Don’t regret the season

Friday, 31 October 2014
A man cheering at a horse

If you're one of the 330,000 people heading off to Flemington racecourse over the next week for the Melbourne Cup carnival, I hope you have a great time soaking up the atmosphere and enjoying the occasion with friends or family. But if you're one of the hundreds of thousands of regular and sometimes excessive gamblers in Victoria you might need to brace yourself for a month of regret.

The Spring racing carnival is a marvellous time in our fair city.  The roses are in full bloom at Flemington racecourse as the nation holds its breath for the world's richest handicap race on the first Tuesday in November. 

It's a time when the ladies break out the new season's wardrobe and men turn their attention to the form guide, often pretending they know a hot favourite from a bolter.

It's also the time when more people are on the punt than at any other time of the year. 

New figures from Roy Morgan Research show the number of people betting on the horses more than doubles in November and December compared to the rest of the year from around four per cent each month to 10 per cent in November and December.

This means many people only bet during the Spring racing carnival -- that's not a bad thing.  Despite the perception we're a betting nation, the reality is most of us aren't regular gamblers.  Most punters gamble responsibly, maintaining limits and not kidding themselves they're going to win big.

But among the hundreds of thousands of punters at Flemington over this week, some will be betting more than they can afford to lose.  How much more can be measured by the level of regret at the end of the day or the intensity of the post-betting argument at home. 

This November we are running our new Bet Regret campaign to highlight the difference between enjoying a recreational punt and letting it go too far. 

We are showing ordinary people talking about the emotional tumble from winning highs to feeling stupid and not being able to sleep when they inevitably lose.

Maybe you've felt bet regret after spending more than you planned?

Or maybe you're gambling more, or for longer. If you've felt anxious, guilty, or just uncomfortable after gambling. Bet regret reminds us to listen to those feelings.  It's a barometer to prevent gambling becoming a more serious problem.

That something more is highlighted in the Victorian Gambling Study conducted over four years between 2008 and 2012 which found problem gambling was a long-term condition and relapse is common. 

More than half of the people categorised as 'problem gamblers' in 2008 were still in that category four years later, according to the study.

It also showed the people who are more at risk of developing problems - the 'bet regretters' -  are those who gamble frequently on the pokies, racing or casino games. 

They're the ones who are often left wondering why they didn't just walk away.

Bet regret is reaching out to those people and letting them know that there are ways to rein it in.  Keep gambling to less than once a week, set limits on how much money and time you spend on gambling, know the odds and keep a clear head about your chances of winning.

At we have the Regret-o-Meter where you can take a look at what your gambling is costing you.  Did you know, if you gamble $100 a week, you could save $5,200 over 12 months?  Enough to spend on a family holiday at the beach

Now, of course the Spring carnival is supposed to be fun.   You might find yourself betting more than once this week and if that's all it is, then good luck to you.  But if you find yourself feeling a bit silly and asking 'how could I be so gullible', listen to those feelings. 

Take a deep breath and take a look at and find out how you can stop those feelings leading to something bigger.

Fight for you challenge

Help self guide - A self help guide to gambling problems

This manual is designed for people who like to have a self-help guide to work through.It includes a self-assessment package and goal setting process followed by exercises to help you achieve and maintain your goals.

Read the self-help guide (PDF, 1.47Mb)