What is gambling addiction
Gambling addiction is when you experience an impulse to gamble, regardless of the consequences. You may know that the odds are against you or you can’t afford to lose but the impulse is difficult to ignore. Gambling doesn’t, however, need to be an addiction to be a problem. Problem gambling is any gambling behaviour that disrupts your life in some way.
One of the most common results of a gambling addiction or gambling problems is loss of money and debt. Financial problems can mount up as a result of unpaid bills and loans taken out to cover gambling debts. Often the temptation is to continue gambling in order to win back the money to pay the debts but, more often than not, this results in a vicious cycle.
What are the signs of a gambling problem?
Gambling can be very addictive and the following signs can indicate a problem with gambling:
- regularly borrowing money from friends and family
- avoiding people you have borrowed money from
- neglecting responsibilities and hobbies due to gambling
- feeling anxious regarding money difficulties due to gambling
- relationship problems because of money difficulties due to gambling
- being secretive about your gambling
- regularly thinking about gambling
What to do next
Recognising your gambling addiction or problem is a significant first step. Below are some practical steps that you can take to start to address the issue:
- limit the amount of money you spend gambling – you may set yourself limit at the start of the week or set up a betting account and ask for a limit to be placed on it
- reduce the amount of time and days that you gamble – set a limit to how many days a week you will gamble and/or the amount of time you spend on each occasion
- spend time doing other activities – spending time with family and friends or taking parting in recreational activities can help to occupy your time and take your focus away from gambling
- put in place positive motivators – these are things that you are looking forward to, such as a day out with friends or a holiday with family
- download blocking software to your computer and/or mobile phone – this is software designed to block or limit access to gambling websites or sites of your choice
- talk to your bank. Some banks offer “gambling blocks” which block payments on gambling. However these do vary between banks so you need to find out what your bank offers
- self-exclusion – this is when you ask a gambling operator to exclude you from gambling with them for a set period of time. The Opt In website has further details about self-exclusion. Gamban also offer free software to all students
- manage debts - when it comes to pay day prioritise debts first and, if necessary, seek professional debt management advice to help you to move out of debt.
Support at the University
Student Money Advice can offer advice and support with debt and other financial problems, including how to apply to the University hardship fund or how to get a short-term loan.
The Wellbeing Service can offer help if you have a gambling problem as well as with any other welfare or wellbeing issue. They run drop-in sessions every day.
You can also access support from our Therapeutic Services and Mental Health team.