Gambling Help for New Zealand Citizens

Gambling addiction is caused by many factors: desperation for money, the social status symbol associated with successful gamblers, the burning desire to experience the thrills and highs of gambling, and the general atmosphere provided by the typical gambling scene.

However, once you get into gambling addiction, it can be very difficult to break the cycle. Severe addiction often takes a hold of someone who is desperate financially and feels the need to recover what he has lost. And before he knows it he has lost more than he has managed to recover. Gamblers rarely come close to breaking even.

As with any other addiction out there, the hallmark sign of a serious gambling problem is the feeling of being unable to control it. You’ll always feel like you need to give it one more try, or the feeling of anxiety whenever you think about quitting. If you, your family member, or friend is suffering from gambling addiction, it is important to get help as soon as possible.

Emotional Symptoms of Too Much Gambling

Just as with alcohol and other addictions, excessive gambling causes numerous emotional symptoms: anxiety, stress, depression, and suicidal thoughts or tendencies.

In some extreme conditions, suicidal thoughts may trigger suicidal attempts. Losing everything to problematic gambling can leave you devastated and completely hopeless, leaving you with no option but to attempt to end your life.

Physical Symptoms of Gambling Addiction

It is undeniable that gambling can cause anxiety, depression, and even self-hurting tendencies, so there are a number of physical signs to watch out for. Anxiety and depression may lead to sleep deprivation, resulting in acne, weight gain/ weight loss, pale skin, and even dark circles under the eyes.

Other Signs and symptoms of gambling addiction or problem gambling

Gambling addiction is often referred to as the “hidden illness,” as it has no obvious physical signs/ symptoms like those of drug and alcohol addiction. In fact, problem gamblers will often deny or try to hide their issues. Problems gamblers go to greater lengths just to hide their addiction, even if it means withdrawing from family and friends, sneaking around, and lying about what they’ve been up to and where they’ve been.

Signs of a Gambling Problem

Like other addictions, gambling has its signs and symptoms. Some of the sign include:

1. Problem controlling gambling habits

2. The need to hide/ be secretive about the habit

3. Gambling even when you can’t afford it

4. Concerns from friends and family about your gambling

How to Know you have a Gambling Problem

1. You feel the need to be very secretive about your “hobby.” If you’re gambling in secret, feel the need to lie about your excessive gambling, or feel that others won’t understand and so you want to keep quiet about it, waiting to surprise them with a landslide win, then you’re a victim of excessive gambling.

2. You can’t control your gambling. If you just can’t walk away once you start gambling, are compelled to keep gambling until your last dollar is gone, or you always up your bets in a bid to recover lost money, then you have a serious gambling problem. Problem gamblers often find themselves “chasing” losses, saying they just want to win back all the money they’ve lost then quit. They believe that once they win big they’ll stop. But they end up piling even more debt in an attempt to chase their losses. Being unable to stop or control gambling is when gamblers cannot resist the urge to play. They know they shouldn’t gamble so much and want to quit , but they just cannot do it.

3. You gamble even when you know you don’t have money. Problem gamblers get more and more desperate in a bid to get back lost money and, as a result, they gamble until they’ve parted with their last dollar. This is when they move to money they don’t have – credit cards, money reserved for bills, or to buy children stuff. Pathological gamblers are even compelled to borrow when this expensive habit puts them in a deep financial hole.

They will borrow from friends, families, colleagues, and even strangers without admitting why they really need the money. If the problem becomes too serious, they may even have other people – family and friends – pay their gambling debts after they max out their credit cards and second mortgage. Others are forced to sell or even steal items just to get gambling money. The vicious cycle forces them to believe that the only way to win back their lost money is by gambling more, but they always end up in a deeper hole.

4. Your family and friends begin to worry about you. Gambling problem is serious; denial is the order of the day. If your family and friends are worried about you, then it is time to evaluate how gambling addiction could be affecting your life. Older people who have gambled away their inheritance are ashamed to reach out to their children. While most gamblers see it as a sign of weakness to seek help, this is the only way they can salvage the situation.

5. You feel the need to lie just to cover what you’ve been up to. Problem gamblers often start lying in an attempt to hide it from their spouses, coworkers, families, friends, and everyone around them.

6. Always betting more. Just like those who have drug and alcohol problems, gambling addicts have to up their gambling “dose” in order to enjoy it. They get the rush they want by betting more and more albeit losing every time.

7. Gambling Obsession. This is when a gambler cannot think about anything else but the last time he gambled and the next time he’ll do the same. They don’t have a real reason to gamble; any reason is reason enough. They’ll try all strategies to win back the money they’ve lost.

8. Gambling out of need. In an attempt to reduce or stop gambling altogether, they experience what is known as “psychological withdrawal symptoms” – they become irritable, agitated, tense, or impatient if they don’t receive their so called “dose” of gambling.

