Getting Help For Gambling Addiction

Playing pokies and casino games is enjoyed by many Aussies and for most, it’s a fun way to pass the time. However, for some players it can be more difficult to control their gambling habits. When it’s not fun anymore and starts to become harmful, that’s when it could be a sign of a gambling addiction or problem.

Our experts have created this guide to help you identify the signs of a gambling addiction, what causes it and what you can do to help yourself or someone close to you.

What Is A Gambling Addiction?

The addiction to casino games is similar to any other impulse-control disorder when people are unable to control their actions, even when they know that it is harming them and others. According to researchers, these are the three most common types of addictive gaming activities.


Compulsive Gambling

A compulsive player has no control over the gaming activities and will carry on betting money no matter the consequences. They will often look for any excuse to make a bet, even if they know that they aren’t capable to pay it in case they lose.


Binge Gambling

This case is not immediately obvious, but there are some similar symptoms. The person will act like a compulsive player, but only for certain periods of time. It can give the illusion that they have gaming activities under control. But once they start betting, they lose control and have no self-limitation.


Problem Gambling

This is the least extreme type of addiction on this list, where players aren’t completely addicted to casino games. While they may not be a compulsive type of player, their gaming activities still lack control. These casino players chase their losses, and they are not always able to stop themselves from taking too much risk.

These types of addictions are very serious issues that can’t be solved independently. In such cases, we highly recommend looking for support and professional help.

How to Identify A Gambling Problem?

The DSM 5 diagnostic criteria for a gambling disorder by St Vincent Hospital as the source recommended by the Government of NSW, is based on at least four or more of the following signs being present in someone within the past year.

  • You constantly think about casino games and when you’ll have an opportunity to play again

  • You need to bet more money in order to receive the same thrill

  • You feel agitated and annoyed when other people try to keep you away from online casinos

  • You choose playing instead of dealing with some real problems

  • You are chasing losses, no matter the cost

  • You lie to friends and family about how much money you are spending on casinos

  • You turn to illegal activities to fund your player’s account

  • You use friends and family for financial bailouts to cover gaming losses

  • You try to stop gaming at online casinos but the attempts fail repeatedly

If you see yourself in some of these statements, it means you should be more careful, limit your casino activities, or look for professional help.

How To Protect Yourself From A Gambling Addiction

As mentioned previously, no battles should be fought alone. If you assume that you might have some problems limiting your online casino sessions, there are plenty of solutions:

Read about online casinos and educate yourself on how to act in a responsible way.

Limit your casino account, set the maximum amount of deposits and use time tracking.

Try self-exclusion for a few months to see how you are dealing with the fact that there is no possibility to log into your account

Use special apps that block all the websites with any possible casino gaming and betting activities. You may not be titanium, so smart technologies can take the responsibility.

Talk to others about your struggles, tell the people who are close to you how you feel, join a support group, and share your experiences. Saying it out loud might be that crucial eyes-opening step.

Reach out to a doctor and/or psychologist to get professional help and care. There is no shame in doing so and it is a lot more common than you think.

How to Treat A Gambling Addiction

Several different treatments exist for stopping a gambling addiction or problem. There’s no single treatment that is considered the best way to treat it as it depends on where you live, your age, your life circumstances and your personality. Your support group or healthcare professional will know how to provide the best treatment plan.

Therapy & Counselling

Psychotherapy has been extremely effective in treating people with gambling addiction. A mental health professional will help get to the root of the problem and help improve problem behaviours. Most of the time, the problem isn’t gambling itself but another issue that’s present and a counsellor or therapist can uncover and create a mental health care plan that’s catered to your needs. Going to see your local GP is a good place to start and they will help create a plan for you and the next steps that you need to take.

Medical Treatment

There aren’t any specific medicines that can help treat gambling addictions, but it’s not uncommon for players to be prescribed antidepressants, anti-seizure medications and certain SSRIs. These are usually prescribed to help reduce the urge to wager or help manage feelings of excitement that come with gambling.

Group Support

Getting group support can be very beneficial in helping combat gambling addiction. In combination with psychotherapy, it can be helpful to talk openly about your challenges and experiences with others who are going through or have gone through the same situations. Peer support can be effective, especially for those who have been struggling with mental health or loneliness.

Additional Resources

Problem Gambling Helpline

Call the number 1800 858 858 for free support related to gambling.

Gambling Help Online

Online counselling (e.g. real time online chat, email and forums).

Gamblers Anonymous Australia

A support community that helps people recover from gambling addiction.


24/7 support for any personal difficulties, call 13 11 14.

Australian Government Gambling Help

Visit for additional information and resources.

What Can Cause A Gambling Addiction?

There isn’t one single cause for gambling addiction, but several factors can have an influence. These can range from whether a player has any mental health conditions to their age to how big the first wins were.

  • Biological factors: Some aspects of compulsive gambling are quite similar in nature to other addictions and so one of the major causes of gambling becoming a problem, is usually biological. Studies show that gambling can produce a neurological response similar to someone who takes cocaine. Having a deficiency in chemicals like serotonin and norepinephrine can also increase the risk of being compulsive while gambling.

  • Psychological factors: There’s something called the gambler’s fallacy, which is a belief that a random event is more likely to happen based on the results from a previous event. For example when flipping a coin, if it lands on heads four or five times, the gambler’s belief dictates that the coin will flip on tails next time to “make up” for the four or five times it landed on heads, even though it’s always a 50/50 chance. This type of distorted thinking is what can cause someone to be in denial about their gambling addiction, have superstitions and have a distorted view about the outcome of the next bet.

  • Social factors: Other external factors can include depression, distress, loneliness and traumatic or difficult life events. Gambling addiction can also run in families, where the traits can be passed down or even influence family members.

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Gambling addiction is a serious condition that can impact lives. While treating a gambling addiction can be challenging, professional treatment has proven to be helpful.

If you feel that you might have a gambling addiction or might be a compulsive gambler, consider avoiding gambling in any form. Get treatment at the earliest sign of a problem to help prevent gambling from becoming worse.

Jamie Bungaree avatar
Jamie Bungaree
Head of Casino Games

Hi, I’m Jamie, the Head of Casino Games at CasinoAus. For over eight years, I’ve been exploring the exciting universe of iGaming, from pokies to table games. My experience isn’t just about playing; it’s about understanding the mechanics and delivering quality content. My background in journalism equips me to provide you with insights that go beyond the surface. I’m here to make sure you have an engaging and informative experience.

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