Gambling Addiction Australia
Jenna james | September 13, 2023 | Updated on: September 13th, 2023
Gambling has long been a popular pastime in Australia, deeply embedded in the nation’s culture. From betting on sports events to trying one’s luck at pokies (slot machines) in pubs and clubs, the allure of the flutter is widespread.
While many enjoy gambling responsibly, a darker side to this pastime is becoming increasingly apparent – gambling addiction. In this article, we will delve into the issue of gambling addiction in Australia, its prevalence, causes, and the available resources for those seeking help.
Here are some gambling-related statistics:
- Problem gamblers lose an average of $21,000 annually.
- Gamblers facing issues are six times more likely to experience divorce.
- Problem gamblers are four times more prone to alcohol abuse.
- Children of problem gamblers have a significantly higher risk of developing gambling problems, with up to a tenfold increase in likelihood.
What Constitutes Problem Gambling?
Problem gambling isn’t necessarily about losing complete control; it encompasses any gambling behaviour that disrupts your life or the lives of your loved ones. Recognizing that gambling may be becoming problematic can be challenging for many individuals.
It’s common to downplay, conceal, or deny gambling issues and their potential harm. Some may even deceive themselves or others about the amount of money or time devoted to gambling. For many, acknowledging that gambling is becoming problematic is a tough step to take.
When Does Gambling Become a Problem?
Here are signs that your gambling might have turned into a problem:
- Spending more money and time on gambling than originally intended.
- Feeling guilt and shame associated with your gambling habits.
- Engaging in arguments with friends or family due to your gambling.
- Resorting to lying or theft to fund your gambling activities.
- Constantly thinking about gambling.
- Attempting to recoup losses through more gambling.
- Missing important commitments such as work, family time, or appointments because of gambling.
- Accumulating debt or facing financial difficulties because of gambling.
The Prevalence of Gambling in Australia
Australia boasts one of the highest rates of gambling participation in the world. According to recent statistics, approximately 80% of Australian adults have engaged in some form of gambling. This widespread participation contributes to the challenge of managing gambling-related problems.
Understanding Gambling Addiction Statistics:
Gambling addiction, often called problem gambling or compulsive gambling, is a behavioural disorder characterized by the inability to control one’s urge to gamble despite adverse consequences. It can lead to severe financial difficulties, strained relationships, and psychological distress.
Causes and Risk Factors:
Several factors can contribute to the development of gambling addiction:
Easy Access: The accessibility of gambling venues and online betting platforms has made it easier for individuals to gamble excessively.
Social Acceptance: In Australia, gambling is deeply ingrained in social activities, from playing poker with friends to placing bets on sporting events. This normalization can make it difficult for individuals to recognize the signs of addiction.
Psychological Factors: Some individuals may turn to gambling to cope with stress, depression, or anxiety, making them more susceptible to addiction.
The Impact of Gambling Addiction:
The consequences of gambling addiction can be devastating. Financial problems, legal troubles, relationship breakdowns, and mental health issues are common outcomes. The toll on individuals and their families is significant, and it can take years to recover from the damage.
Gambling Addiction Help:
Recognizing the signs of gambling addiction is the first step toward recovery. Fortunately, Australia offers various support services for those struggling with gambling problems. These include:
- Counselling Services: Professional counselling can help individuals address the underlying causes of their addiction and develop coping strategies.
- Self-Exclusion Programs: Many gambling venues and online platforms offer self-exclusion options, allowing individuals to ban themselves from gambling establishments.
- Gambling Addiction Hotline: A national helpline (1800 858 858) provides confidential assistance and support for those affected by gambling addiction.
- Support Groups: Joining support groups can be an effective way to connect with others facing similar challenges.
Gambling Addiction Treatment
Addressing the legislation surrounding gambling practices and accessibility in Australia is a commendable step towards preventing future addiction cases. However, for those already grappling with gambling addiction, finding the right path to recovery can be challenging.
Currently, only 15% of gambling addicts in Australia seek help, often hindered by feelings of shame, guilt, and a perceived lack of viable solutions. Fortunately, effective gambling addiction treatment is available, incorporating many principles in traditional addiction recovery methods.
At The Cabin, we offer comprehensive treatment options, including inpatient and outpatient rehab programs, and possess significant expertise in addressing behavioural addictions like gambling. If you or someone you know is battling a gambling addiction, seeking assistance from qualified counsellors is crucial. The sooner you reach out for help, the greater the chances of overcoming the habit before it exerts further control over your life.
Our Conclusion on Gambling Addiction:
Gambling addiction is a growing concern in Australia but not insurmountable. Recognizing the problem and seeking help are crucial steps towards recovery. With the right support and determination, individuals can regain control of their lives and break free from gambling addiction. Individuals, families, and communities must work together to raise awareness and help those in need.
Gambling Addiction Resources and Support
For more information and support, reach out to these resources:
- Gambling Help Online on 1800 858 858 (free call, available 24 hours a day)
- Lifeline on 13 11 14 (24 hours a day)
- Financial Counselling Hotline on 1800 007 007, for help with financial difficulties (Monday to Friday, 9.30 am – 4.30 pm)