There are over half a million people in the UK who take part in some form of gambling, whether it’s a game of chance such as roulette or betting on a football match or a more structured, formal form of gambling such as playing a scratchcard. For many, it can be an enjoyable experience. But for others it can cause problems, including harm to their health and relationships, performance at work or study and serious debt. It can also be a serious risk to their own safety and may get them into trouble with the law and even lead to homelessness.
The key to controlling gambling is to know when it’s time to stop. Set time and money limits for yourself, and don’t chase losses. Trying to win back losses can make you lose more and more money, so never do this.
Gambling can be addictive – especially if you’re not sure if it’s causing you harm or if it’s getting out of hand. If you think it’s getting out of control, it’s important to talk about it with someone and seek help.
Problem gambling is a mental health condition which can affect your life in many ways. It can lead to feelings of depression, stress or anxiety, and may make these conditions worse if left untreated. Getting treatment for these underlying problems can make gambling more manageable and prevent it from becoming an addiction.
It’s a good idea to talk about gambling with family and friends, because they can spot signs that it’s getting out of hand. They can offer support and encouragement, and may also want to set up a joint bank account or pay some bills in advance.
They can also be helpful in putting you in touch with specialist services and advice, such as credit counsellors. These are experts in credit law and debt collection practices and can help you deal with your gambling.
You should tell your bank or building society about your problem, and write a note in your account telling them that you are taking steps to deal with your gambling. They will then take this into account when you try to borrow from them or apply for a loan. If your problem is severe enough, you might need to consider bankruptcy as a last resort.
Alternatively, you could ask your bank to give you a third-party mandate, which allows them to instruct your account provider to transfer money on your behalf. This is only a temporary solution and shouldn’t be used in place of other forms of financial support, but it can help you to get your finances in order while you tackle your gambling.
Your budget is an important part of keeping your money under control, so make sure it’s set up properly. Use it as a guide for all your spending and don’t spend more than you can afford to lose.
If you’re concerned about your gambling, there is an 800 number and lots of treatment centres and clinics to help. Therapy can be a great way to get your thoughts out of your head and find solutions that are right for you.