Online gambling is meant to be a fun, recreational activity that you participate in during your leisure time. However, it is only a good hobby when it is done in moderation and doesn't negatively affect other facets of your quality of life. Unfortunately, online gambling addiction has been a growing problem around the world and it creates a vicious trap that is hard for victims to escape from.

The anonymity and ubiquity of online casinos fosters an environment that can only exacerbate gambling addiction. That said, breaking free is doable. We take a look at the strategies and steps that can help you or a loved one escape gambling addiction, chart a path to full recovery and eventually regain control of your life.

Strategies to Stop Gambling Online

Self-Exclusion Programs

Offered by good online casinos, self-exclusion programs allow players to voluntarily ban themselves from the site. By restricting access for a predefined period, the program creates a barrier that can help break the cycle of compulsive gambling. The nature of self-exclusion options can range from short-term limitations to indefinite bans.

Website Blockers

Website blockers are browser plugins or standalone applications that can be configured to restrict access to gambling sites. These tools create a digital hurdle by making it difficult to open online gambling websites. That way, they prevent the person from succumbing to impulsive urges. You can try out Gamban or Bet Blocker if you want to block gambling websites.

Financial Management

Establishing a gambling budget, tracking expenses and seeking financial advice are the basis of prudent financial management. Implement spending limits on the bank cards you use to fund your online casino account. Or you could set up savings accounts that are not easily accessible by compulsive spending habits including gambling.

Some banks offer their customers the option to block all transfers destined for gambling sites, acting as an extra layer of control just in case the individual gives in to temptation. Consider involving a family member or trusted friend in overseeing your spending habits and hold you accountable.

Seeking Professional Help

Professional help, through therapeutic counselling and support groups, can be a safe space for sharing experiences, receiving guidance and learning coping mechanisms.

Trained therapists can address the underlying issues contributing to addiction, offering tried-and-tested strategies for behavioural change. Support groups provide a sense of community and understanding, fostering a supportive environment for recovery. Group therapy reduces the feeling of social isolation often associated with addiction.

Building a Support Network

Friends, family and recovery groups can be invaluable allies in the journey to breaking online gambling addiction. Building a robust support network creates a foundation of encouragement, understanding and accountability. Create a tight-knit circle where you can share your struggles openly. Open communication helps in navigating the challenges of recovery and reinforces the commitment to change.

Understanding Online Gambling Addiction

Online gambling addiction occurs when an individual is unable to stop or control their gambling activities despite the negative repercussions. The gambling is no longer a pastime. Instead, it transitions into a compulsive behaviour with severe psychological, social and financial repercussions.

While no one is ever completely immune from sliding into gambling addiction, the following factors increase the risk substantially.


Accessibility is what sets online casinos apart from their traditional brick-and-mortar counterparts. The act of going to a physical casino requires some pre-planning, deliberate scheduling and then the actual movement to the venue. On the other hand, online gambling is easy to get into at a moment’s notice, no matter where you are, as long as you have your mobile phone.


Online gambling is not location specific. A player’s loved ones and social circle may not be aware when and where the person is playing from. Further, there is no face-to-face interaction between the player and the casino. Everything can happen in the shadows with no one available to hold the individual to account and keep them in check.


Much like video games, online gambling can be a person’s escape from the chaos of the world around them and the everyday challenges they have to face. The more the individual feels that gameplay provides an escape from their harsh realities, the greater the risk of falling into gambling addiction. 

Financial Pressures

Gambling comes with a potential of winning. People grappling with financial pressures may see online gambling as a viable path out of their money woes.


Winning is the apex of all game play. That exhilarating feeling of victory can gradually become an obsession. When there is an uncontrollable thirst for the thrill of winning against overwhelming odds, gambling addiction could occur.

Social Isolation

Socially isolated persons may turn to online gambling as a means to help forget about their loneliness. The more the gambling seems to be a soothing answer to their loneliness, the greater the risk they could sink into addiction.