9. Gambling to forget. Problem gamblers often play to forget their problems, distract themselves, and reduce their stress. To them, it is not just entertainment; they do it to feel better about themselves and escape from the harsh realities of life. But the gambling itself gives birth to even more serious financial and socio-economic problems.

10. Stealing or being involved in fraud just to gamble. Problems gamblers keep on gambling despite their losses, putting their finances in a bad state. And when borrowing money from friends, coworkers and family is no longer sustainable, they turn to crime and misdeeds to fund their expensive habit hoping to hit the jackpot and solve all their problems.

11. Gambling as the only thing in the world. Gamblers become so addicted to the habit, hoping that they’ll win all their money back. As a result, everything revolving around their lives is affected by gambling. It puts their relationships, friendships, job, and even future career opportunities at risk.

Blocking Yourself From Playing Online

While it is not easy to quit gambling, problems gamblers should exploit all avenues available to help stop this expensive habit before their lives fall into shambles, reaching the point of no return. Below is how to block yourself from playing online:

1. Resolve to stop gambling. Decide on a single day that you will not gamble. But if you have to quit an hour at a time it is also fine. You have to promise yourself that you’ll not gamble on a given day or at a specific time.

2. Find something – a hobby – to replace the gambling time. Find a healthy replacement – such as exercise, cooking, shopping with friends, etc. – to substitute your gambling habit. Renting a movie or listening to some music is also healthy as long as it will help you stay away from gambling. While this can be a struggle, the effort will be worthwhile in the end.

3. It can be devastating to lose a lot of money in a casino or in an online gambling. Think about the bad feeling associated with losing a lot of money through sports betting and let yourself feel the despondency whenever you are having “gambling thoughts” again. They may help prevent you from going out to place a bet.

4. Expose yourself to educational material about gambling addiction. This will help evaluate yourself and find out if you have a gambling problem. Finding out what your triggers are will help you determine whether you’re an action gambler or an escape gambler. You will also learn about the power that slots can have on an individual’s psyche, making you think twice about going out and placing a bet.

5. Buy self-help gambling addiction courses or books and join gambling addiction forums online. Reading people’s stories will make you realize that you’re not alone. You will not only get answers, but also support from other problem gamblers.

6. Attend Gamblers Anonymous meetings near you for group support. If you find an online self-help program, enroll immediately. Having support from other peers who are struggling to get better will significantly contribute to quick recovery.

7. Have a trusted friend or family member handle your finances. Having no money to spend carelessly will make you less apt to impulsive purchases and expenditure. Restrict yourself from accessing ATM and credit cards. Keeping a small amount of cash will help fight the urge to go gambling.

8. List the negative impact gambling has had in your life. Making a list of how negatively gambling has affected you will help you see all the problems on a single page. Have two columns and list the negatives on the left whilst you reserve the right for how your entire life would change for the better if you stopped gambling.

9. Consider talking to a debt counselor to help relieve you of your financial pressure, as financial stress from gambling addiction can drive you right back into gambling and more debt if not addressed properly. A non-profit debt-help agency is a great choice.

10. Visit a counselor that specializes in gambling addiction and let him or her address your problem. While beating gambling problems can be difficult, it is necessary before it leads to suicidal attempts. These obstacles will help you stay away from casinos and sports betting.

Where To Seek Help?

There are some Gambling Help Organizations in New Zealand to help you curb the gambling menace. Below are three such organizations and what they do:

Gambling Help Online –

This is an initiative of the MCG (Ministerial Council on Gambling), funded as part of an existing agreement between the New Zealand Government and all State & Territory Governments. The services complements or broadens the range of services that help respond to issues of problem gambling.

It presents New Zealands with a rare opportunity to access meaningful counseling and helpful information services, especially when they are reluctant or unable to access face-to-face counseling services offered in each jurisdiction. Gambling Help Online provides one of a kind email counseling and support 24/7. It has professional counselors who are experts in resolving gambling problems.

The BetSafe Responsible Gambling Program

Responsible gambling expatriate Paul Symond developed this program in 1998 to help manage gambling problems. BetSafe is a program of its kind in the whole world and currently has a membership of 40+ clubs in NSW as well as the ACT. BetSafe strives to nurture an environment which provides a platform for people to open up and come forward before hitting crisis point.

As a safety net, BetSafe acknowledges the recreational as well as the social side of gambling whilst also being mindful about the individuals it might bring anti-social problems. It offers safe training as well as comprehensive policies and even procedures supported by a well-resources counseling and self-exclusion program, helping patrons who are gambling out of control.

Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation –

This foundation exists to help the group affected by gambling addiction, as well as their friends and families, and even coworkers. The foundation is responsible for helping foster greater understanding and even awareness of the fundamental concept of responsible gambling across the wider community. It helps provide face-to-face counseling and other gambling related services.
If you are fighting gambling addiction, know that you are not alone and that the problem can be resolved using the right channels. These three organizations will help you seek gambling help as an New Zealand citizen.