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Signs of problem gambling

The following may be considered just some of the possible signs of gambling problems or the increased risk of developing gambling problems, but these signs may also indicate other issues. When more of the signs occur in combination, there is more cause for concern and more likelihood that gambling is a problem.  Some of these signs will only be noticeable to the person with a gambling problem.  Other signs may be observed by family members, friends or work colleagues.

  • Maintaining secrecy around money issues
  • Hiding signs of gambling from others
  • Unusual debt changes eg refinancing the home to borrow more cash
  • Being open or boasting of gambling wins, but understating or not mentioning any gambling losses
  • Unexplained absences from work, home, or education
  • Mood swings
  • Unexplained generosity or euphoria
  • Preoccupation with gambling e.g. thinking about gambling when involved in other activities, being frustrated when gambling venues are closed, planning the day or week around gambling activities.
  • Reduced ability to concentrate
  • Loss of perception of time in gambling venues
  • Memory lapses during or after gambling

Recognise the signs - Gambling Awareness Week 2007

In May 2007, Gambling Awareness Week in South Australia promoted the theme 'RECOGNISE THE SIGNS" with merchandise focusing on the following questions:

  • Do you ever gamble to avoid going home?
  • Do you ever lie awake thinking about gambling?
  • Do you ever hide your gambling from others?
  • Do you ever gamble just to get away from work?

While stocks last, we can supply you free with attractive notepads and keyrings featuring the above questions. 

Potentially ‘At Risk’ groups:

  • Retired people
  • Young adults and teenagers
  • People who are socially isolated for any reason
  • Anyone experiencing grief or having unresolved grief issues
  • Aged Pensioners
  • Disability Pensioners
  • Anyone who wants to 'veg out' or escape from something for a while
  • People who have a sudden change in circumstances resulting in them having time and money available to gamble e.g. owners of a business who have just sold the business
  • People who have experienced abuse or trauma in their childhood or in their adult lives
  • People with anxiety issues
  • People experiencing depression
  • Users of drugs

With some of the above it can be difficult to work out which came first, gambling or other apparently related factors.

Insight of a person with a gambling problem

It can be difficult to understand how it feels from the perspective of a person who has gambled beyond their intentions. Sometimes we are fortunate to receive glimpses or gems of insight from people who are willing to put their feelings ‘out there’ for the benefit of others.