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Action Plan for Quitting Gambling

Updated on March 23, 2015

The average household spends about one thousand dollars per year on gaming according to recent statistics. For most people playing an occasional scratch card or playing the occasional game at the casino may seem normal and harmless. For some people gambling far exceeds $1000 per year and they spend a lot more each year in various types of games.

Many gamblers can spend $1000 in one afternoon on slot machines or at the track. Since the availability of video lottery terminals and slot machines has become more widespread, this addiction has become more serious. The Gambling industry in Canada generates over 13 billion dollars a year in income, that number comprises video lottery machines, casinos, race tracks and other forms of gaming.

There exist many methods for gamblers to kick the habit or at least slow down the progressiveness of their addiction. These methods have been tested and are proven to be effective in helping to stop problem gambling. You can use any combination of these techniques to help put an end to your addiction.

Questions to Help You Identify if You Have a Problem

The first thing people who think they may have a problem should do is ask themselves the following questions.

  1. What is the largest amount of money you have spent in one day on gaming.
  2. Has someone in your family ever had a gambling problem.
  3. When thinking back to the past year, have you gone back to play to win back the money you previously lost.
  4. In the past 12 months have you ever told people you won when in actuality you lost.
  5. Do you feel like you have had a problem with your gaming in the past 12 months.
  6. In the past year have you ever played more money than you had intended to.
  7. In the past 12 months has anyone criticized your habits where gaming is concerned.
  8. Have you felt guilty after playing, or do you feel remorse after playing.
  9. In the past year have you tried to quit playing but felt that you could not stop.
  10. In the past year have you ever hidden tickets, stubs, or other proof that you had played from your family or spouse.
  11. Have you ever borrowed money for playing from friends, family or co-workers and not paid it back.
  12. In the past year have you borrowed money to pay off your own debts related to your playing habits.

If you answered favourably to one or more questions and you feel like you may have a problem, the following techniques for quitting may be beneficial to you.

Do you have this addiction?

Do you sometimes want to go back and win back what you have lost after playing?

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Methods to Quit

The first method used by many people is going to individual or group therapy. In the United States and Canada there exist many treatment centers that can help you with your gaming issues. Group therapy tends to be a little more confrontational than individual therapy because you will often be asked to speak about yourself and your habits in front of other people. If this is an issue for you, you may consider individual therapy.

The costs for therapy depend on many factors and in many provinces or states, you may qualify for free therapy. A good way to find out about therapy for problem gambling is to talk to a social worker. Social workers know a lot about the many treatment centers and how to go about getting connected with one of them. In therapy you will learn a lot about how the games you are used to playing were conceived in order for you to become addicted. That is right, the people who created these games did so in a way that would encourage addiction. They did this to make more money from their games, even though they knew that it would become a problem for many people. It is a sad fact, and it goes to show how inconsiderate the makers of these games are when it comes to other people’s lives.

The second method used by many people is to limit or restrict the amount of money that is available to you. This is a very popular method and it can be used in many ways. For one thing you can get someone you trust to help you manage your money. In the beginning it can be a very positive thing for you if you can get someone to completely manage your money, leaving you with only a bare minimum of available money. Keep only what you strictly need on you and leave the rest to the person managing your money. The person taking care of your money will take away your debit cards, and credit cards, teaching you to live on cash alone for a while. For some people this form of help is very beneficial, if there is no excess money available they can’t gamble to excess.

If you don’t feel comfortable with someone else controlling your finances, you can do it on your own if you like. The first thing to do is to call your bank and limit the amount you can withdraw per day with your debit card or credit card. If you like to carry cash on you, try to limit the amount of money you have on you when you leave your home. If you go by a bar and feel compelled to play you will spend less because you won’t have as much available to play with.

Another method for helping gamblers is to go to the casino where you regularly play and ask that you be banned from that casino. That way if you try to get in, they will stop you from entering. You can do the same thing at your favourite bar or other place where you tend to play. Some people ask a friend to go visit the place where they play and they can make the request to have you banned for you. If you choose to use a friend, you may need to write a signed letter to show that the request is really coming from you, adding a photocopy of your driver’s licence may also help.

Going to meetings is another popular way that many people use to quit their addiction. There are several movements that exist such as Gambler’s Anonymous. These programs are often called 12 Step Programs and they have been proven to be very useful. One of the many benefits of these programs is that you will make many friends that you can talk with about your addiction. During these 1 hour meetings you will often hear testimonies from other problem players. They will talk about their problem and how they managed to overcome their addiction. Learning methods other people have used will often help you to learn what works best. In many 12 step programs they will talk about God most often, and that can turn some people off. In this case a person may otherwise choose therapy as an alternative to meetings.

These are the most popular methods problem gamblers have used in quitting their addiction. You can also consult toll-free hotlines in your country, just do a search on the internet for the phone numbers in your area.


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