Staying in control

If you or someone you know has a gambling problem or you're worried that one might be developing, we have a few tips to bring it into line.

Be honest

Be honest

It's important that you are honest with yourself about your gambling and the harm it may be causing you or others. This may feel really hard at first but it will help you to move forward in a positive way.

It’s also a really good idea to be honest with your friends and family. It often feels good to get your concerns out in the open and they can help come up with ideas or support your plans to cut back or stop gambling. 

Some people find keeping a note of how much, how often and who they gamble with helpful as they begin to see patterns about their gambling habits. If you think this would help you, try writing down the time you gamble, the day and date; the place; who you were with; how much cash you were carrying and your net win or loss. Why were you gambling? Did your friends encourage you or were you alone? Were you bored, drunk, angry or stressed?

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Manage your money

There are a number of ways you may choose to manage your money, depending on whether you would like to cut back on your gambling, or stop altogether. Identify a plan that will work for you:

  • Set an amount that you can spend on gambling each week and withdraw only that amount
  • When gambling, take your set amount in cash and leave bank cards at home
  • Ask someone else to help manage your money
  • Give your credit and eftpos cards to your partner or someone you trust
  • Set up automatic payments for household bills and withdraw only what you need
  • Contact the Gambling Debt Helpline on and get them to arrange for you to see a budgeting adviser in your area.

Keep busy

Keep busy

It is helpful to substitute your time gambling with other activities you enjoy. Why not brainstorm a list of things you could do instead and put it somewhere to remind yourself? Spending time with friends or family is a great option, especially if you can avoid places where you may be tempted to gamble.

See the keeping busy page for loads of great ideas for staying occupied.

Banned from game lounge


Avoid gambling

It’s a good idea to avoid going to the places where you gamble or only go there with friends and family who are not gambling. If that is too tempting, you may like to exclude yourself from a venue or multiple venues.

Ban yourself

Under New Zealand law you can exclude yourself from most gambling venues, which can be a useful way of breaking gambling habits. If you identify yourself to staff at a casino or pokie machine venue as having a gambling problem, the venue operator must, by law, exclude you from the venue. This means both you and the venue operator can be fined if you enter the gambling area.

A local counsellor can help support you with the self-exclusion process. Call the Gambling Helpline for further information.

Block computer access to gambling sites

Software programmes like Safe Eyes, Secure Web, and GamBlock can be installed to block certain sites, restrict access times, and block whole categories of sites. There are also programmes that will monitor and report all activity from a computer.

Get support

Get support from others

It’s a good idea to involve your friends and family in your plans to stop or cut back on gambling. There is also a range of free and confidential counselling and support services available to help you. 

See the help and support page for more information.