Here you will find frequently asked questions by gamblers and answers to them.
1. I have got caught up in financial problems due to gambling. I have thought that I quit gambling immediately when I get a big win. I don´t see any other option how to get my messy finances and my life under control. Is there any?
Gambling problems typically narrow the thinking which makes it difficult to see all options clearly. Many wishful thoughts and believes maintain gambling problems. Familiarize yourself with the most common false conclusions, thoughts that maintain gambling and with the mathematic of gambling. Challenge your own believes! In other words, there are two alternatives in the situation:
1. You hold on to your dreams and decide to continue with the gambling. The gambling takes your money, your time, while making you depressed, anxious and prone to hide and cover up your problem. Your finances, relationships and other problems will most likely get even worse.
2. You decide to try to change your behaviour and start to sort out the problems. In that case your gambling behaviour, your finances and the rest of your life are given a chance to sort themselves out according to your wishes. The change, however, won't happen overnight. There are different useful tools and external support to help you make the change. Get familiar with the services provided by Peluuri, the crisis help and other assistance available to you.
Usually the financial problems are so complicated and one's own emotional state so low that external help is needed to get things sorted out.
2. I need help in order to stop gambling, but I don´t want to participate in face-to-face group activity. What can I do?
The services available in Finland vary regionally, but basically every municipality has to arrange treatment also for gambling problems. If the treatment isn´t offered within your own municipality, the needed services will be arranged with a financial obligation agreement from a municipality nearby.
Find out more by contacting the intoxicant or mental health services of your municipality. We at Peluuri are also happy to help with finding the right services: call us, chat to us or send your question to eCounselling if you want to know more about the services provided in your area.
3. I have gambled and lost way too much. I´m ashamed, anxious, irritated and scared. I don´t want to talk about this with anyone and no-one knows that I gamble. How do I get rid of these agonizing feelings by myself?
Feelings like shame, failure and guilt are understandable and quite natural in the situation. Guilt and anxiety is often numbed by more gambling, by drinking or by any kind of activity in order not to confront ones feelings. When a person has started to recognise his/her feelings instead of trying to escape them, the possibility for change will present itself.
The most certain way to break the circle of negative feelings is to avoid to be left alone with the problems. Look for help, encouragement and new ways to control your gambling.
Many gamblers hide their gambling problem from their loved ones for a long time because they want to sort out the problem by themselves, and they are afraid of the reactions of they loved ones. Not talking often makes the problems worse and deepens the anxiety. The fact that you have the courage to bring up the subject yourself is a sign of honesty towards yourself and your loved ones. It is also a sign that you have noticed the problem and started thinking about alternatives to change the situation.
Talking gives the people around you an opportunity to listen to you and to support you in your decision to change things, as well as to push you forward. If you however can´t yet talk about the problem with your loved ones, do you have a trustworthy friend with whom you could share this problem?
You can call the Peluuri helpline weekdays from noon to 6 p.m. to talk about anything related to gambling problems. The call is free of charge, you can choose to be anonymous and Peluuri won't get hold of your phone number or other identification information.
Together with a professional you can take a closer look at your situation and think about means that would suite you in particular. You can also chat with us on weekdays via our website.
Join a web/phone based peer support group if you rather get support from someone with experiences similar to your own.
None of the face-to-face or online services exclude each other. You can participate in all of them and try out which one is the most suited to support you in your change.
4. Can I limit the amount of money I can withdraw from my bank account? How about my telephone or internet subscription, can they be blocked for gambling?
According to our research banks don´t seem to have tools which would allow the customer to effectively control their spending. In other words, the customer does administer his/her use of money if he/she is not within the guardianship services.
However, some banks do have tools which specify on what you have spent your money. These can be helpful in planning future use of money.
What can you do yourself in order to limit your spending?
- Give up your credit card and instead get a debit card to which you can set a daily withdraw limit and block the possibility to use it as a pay card. (you can change these limitations at your online bank service). You can´t buy games at a slot machine with a debit card limited like this.
- It is useful to give up your codes for your online banking service, totally or to a loved one, especially when the gambling problem is in an acute phase. This stops you from changing your withdraw limits or from transferring money to gambling sites.
- Take care of all your obligatory payments and expenses immediately when you get money and set up direct payments for your bills.
- When it is payday, transfer money to a savings account, investment fund, a account owned by a loved one or to somewhere else from where you don´t get it immediately in use when you get an impulse to gamble.
The service providers of your telephone and internet subscriptions can block them in different ways; you can for instance prevent the browsing of certain types of websites with your device or block some service numbers (for instance payday loans). Some of these services are free of charge; some can be subjected to a charge. Ask your own service provider for more information regarding different blocking possibilities. There is also different blocking software available which block gambling sites. These programs are worth utilising in order to prevent online gambling.