Gambling and Money Stress

13 Feb 2024

With the cost of living at an all-time high, a lot of us are feeling stressed about money.

It’s important to remember that gambling can’t solve any money problems – in fact, gambling can make financial problems worse.

In this article, we look at how you can change your gambling habits when you’re worried about money, and what free support options are available for you.


How does money stress cause gambling harm?

Gambling harm (this term has replaced the phrase “problem gambling”) is what happens when gambling negatively impacts your mental health, financial situation, physical health, job/studies, or relationships.

Examples of signs of gambling harm include:

  • Borrowing or stealing money to gamble
  • Hiding the extent of your gambling from family and mates
  • Feeling strong emotions about gambling (such as stress or anger).

Research shows that a quarter of Aussie men experiencing gambling harm are stressed about money. Those engaging in harmful gambling face significantly more stressful financial problems.

Some people turn to gambling when they’re already worried about money. When men are financially stressed, they’re twice as likely to be affected by gambling harm.

It’s important to keep in mind that gambling is never a solution to financial problems.


How can I stop gambling and save money?

If gambling is impacting your finances, you may wish to stop gambling.

It can be hard to quit gambling cold turkey. You could start by practising safer gambling or reducing your gambling.

Here are some tips to practise safer gambling:

  1. Recognise warning signs of gambling harm
  2. Take breaks between games, spins, or bets
  3. Remember gambling will not solve any money problems
  4. Manage stress with exercise, counselling, and meditation.

These tips may help you spend less time and money on gambling:

  1. Set financial goals
  2. Create and stick to a budget
  3. Speak with a financial counsellor
  4. Set a spending limit on your bank cards
  5. Don’t gamble while drinking alcohol or using drugs
  6. Leave additional bank cards at home when going out
  7. Spend less time at places with gaming rooms or pokies
  8. Limit how much of your money you can use for gambling
  9. Avoid gambling with a credit card or with borrowed money
  10. Set a timer to remind yourself when it’s time to take a break.

Self-help strategies can be effective. But if you’re feeling like you could use some extra support in changing your gambling, it’s okay to ask for help.


Support is available

Is gambling impacting your finances? Free, confidential support is available now.

Gambling Help Queensland offers free, confidential, 24/7 support and advice from trained Gambling Help counsellors. You can speak to a counsellor or schedule an in-person session by calling the 24/7 helpline at 1800 858 858.


A note about gambling terminology

How we talk about gambling matters.

You may notice our website and our ads on telly tend to avoid phrases like “gamble responsibly”, “problem gambling,” “gambling addiction,” or even “stop gambling.”

This is because these terms can contribute to negative stigma surrounding gambling and make people who gamble feel alienated.

Instead of “problem gambling,” you’ll notice we use phrases like “gambling harm.” The phrase “gambling harm” is aligned with a public health approach which includes prevention and early intervention; “Gambling problem” usually means harm has already occurred.

Your counsellor will never tell you to just “stop gambling.” The Gambling Help service can help you explore options for safer gambling and to reduce or change your gambling at your own pace.

Contact us

If gambling is impacting your life or a loved one's life, it's okay to reach out for help. It’s free and confidential.

Call the 24/7 Gambling Helpline on 1800 858 858

Face-to-face counselling locations