A pathway to a healthier you


Content warning

This article covers topics that could be confronting for some. If you're not ready to read on, talk with us about your health issue.

People gamble for many reasons – for excitement, for the thrill of winning, or to be social. But it can be hard to tell when it stops being fun and starts becoming a problem.   

Today, gambling is everywhere. It's heavily promoted and widely accepted across all age groups. We are exposed to it more than ever before.  

Escaping stress

Gambling can be an escape for people with stress in their lives. Some have experienced a stressful change in life, like illness or divorce. Others want to forget about life's worries, such as relationship issues or money troubles. 

Fun until we lose

Someone may start gambling for fun, have some early wins, and then keep playing in the hope they'll win again and experience the same good feelings. However, when they begin to lose, particularly big losses, the cycle of problem gambling can start. 

Getting that dopamine ‘hit’

Even though there are no drugs or substances involved in gambling, problem gambling has a similar effect on the brain as drug and alcohol addictions.  

Who gambles

People who have experienced trauma and burnout are more vulnerable to gambling harm. 

Employees in some sectors gamble significantly more often than others, this includes: 

  • hospital and healthcare employees
  • shift workers who are free during the daytime when family and friends are at school or working might spend more time gambling than people who work regular hours. 

Understanding you have a problem and getting the right support

If you’re worried that you might be gambling too much or if you’re thinking about gambling for the first time, it’s a good idea to get accurate information about how gambling works. It can help you make decisions about how much to gamble and which games to play. It can also help you figure out what steps to take if you decide you need to change your gambling. 

Gambling Help Online – information about how gambling works, the signs of problem gambling, tools and resources as well as free online support for anyone affected by gambling. Free anonymous support is also available 24/7 on 1800 858 858. 

Understand how severe your gambling is and how it compares to that of others. Take a gambling self assessment. No personal info needed, takes a few minutes.   

Are you worried about your gambling or who want to know more about the problems gambling can cause? Listen to the free gambling harm podcast series Not a dollar more 

Want help changing your gambling habits? Consider joining a peer support group. Meetings are held throughout Australian cities and regional areas. Gamblers Anonymous 

Can't stop?

If you are ready to walk away from a harmful habit, we're here to support you. 

Gambling ‘harm’: Gambling to the extent that it has an adverse effect on you, your friends and family and the community

73% Australians
Aged 18 or over gambled in the past 12 months
Around 2 in 5 gambled weekly


Gambling harms can impact anyone. Watch real stories from the perspective of people who have been directly negatively impacted by problem gambling at Gamblers Help.  


  • Nyman J. A., Welte J. W., Dowd B. E. (2008). Something for nothing: A model of gambling behavior. Journal of Socio-Economics, 67(6), 2492–2504. doi:10.1016/j.socec.2008.02.011
  • Binde P, Romild U. Risk of problem gambling among occupational groups: A population and registry study. Nordic Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. 2020;37(3):262-278. doi:10.1177/1455072519899779 Gambling Research Australia, November 2005, Problem Gambling and Harm: Towards a National Definition Office of Gaming and Racing. Victorian Government Department of Justice, Melbourne, Victoria.
  • AGRC (Australian Gambling Research Centre) (2023) Gambling participation, experience of harm and community views: An overview- external site opens in new window, AGRC, Australian Institute of Family Studies, Australian Government, accessed 23 May 2023