How to Reduce the Risk of Gambling-Related Harm

While gambling can be an enjoyable pastime for many people, it can also cause health problems such as headaches and nausea, and social harms on individuals, families and communities including financial hardship, broken relationships, poor work performance, substance abuse, family homelessness, and criminal activity [1]. Increasingly, the social costs of gambling have been recognised as a public health issue in Australia and the UK, with evidence showing that it can damage mental and physical health, disrupt familial structures, erode community bonds, lead to debt and bankruptcy and even threaten employment and housing stability.

A number of strategies can be used to reduce the risk of gambling-related harm. However, most research and policy approaches to gambling are framed through psychological and economic models of individual behaviour and addiction. A growing corpus of research, however, is considering the role of wider socio-cultural and regulatory contexts in the formation of gambling practices – an approach that can inform a more holistic and integrated framework for reducing gambling-related harm.

Ensure that you start with a fixed amount of money to gamble with and do not spend more than you can afford to lose. Be sure to close all your online betting accounts, put someone else in charge of your credit cards and ensure that you do not keep them at home when you are tempted to gamble. You can also use psychotherapy to help manage your urges, such as psychodynamic therapy, which looks at how unconscious processes influence your behavior, and group therapy – which allows you to discuss your problem with others who are experiencing the same issues.