Awareness and prevention
If you're worried about how much you're betting or about someone else's, these questions and answers might give you the info you're after.
Having a bet now and then doesn't automatically mean you'll develop a problem. But young people are more at risk because they have less experience dealing with losses and knowing when to call it quits.
Up until very recently, young people weren't exposed to gambling as much as they are now, and placing a bet wasn't as easy to do. Today everyone has a smartphone, which lets you bet anywhere, anytime. And because cash isn't always used, it's easier to lose track of wins and losses.
On top of this, a lot of advertising targets young people, especially online and on social media. It makes gambling seem like a normal, fun thing to do.
It's not. It's just extremely unlikely you will actually make money out of betting.
Everyone gets lucky from time to time, but casinos, sports betting agencies and pokie venues are all in business to make money – your money. So it's worth remembering that the odds are always in their favour! Know when to walk away.
Learn the facts about how gambling really works.
It can be OK, as long as you're aware when real money starts to be introduced. Don't be sucked into buying credits to increase your chances of winning or to move to the next level. This is when you can find yourself with huge phone or credit card bills.
Many games and betting apps promote misleading odds in your favour and pay out more in practice mode than when you're playing with real money.
You might continue winning for a little while, but practice games using fake money or credits often give better odds than games with real money.
This is to make it seem easy to win, to encourage you to play the real money games. However, once there, you get much lower odds and often play against seasoned opponents.
These sites and apps are there to make money, so it's much harder to win the real money games. The odds are always in favour of the house!
With all gambling, there's a chance you'll win and a greater chance you'll lose. This is why it can never be considered 'safe'.
However, if you do it in moderation and always within your limits, and treat it as entertainment and not a way to make money, then it can be enjoyable.
Always know your limits and when to walk away!
Poker machines are computers that use randomised mathematical programming. This means the machine will pay out prizes at random intervals, keeping a percentage of the money put into them. They're programmed to pay out less than you put into them, so the odds are you'll lose.
In Victoria the law says that each poker machine must pay back 87 per cent of the money spent on it each year, but this doesn't mean you'll get $87 back for every $100 you put in a machine – far from it!
The longer you play a poker machine, the more likely you are to lose all the money you put into it. You may have small wins along the way, but this only keeps you playing while your total amount is gradually reduced.
Call 1800 262 376 for advice and support, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It's anonymous, confidential and free.
Or chat online with a counsellor at Gambling Help Online. This service is also available 24/7.
If you are deaf, or have a hearing or speech impairment, contact us through the National Relay Service.