Online Gambling is taking its toll

Samaritans has noticed an increasing trend towards online gambling with more individuals  seeking support for this type of problem gambling through our services.

Samaritans Gambling Counsellor, Graeme Penny, said “several years ago, 90% of the people we supported came to us with a poker machine addiction, whereas now 50% of the people we see are struggling with online gambling.”

The perils of online gambling are detrimental and with aggressive marketing tactics and tempting incentives, more Australians are being lured in.

“A lot of people who seek support are very unhappy with online gambling providers who make it very hard to cancel your account.  Often if you do win online you need to wait a few days to access your money, which often tempts individuals further,” Mr Penney said.

The Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing statistics reveal a staggering $230,386,377 turnover from poker machines alone in Cessnock from August 2015-16.

If you or a loved one is struggling with problem gambling, Samaritans offers a free gamblingHELP service that is funded by the Responsible Gambling Fund on behalf of the NSW Government.

Mr Penney believes through support, individuals are able to turn their life around.

“80% of the people who come to us for help are able to achieve their goals and stop gambling,” he said.

Mr Penney highlights the key factor to success is helping individuals identify the underlying reason they are gambling.

“Some people are not aware of the real reason for their gambling so it’s a bit of light bulb moment and turns around many other aspects of their life too,” he said.

Are you at risk?  Below are some early warning signs that there could be a problem…

  • More time or money spent on gambling than before
  • Chasing losses
  • Feeling down or irritable after gambling
  • Lying to others about your gambling
  • Withdrawing from other activities and friends or family
  • Money hassles caused by gambling

Samaritans offers free and confidential support for gamblers and those close to them.  Click here for more information on our gambling service in Cessnock and the Mid North Coast.

For free and confidential support, phone 4993 3455 to book an appointment with Samaritans Gambling Counselling service.