Over the past 15 years the options for gambling in Victoria have proliferated. The pokies are everywhere and you can gamble on the net from your own home.

Gambling has been promoted as a great escape from day to day stress, and it is. It is such an effective "switch off" that it can become very addictive. It can create a trance like experience during which people find it very difficult to set limits and make decisions. The cost of problematic gambling is felt in both money and relationships, when trust is often a casualty.

Gambler's Help is a government funded service which provides a comprehensive range of services to support people affected by problem gambling (either their own or other people's).

There is no rigid entry criteria to use these services. If you feel that your gambling is problematic you are eligible. If someone else's gambling is adversely affecting you, you are eligible.

There is a 24 hour phone line: 1800 156 789 and there are counsellors all over Melbourne. These counselors are based within other services such as Community Health Centres. This allows you to use the service anonymously. You can also seek online counselling now about your decision to change, or even if you are just thinking about your options at Gambling Help Online

Victoria Responsible Gambling Foundation is the principal website outlining these services. The site also has downloadable self help material. You can also download download a self help handbook for your reference at Gamblers Help Southern