How can Financial Counselling Help?

It is common for problem gamblers to get into difficulties with debt. This can also cause problems for their families.

BetSafe recommends that problem gamblers and family members who have debt problems seek help from an accredited financial counsellor.

Each State and Territory in NSW has accredited financial counsellors who are accredited by their State association. These financial counsellors are able to provide the following services:

  • Budgeting
  • Negotiation with creditors
  • Information about the options available to people in financial difficulty and the advantages and disadvantages of each
  • Help with accessing hardship and relief programs offered by creditors, utilities etc.
  • Impartial information about all the options available to avoid declaring bankruptcy
  • Assistance in applying for bankruptcy if that is the inevitable

How is financial counselling different to gambling counselling?

Financial counselling assists people to overcome their debt problems by:

  • Understanding their financial situation
  • Providing information about managing debt
  • Identifying the options available for responding to their debt problems
  • Assisting the debtor with their chosen plan including negotiating with creditors

Gambling counselling assists people with gambling problems to:

  • Understand why they have a gambling problem
  • Develop skills to overcome their gambling problem
  • Deal with personal beliefs, concerns, attitudes that are related to their gambling problem.

In most cases, people with gambling problems and financial problems should seek both gambling counselling and financial counselling from different counsellors. The methods of gambling counselling are based on psychology, whereas financial counselling is focused on achieving practical financial outcomes.

Specialist financial counsellors

In some States such as N.S.W. there are financial counsellors who have specialist expertise in assisting problem gamblers and family members of problem gamblers who have debt problems. Where possible, we recommend that you contact the agencies that specialise in problem gambling financial counselling. Usually they have shorter waiting times than generalist financial counsellors.

What about the advertisements for debt administrators?

There are also businesses that offer assistance for those struggling with debt for a fee, such as debt administrators. We recommend that before seeking services from these commercial providers, you find out what it will cost and whether fees are only payable on success or even if the business is not able to get a debt agreement etc. approved.

Case Studies


Suzanne got into financial difficulty after a relationship ended and she found herself going to the club every day after work. She was gambling all her pay and living on her credit cards. Eventually things came to a head when she was unable to find the money to get her car registered. She contacted a gambling counsellor who arranged a series of counselling sessions to help her control her gambling. When Suzanne referred to her debt problems as a reason why she couldn't sleep at night, the gambling counsellor referred Suzanne to a financial counsellor.
The financial counsellor contacted Suzanne's creditors and explained her circumstances. The creditors agreed to stop demands for payment, and the financial counsellor arranged for Suzanne to pay off the credit card debts by affordable payments each fortnight.


Bill would go to the pub and gamble during his lunchhour and sometimes after work. Over the years he had incurred lots of gambling debts and eventually decided to see a gambling counsellor and do something to stop gambling. The gambling counsellor asked Bill to see a financial counsellor about the debts and helped him to change his lifestyle so that he could stop gambling.

The financial counsellor assisted Bill to consolidate his credit card debts and small loans into one consolidation loan. Bill learnt how to set a budget and was able to afford the consolidation loan that had a lower rate of interest than all the small debts. Eventually Bill paid off the loan and was surprised at how much money he was able to save by not gambling.


Rose's husband had a serious gambling and she had agreed to remortgage their home a number of times to cover his gambling debts incurred on credit cards. Eventually her husband lost his job and the bank repossessed the home. The husband finally agreed to see a gambling counsellor and stop gambling. Rose went to a financial counsellor who assisted her in sorting out the mess of debts. After the home was sold there was still a lot of money owing and Rose and her husband decided that the best thing would be to declare bankruptcy. The financial counsellor assisted them in completing their bankruptcy papers. Rose felt better after filing for bankruptcy because she stopped getting phone calls and letters from creditors.

Finding a financial counsellor

Please see our Financial Counselling section for a list of specialist financial counsellors throughout Australia who can help problem gamblers and their families.

Note that some States have restrictions on who is eligible (eg income or locality). The contacts will be able to advise you on what is available.

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