For some people, gambling is not a source of occasional entertainment and can become a serious problem.

The term ‘problem gambling’ is most commonly used to describe an individual’s inability to control the amount of money and/or time spent gambling which results in negative consequences for their social, family, and work life.

Evidence shows electronic gaming machines (pokies) are the product most linked to problem gambling and gambling harm. Online sports betting is an increasing concern, particularly amongst young men.

Although there are no consistent symptoms of problem gambling, there are a number of cognitive, emotional, behavioural, and financial signs that might indicate that a person is experiencing a gambling problem (Australian Psychological Society).

Cognitive and emotional symptoms
  • Frequent thoughts about gambling
  • Feeling irritable and restless when attempting to stop gambling
  • Gambling in order to escape problems/feel better
  • Gambling more and more money in order to achieve feelings of excitement
Behavioural symptoms
  • Arguments with family or friends as a result of issues relating to gambling
  • Experiencing difficulties at work or with study as a result of gambling behaviour
  • Repeated unsuccessful attempts to stop gambling
  • Difficulties resisting the urge to gamble
Financial symptoms
  • Relying on others to resolve financial troubles caused by gambling
  • Gambling in order to win back lost money

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