Recognizing the Need to Stop

The biggest barrier to recovery from online gambling addiction is the failure to acknowledge the problem and the need to change. Acknowledging the problem begins with understanding some of the most defining signs and symptoms of gambling addiction. These include:

  • Inability to Stop – A player is addicted if they lack the ability to control, limit or completely stop gambling activities. As the person’s attempts at stopping are continuously unsuccessful, they are sucked into a cycle of frustration and guilt.
  • Growing Preoccupation – Addiction is characterised by an increasing preoccupation with gambling activities. It dominates the person’s thoughts and becomes their singular focus, often leading to the neglect of their home, work and school responsibilities.
  • Financial Challenges – If a player is persistently grappling with financial difficulties, their gambling is likely excessive. Often the person not only spends more money than they can afford but they proceed to deplete their savings and resort to expensive borrowing to sustain the habit.
  • Strained Relationships – A player’s social circle is often the most affected by their gambling addiction. It strains close personal relationships. The individual may grow withdrawn, secretive or defensive about their activities.

Recognizing the need to stop online gambling opens the door to seeking help, ending addiction, a sense of empowerment and embarking on a journey of self-discovery and healing. Through acknowledging they have a problem, the victim can break past their denial and start to address the root causes of the destructive habit.

Alternative Activities and Hobbies

Alternative activities and hobbies are central to filling the void left by unhealthy gambling habits. They can serve as a distraction from gambling urges, restore a sense of purpose, cultivate a routine, build a positive social circle and make the recovery journey more fulfilling.

Examples of alternative activities and hobbies include:

  • Outdoor Pursuits – Hiking, cycling, skipping, walking or jogging provide not only physical exercise and a calming change of scenery but also a dopamine lift. It’s a therapeutic counterbalance to the allure of online gambling.
  • Creative Hobbies – Exploring creative activities like painting, reading, writing or playing a musical instrument allows the person to channel their energy into self-expression and personal growth.
  • Sports and Fitness – Joining a sports club, participating in fitness classes or learning a new sport can be physically and mentally invigorating. They cultivate a sense of camaraderie and achievement.
  • Educational Pursuits – Enrolling in a new course, seminar or workshop to learn a new skill or advance existing knowledge can be intellectually stimulating, feed a constructive focus and build self-belief.

Maintaining Recovery and Avoiding Relapse

Sustaining an addiction-free lifestyle requires constant vigilance and dedication. It’s all about winning one day at a time. Some key strategies to help support lasting recovery and avoid relapse include:

  • Professional Counselling and Gambling Support Groups – Regular counselling sessions and active participation in gambling addiction support groups provide reinforcement, guidance and mutual encouragement.
  • Establishing a Positive Support System – Surround yourself with friends and family that offer understanding, encouragement and practical assistance during difficult times.
  • Financial Management – Saving, budgeting and seeking financial advice contribute to responsible financial management thereby reducing the risk of relapse.
  • Setting Realistic Goals – Establishing realistic and achievable goals provides a clear path for continued success. Small, incremental wins build self-confidence and maintain the momentum of an addiction-free life.
  • Identifying Personal Triggers – Identify and contain triggers that could lead to a relapse. These include stress or boredom.
  • Developing Healthy Coping Mechanisms – Practise mindfulness, engage in physical exercise or harness relaxation techniques to manage stress and emotional turmoil.
  • Adopting a Structured Routine – A daily routine eliminates idle time that may lead to impulsive decisions. It provides a sense of purpose and reduces the risk of a relapse.


Overcoming online gambling addiction is a challenging but achievable goal. It is a journey many have walked successfully. By understanding the nature of the addiction, identifying its root causes, recognizing the need for change and implementing effective strategies, you or your loved one can break free from its grip.

With the support of self-exclusion programs, website blockers, prudent financial management, professional help and a strong support network, the likelihood of recovery is significantly elevated. Draw on the stories of others while trusting in your own abilities. By taking these first steps towards recovery, a brighter, addiction-free future is within reach.

About the author 

Peter Clayton

Peter is one of Indivisible Gaming's developers and has been working with us since 2015. When he isn't busy working on an upcoming game, he loves writing about all the games that he has played and tested. His experience in the industry is second to none, and we are grateful to have him on our team.