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Are pokies addictive?

For certain people, pokies can be addictive. Problem gamblers find slots games heavily addictive due to its simplicity and speed of play – being able to know your limits and sticking to them makes the difference between a regular punter who healthily indulges in leisure gambling and someone who bets beyond their comfortable limits.

It’s important to know when your betting is becoming more than the occasional flutter. Steps you can take to discourage obsessive behaviour and resolve an addiction to pokies are aplenty; we’re not here to lecture you, but to inform you on what exactly makes online and land-based slots so addictive, and some signs of needing a break.

What Makes Pokies Addictive?

Not everyone is prone to pokies addiction, and there are few studies done on what hooks someone on the slots machines to the extent where someone’s play on the pokies causes serious problems in their life. Anecdotally, the following most typically contributes to a recurring pokies addiction:

  • A big win when you first start playing. A significant win on one of your first few spins on the slots can give you a distorted idea of the payout rate on slots machines.
  • If you find it comforting to play the pokies. If you find comfort in pokies this could be a red flag for a possible future problem. To be a healthy activity gambling should be treated as a leisure activity for fun; if you’re playing with real money when you have other stresses in your life you are more likely to play with more than you’re comfortable losing. When something traumatising happens in your life that’s the worst time to turn to the pokies.
  • If pokies are a form of escapism for you. Many problem gamblers describe pokies as so immersive they can escape reality. If pokies cause you to lose grasp of the reality of how much time and money you’re spending on the pokies, it can quickly become a harmful habit.

Ultimately, though, it’s hard to say what exactly makes pokies addictive for some people. Circumstances vary from person to person, as well as triggers. However, it is important you’re able to identify problem gambling.

Signs You Are Addicted To The Pokies

These are key warning signs that you may have a gambling problem, or be on the way to one:

  • If your friends and/or family think you have a gambling problem. These are people in your life who want the best for you. If they think you have a problem look into it.
  • If you hide when you play the pokies. When you feel the need to hide your pokies play it’s likely that it’s not harmless.
  • If playing the pokies makes you unhappy. The pokies should be a fun activity. If you’re leaving unhappy you’re probably spending more time and more money on them than you should.
  • If pokies are disrupting the rest of your life. Even for regular punters who indulge in pokies a safe amount, gambling should always be a relatively small part of your life.
  • If you can’t stick to your limits. This is the most important sign of a problem. Before a pokies session any player should set themselves an amount of money they’re comfortable losing and a time limit on how long they’re going to play for. If you can’t abide by the limits you set yourself before playing it’s likely you’re developing a problem.

How To Steer Clear Of A Pokies Addiction

Know your limits and stick to them. Don’t overstep your pokies budget and don’t spend longer playing than you should. If you’re having a bad day don’t use pokies to make yourself feel better. This can be a very harmful habit that’s hard to get out of.

It’s also important to hold off going to a casino venue if you feel you are developing a problem. If it comes down to it, don’t be embarrassed or too proud to seek out the appropriate help. Sometimes all it takes is someone listening.

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