Gambling addiction is an important public health concern that affects the health and wellbeing of individuals, families and communities. Nurses, midwives and students are exposed to professional demands that may make them vulnerable to addiction, including gambling.

If you are affected by gambling and would like to chat to someone you can call our confidential support line 24/7 on 1800 667 877.
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What is gambling?

Traditionally gambling is an activity where someone risks money or belongings; there is an element of randomness or chance involved; and the purpose is to win.

The traditional methods of gambling include:

  • gaming machines or pokies
  • casino table games
  • lottery
  • scratch cards
  • online gambling, and
  • sports betting.

Emerging gambling activities include:

  • fantasy sports
  • games with in-app purchases
  • online investment trading, and
  • online auctions.

Today, betting is available 24/7 from just about anywhere.

Responsible gambling

People gamble for many reasons including the excitement, the thrill of winning or to be social.

Responsible gambling is gambling for enjoyment and entertainment, with an understanding about the associated risks of spending more money than you planned or can afford. Responsible gambling is balanced with other activities and does not cause problems or harm for the person gambling or others.

Problem gambling

Many factors can lead to problem gambling. Easy accessibility to gambling opportunities at any time of the day can be attractive to shiftworkers (including nurses, midwives and students) wanting to unwind after work.

Gambling may begin as an innocent social activity, but can become a way for you to cope with challenging situations that cause negative emotional states. These could include a significant change in lifestyle, a change in location leading to social isolation and boredom, or a distressing situation, such as interpersonal problems, personal trauma or harassment (McMillen et al. 2004).

These stressful life events can increase your vulnerability to developing a gambling problem. You may suspect that gambling is affecting your life, but how do you really know if your gambling has become a problem?

If you would like to chat to someone you can call our confidential support line 24/7 on 1800 667 877. Help is also available at Gambling Help Online.

Do you have a problem?

It may help to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you struggle to control gambling impulses?
  • Are you spending more money on gambling than you planned?
  • Are you spending more time gambling than you planned?
  • Are you chasing your losses?
  • Do you feel like gambling has taken over?
  • Are you neglecting other areas of your life such as relationships or work commitments?
  • Has gambling become an escape from problems or negative emotions?
  • Are you placing bigger bets to get the same feeling?
  • Do you think about gambling, when doing other things?

If you answered yes to any of these questions then you may have a gambling problem.

Other symptoms of problem gambling may include:

  • depression
  • anxiety
  • alcohol and drug issues
  • domestic violence or relationship breakdown
  • financial hardship, or
  • legal problems.

If you would like to chat to someone you can call our confidential support line 24/7 on 1800 667 877. Help is also available at Gambling Help Online.

Facts about gambling
  • People can feel emotionally relieved in the gambling atmosphere, which increases their risk of spending more money than planned.
  • Other factors associated with at-risk gambling include large jackpots, attractive consumer goods such as cheap food and drink, and easy wins.
  • Migrants often see gambling as a way to integrate themselves into Australia's culture and lifestyle. For example, those from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) communities who gamble may be more likely to experience problems due to different beliefs about luck and chance (Dickens & Thomas, 2016).
  • Gambling doesn’t just affect your finances, it can also affect your health. There is a strong link between gambling and mental health, as well as a connection between gambling, smoking or drinking alcohol.
  • Stigma and shame can create considerable barriers to help seeking. Gambling Help Online provides free confidential advice and support from trained counsellors and is a good starting point.
What can I do next?

Why not read some of our articles on staying healthy:

Our service provides free and confidential support 24/7, to nurses, midwives and students Australia wide. If you would like to speak to someone call 1800 667 877, or you can request support via email.

If you would like to know a bit more about the service before getting in contact — take a look through accessing support.

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