Harmful gambling

Gambling is meant to be a fun and social form of entertainment. It offers the player a chance of winning – but all forms of gambling are designed to pay out less than they take in. For some people, the idea and excitement of winning means gambling can easily start to cause harm.

What is harmful gambling?

Harmful gambling is when your gambling starts to cause problems for you or others – for example, if:

  • you’re starting to have some stress associated with your gambling
  • it’s starting to put pressure on your budget
  • it’s causing problems with some of your relationships

or it’s simply no longer fun – but the choice to cut back is proving difficult. 

Some forms of gambling are more harmful than others – especially those that allow you to play continuously and lose track of how much you’re spending.

Effects of harmful gambling

Living alongside a problem gambler can be very stressful.

Over time, harmful gambling can have a significant negative effect on your health, your relationships, your finances, your employment, your children and the community you live in. Harmful gambling can also have a negative impact on your wider relationships, such as with friends and work colleagues.

Warning signs of harmful gambling

If any of these sound familiar, it could point to a problem with your gambling (or the gambling of someone you know):

  • spending more time or money than you planned
  • making excuses or being secretive with friends or family about how much time and money you’re spending gambling
  • feeling guilty or worried about how much you're gambling
  • you or your family going without
  • thinking that you can gamble your way out of debt
  • losing interest in your friends, family or other activities
  • borrowing or taking money from your friends, family or a workplace.

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