Having mixed feelings, like frustration or anxiety, when playing or thinking about gambling can be early signs that you may need to look at your gambling more closely. If it’s gone from something you do for fun to something that makes you feel anxious or just not quite right, it might help to know there are many options available to you to support your desire for change. Remember, you are not alone.

Know the signs

Being aware of these signs can help you recognize when it might be a good time reach out.

Feeling guilty, anxious, frustrated, or worried about your gambling

Experiencing extreme highs from gambling wins, and extreme lows from gambling losses

Getting irritated more easily or having less patience when dealing with normal everyday activities

Thinking or talking more than usual about gambling

Gambling more in order to win back losses

If these signs sound familiar, it might be time to think about your gambling and consider reaching out to someone.
You can also see how your gambling measures up by taking this short quiz.

What You Can Do to Change Your Gambling Behaviour

  • Talk to Someone

    Make it real by just saying it out loud. Reach out to someone, whether it’s a friend or family member, or even anonymously to a counsellor, an online peer support group, or a doctor. Talking to someone about your feelings can help you strengthen your commitment to change.

    Tips for Starting a

    • Take a deep breath.
    • Tell them what you’re experiencing, and how they can help support you.
    • If you’d prefer an anonymous conversation, The Ontario Problem Gambling Helpline is available 24/7 and can connect you to free professional support.
    • Want to share your experience with someone online? Visit GamTalk for online support, and connect with people who have been through this before.
    • You can also have a conversation in person by talking to a PlaySmart ambassador at any PlaySmart Centre across Ontario. Ambassadors can provide you with immediate assistance and referrals if you have questions about your gambling.
  • Be Aware of How Much You Have to Spend

    What are the limits you can live with? How much could you lose and still wake up the next day feeling as good as the day before? Set an amount you wouldn’t feel bad about losing in a session. When you hit your limit, walk away.

    If you want to see where you stand, BetCheck can help you see how your gambling compares against others.

  • Be Ready to Accept Losses

    If you lose money, don’t try to get it back by going over the loss limit that you set. Continuing to play in the hopes of winning it back usually leads to even bigger losses. Walk away before you get in any deeper.

  • Be Aware That You Will Lose More Money Than You Win

    Thinking of gambling as a way to make money is a risky way to play. The bottom line is that gambling establishments like land-based casinos and online gambling sites are set up to take in more money than they pay out. So, over time, you will lose more money than you win. People who have issues with their gambling hold the false belief that they’re due for a big win.

  • Protect Your Finances

    There are steps you can take to protect yourself financially, and even a small change can help. Some people detach their bank PIN from their credit card so they avoid making cash withdrawals, or even just leave their credit card at home. If you want to limit the amount of cash you have access to, consider updating your bank accounts to have wages automatically deposited into your account, having a daily limit, or requiring a co-signer for withdrawals. Some people go as far as destroying debit cards or personal chequebooks, so they won’t be tempted.

Tips for Managing Online Gambling++

  • Only use trusted gambling websites that have pre-set limit features.
  • Think about your limit in advance. Reputable online gambling sites let you monitor your spending, so you know if what you’re spending is inline with your budget.
  • Be realistic about risky times when you might gamble more than you budgeted.
  • Be aware of your limits for alcohol and other substances while you gamble.
  • Read the fine print about the costs of using your credit card when you play.
  • You can block sites you don’t want to have access to on your own or by using software.
  • QUIZ

    Check in with yourself.

    Are you wondering how your gambling habits measure up?

    This short quiz will give you a better idea of where you stand.


    It will only take 2 minutes.