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How to stop a gambling addiction

In recent years, since the introduction of online gambling and betting via mobile phones, gambling addiction has evolved further into the public eye.

No longer do you have to walk into a bookies and physically place a bet. Betting online has never been easier and, like most things in modern society, can be done on the go.

Sounds great, right? Not if you’re struggling with a gambling addiction. The immediate accessibility of betting online via smartphones, tablets and laptops makes it extremely difficult to avoid gambling websites and apps altogether.

Such ease of availability has changed the landscape of the ‘how to stop a gambling addiction’ issue. If the question has changed so dramatically, the answers and solutions must continue to evolve.

As ever, Port of Call are on hand to offer guidance and help on gambling addictions and look into the steps required to overcome this very real problem.

Let us take a look at those very steps.

Acknowledging your gambling addiction

As is the case with all addictions, the first step is accepting that you are in fact addicted.

If you find yourself betting more than you can afford to lose and gambling with larger sums of money in a bid to experience the same rush, then you are likely addicted to gambling.

Problem gamblers are known for what is called ‘chasing losses’ – a process whereby they try to win back money already lost in a previous bet.

Infographic about Gambling addiction help in the UK

It is hugely important to know that you are not alone in this and thousands of people in the UK have sought help for a gambling addiction.

It takes tremendous courage to own up to a gambling addiction, particularly if you have lost large sums of money or strained important relationships along the way.

Many, many others have been in your shoes before and have been able to change their ways. You can too.

Pete was 29 when he contacted Port of Call asking for help with his compulsion to bet. From his early twenties he had always enjoyed a flutter at the bookies with his friends but, while his friends were settling down with young families, Pete continued to bet beyond his means.

Read his I have a gambling addiction story on our Port of Call blog and see just how we helped Pete in his time of need.

Emotional confliction is extremely common. In many cases, the person in question is all too aware of the negative impacts that excessive gambling is having on their lives and the lives of their loved ones. However, a lot of the time, their cravings are that strong that they are unable to resist the urge to bet.

If this sounds familiar, the next step is to accept help – a step that Port of Call can help you take.

Accepting help

If you have accepted that you have a gambling addiction and are now actively seeking help on how to stop – great! You’re already on your way to recovery.

Out of 600,000 problem gamblers in the UK, only 5% seek help for their addiction and only 1% get the necessary treatment.

By accepting help, you’ve already taken a step that so many before you have failed to do and you’re well on your way to a life away from gambling addiction.

As is the case with most addictions, there isn’t a quick fix when trying to quit gambling. If you are concerned that your habit is spiralling out of control, make us your Port of Call by contacting our team of highly trained and dedicated professionals on 0800 002 9010.

Treatment is absolutely possible. We’ve seen it so many times before and wish to assure you that there is a way to take back control.

Take a read of our dedicated gambling addiction page to find out exactly what Port of Call can do for you.

Call today for free & confidential advice on 08000029010 (International: +44 161 674 9049)

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Keeping quit 

For many problem gamblers, quitting isn’t the most challenging part. Staying in recovery is often the biggest challenge.

As we touched on earlier, the Internet has made gambling far more accessible, in turn making relapse more likely.

With that in mind, it is even more important to understand how to resist the urge to place bets and to recognise your triggers.

For many problem gamblers, the reasons for betting can range from any of the below.

  • To provide excitement and get an adrenaline rush
  • To numb unpleasant feelings and problems
  • Boredom or loneliness
  • To wind down
  • To solve money problems

Identifying alternatives is of paramount importance. Take a look at some of our suggestions below and try to list your own substitute activities.

  • Partake in a sport or a challenging hobby
  • Socialise with loved ones or friends
  • Find a new passion
  • Exercise – as little as 15 minutes can relieve stress
  • Challenge yourself

Keep your list in mind throughout your recovery and continue to keep yourself busy and occupied.


If you have related to any of the above and feel that you would benefit from speaking to an adviser at Port of Call, then please do get in touch.

We would also highly recommend that you read up further on gambling rehab and how effective it can be.

Remember, no one wins when you gamble with your future.

About the author: Martin Preston

Martin is our Founder and Chief Executive. Martin is himself in long term recovery and started Port of Call to help families navigate treatment options. In 2020 Martin will open Delamere Health Ltd, the UK’s first purpose built addiction treatment clinic.

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