidal crisis.