Making a Change

Changing problem gambling behaviour is possible. And, you don’t have to do it alone. Find tips and resources to get you started.

Changing any behaviour, like changing how you gamble, isn’t always easy. Thankfully, you’re not alone.  There are steps you can take to support change and increase your chances of success. Here are a few things you can do to begin to break your habit.


1. Talk to someone

Admitting you’re struggling makes your struggle real. And when it becomes real, you can start to tackle your problem. Reach out to someone. Anyone. A friend or family member, a counsellor, an online peer support group, or even your physician. Talking about your feelings can help you strengthen your commitment to change. And, it will help you see that you’re not alone.

  • Have an anonymous conversation. In Ontario, Canada ConnexOntario is available by phone and online 24/7 and can connect you to free professional support. Not in Ontario? Find your local helpline.
  • Connect with others who have been through the same thing. Visit GamTalk for online support.
  • Find support through available online resources and apps. Gambling Therapy is a free global online service offering practical advice and support, and RecoverMe is a mobile app that uses cognitive behavioural therapy, mindfulness and different support tools to help manage urges and prevent lapses in your gambling.

2. Accept your losses

If you lose money, trying to win it back will only send you over budget. That’s because playing to win back losses usually leads to even bigger losses. Accept them and walk away.

3. Protect your finances

Leave your credit and debit cards at home. Limit the amount of cash you have access to, set a daily withdrawal limit, or set up a co-signer for withdrawals. Some people go as far as destroying debit cards or personal cheque books, to remove temptation.

4. Block online gambling websites

Adding gambling sites to your browsers restricted/red flag list will help you take control. Chrome and Firefox have extensions available that block websites. BetBlocker and GamBan are effective software programs that are designed to block online gambling sites and apps.

5. Practice self-exclusion

Self-exclusion is a tool you can use to take a break from gambling. It’s a program you enter voluntarily with an online or land-based gambling operator. You agree not to gamble for a chosen time. In Ontario, OLG’s Self-Exclusion program, My PlayBreak, is entirely confidential. No one will know about your decision to register for My PlayBreak apart from you, the program administrators, and anyone you choose to tell.

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