The majority of people do gamble responsibly. It may help you to keep your gambling under control by remembering the following:
• You’re taking part for fun – not as a means of investing your money
• Before playing, set strict limits on how much time and money you’re going to spend
• Quit while you’re ahead
• Only gamble with money you can afford to lose
• Don’t spend more money on gambling, hoping to win back money that you’ve lost
• Keep up other interests and hobbies – don’t let gambling take over your life
• Don’t gamble in order to escape from stress or boredom
• Gambling in moderation is okay
For some however gambling can become a problem. If you are concerned about the amount you are gambling, and feel it is taking over your life – or you are concerned for a friend or relative -then the following questions may help you by giving you some guidance.
• Have others ever criticised your gambling?
• Have you lied to cover up the amount you have gambled or the time you have spent doing it?
• Do arguments, frustrations or disappointments make you want to gamble?
• Do you gamble alone for long periods?
• Do you stay away from work or college to gamble?
• Do you gamble to escape from a boring or unhappy life?
• Are you reluctant to spend ‘gambling money’ on anything else?
• Have you lost interest in your family, friends or pastimes due to gambling?
• After losing, do you feel you must try to win back your losses as soon as possible?
• When gambling and you run out of money, do you feel lost and in despair, and need to gamble again as soon as possible?
• Do you gamble until your last penny is gone?
• Have you lied, stolen or borrowed just to get money to gamble or to pay gambling debts?
• Do you feel depressed or even suicidal because of your gambling?
If you are answering ‘yes’ to some of these questions, then it is likely that a gambling problem exists. For friendly and helpful advice from trained counsellors call the GamCare helpline on 0845 6000 133 or 0808 8020 133. The helpline operates between 8am and midnight, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Calls outside of these hours will be taken by a message taking service.
Sometimes just telling someone about your problem can be a relief and it is the first step towards dealing with your problem. You can also visit the GamCare website for more information and advice.