How to Give Up Gambling

4 Jul 2024

When gambling is impacting your life, you may be thinking of ways to change your habits. And while it can be a difficult journey, it’s one of the most powerful and brave steps you can take towards a positive future.

With the right support, giving up gambling can feel less daunting. We’ll discuss some self-help strategies and the support available if you are being harmed by gambling.


Identify your reason for gambling

Why do you gamble? It might be for fun, to relax, or for social connection. Gambling can sometimes make you feel good, so it’s understandable that it’s hard to give up.

Think about alternate activities that can ‘fill your cup’. If you gamble for the social aspect, it might help to find other ways to socialise (like joining a local sports team or hobby club). If you gamble to blow off steam, try out other activities that can help you decompress (like going for a run or jamming out to your favourite tunes).

Maybe you’re not sure why you gamble, and it feels like it’s gotten beyond your control. It might help to speak to someone. The Gambling Helpline (1800 858 858) provides free and confidential support, no matter what stage of your journey you are at.


Build better habits

You might feel like gambling has become a hard-to-break habit. A gambling habit may look like opening your gambling apps as soon as you wake up, placing bets whenever you’re watching the footy, or frequently ending up in the gaming room at the pub.

Building better habits to stop gambling can include:

  • Making a vision board of your goals
  • Writing down habits you’d like to kick
  • Writing down habits you’d like to establish
  • Being consistent and persistent with the habits you want to build
  • Identifying and avoiding things and places that trigger unwanted habits
  • Taking deep breaths and ringing Gambling Help (1800 858 858) when you feel the urge to gamble.

We talk more about building better habits here.


Avoid triggers

A trigger is something that can aggravate unwanted feelings or behaviours. For example, going to the pub and having a beer might trigger your urge to gamble.

When you’re first trying to give up gambling, consider avoiding your triggers. Further on in your journey, you can introduce strategies to cope in triggering situations.

Here are some steps to avoid and manage your gambling triggers:

  1. Identify your triggers
  2. Suggest spending time in other places that don’t make you want to gamble
  3. Reduce your consumption of alcohol and drugs (these are common triggers)
  4. Remind yourself of your worth.

It’s easy to lose our self-compassion in tough situations.

Remember that the person you’re making these brave decisions for is important and worthy. Be kind to yourself – you deserve it.

When I speak to people about ‘how to stop gambling,’ I usually start with this: recognise that you’re worth showing up for.

-Marty, Gambling Help Counsellor

Support is available

Learning how to stop gambling can take a lot of time and support. Thankfully, you’re never alone in your journey.

Our free Gambling Helpline is open 24/7 at 1800 858 858. You can also visit Gambling Help Online to chat with a counsellor online.


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