Footy Season and Gambling: Kicking Gambling Habits to the Sideline

27 Feb 2023

Another exciting football season is about to kick off!

It’s no secret that Aussies love our sport – especially the footy. NRL, AFL, and rugby are all as engrained in Australian culture as Vegemite and AC/DC.

Many of us have memories of gathering around the telly and watching a game with our family, or heading to the local pub to back our team and have some banter with mates.

But unfortunately, not everyone can enjoy a game of footy for the spectacle it is without associating it with gambling.

Sports betting is one of the most popular gambling activities in Australia, and the number of people betting on sports is increasing.

With footy season in full swing, it’s important that we look after ourselves and our mates by knowing the signs of unsafe gambling and how to enjoy some recreational betting without going overboard.

Learn the signs of unsafe gambling and tips to avoid gambling harm here.


When does gambling become a problem?

It’s important to know the signs of risky gambling and gambling harm so you can keep an eye on your own habits as well as your mates’.

These are some of the common signs gambling may have become an issue:

  • Spending more time and money on gambling than you’d planned to
  • Wanting to talk about sports betting in every conversation
  • Hiding or lying about the extent of your gambling from friends, family, or your partner
  • Feeling guilty or anxious after gambling
  • Trying to win back your losses
  • Missing work or social events to gambling
  • Being preoccupied with thoughts of gambling
  • Borrowing or stealing money to gamble
  • Feeling like you need to gamble more to get the same rush
  • You’re not enjoying watching the footy unless you’re winning a bet
  • Gambling is impacting your life and/or relationships in a negative way.

If you notice these signs in yourself or someone close to you, seeking help sooner rather than later can help minimise harm.


Tips for Safer Gambling

If you’re going to bet on the footy – or any sport – these strategies can help reduce the risk of gambling harm:

  • Focus on the fun of the game – not the odds or needing to make money.
  • Stay disciplined and focused just like the footy players. Set a spending limit and only spend what you can afford to lose.
  • It’s easy to get caught up in the hype and rush of sports, mates, and excitement. Place bets before a game and shut down your apps to avoid the temptation of placing bets with impaired judgement.
  • Try to only gamble with a clear mind, not under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • When gambling on footy, surround yourself with mates who are supportive of your limits.

It’s also a good idea to take breaks from gambling and try to enjoy football as the entertaining sport it is without needing to place a bet every game.

If you can’t watch the footy without raising the stakes with a bet, it might be time to take stock of your gambling habits and redirect your time to other sports or activities with mates that don’t involve gambling.


How to Get Help

If you’d like some help changing your gambling habits, free, confidential, and culturally appropriate support is available.

We’re here for you and will work with you at your own pace to make positive changes.

You can call the 24/7 helpline on 1800 858 858 to talk to someone over the phone or book a counselling session in person or over Zoom.

Our experienced counsellors can help you with your gambling, finances, and other general issues – whether you’re struggling with your mental health, drinking, or relationships.

We also help friends and family impacted by gambling harm.

Watch retired AFL player Allen’s real-life experience with gambling here:

Contact us

If gambling has become a problem for you, or someone you care about, get some help. It’s free and confidential.

Call the Gambling Helpline on 1800 858 858 anytime 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

Click for face-to-face counselling locations

Click for online counselling and real time chat