Is your gambling healthy? The line may seem blurred, but you must be able to distinguish responsible gambling from activities that might threaten your career, well-being or social life.
Understanding Responsible Gambling
If there’s one rule you ought to bear in mind, it’s that responsible betting and wagering never constitute anything more than entertainment activities. These diversions should be something you participate in primarily because doing so is its own reward.
The Importance of Self Awareness
This doesn’t mean you can’t gamble at all. Many gamblers enjoy their pastime in a constructive, rewarding manner. As organizations like the Gambling Commission note, however, the difference lies in whether you can maintain awareness of the risks and chances of losing even as you gamble for entertainment in a controlled fashion.
The Warning Signs of Irresponsibility
Of course, not every gambling enthusiast maintains this balance properly. If your gambling causes problems in other areas of your life or contributes to the emotional, mental or physical harm of yourself or another individual, it’s time to make a change.
So how do those who bet or wager with recreation make sure their activities don’t result in negative outcomes? Gamblers rely on a range of different strategies with varying success.
It’s incumbent upon each individual to keep track of their own habits and identify effective techniques for maintaining control. That being said, here are a few methods you might try:
Never Gamble to Make Money
Although this may seem counter-intuitive to many, the point of gambling should never be to win money. This is especially true when you need the money for unrelated reasons.
Those who use gambling as a form of essential income often find themselves committed to habitual gaming. Such actions may lead to unhealthy dependencies that rapidly spiral out of control.
Consider a habitual punter who counts on winning gambling proceeds to pay their electricity bills. Because this form of income is unreliable, they may jeopardize their family’s health or their credit rating. Should they lose severely enough or borrow money to wager with, they could even increase the debt they owe. The amount of time they commit to gambling may also be better spent on other endeavors, like searching for extra employment or talking to creditors about possible repayment plans.
Limit How Much Money You Wager
One of the ways people lose control of their gambling is by increasing their bet sizes. For instance, if you put a bet on with a bookmaker and win, you may think it only logical to wager more next time around. This isn’t a smart idea.
For the vast majority of people, gambling is a matter of chance, not skill. Winning once or going on a lucky streak doesn’t make you more likely to win in the future. If you bet more, you’ve simply exposed yourself to greater risk.
Place firm restrictions on how much you’ll wager for individual bets. If your gambling is a frequent activity, establish a weekly, monthly or yearly budget, and don’t exceed it. To control your spending:
- Never take bank cards to the casino,
- Make bets with cash as you diligently record how much you wager, and
- Use prepaid cards to fund your betting.
To enjoy activities like online casino gaming responsibly, withdraw your gambling funds from an independent bank account. This reduces the chances that your gambling might affect other areas of your finance and makes it easier to see how much you’re spending at a quick glance. If you make transfers from another account to your betting fund, limit yourself to doing so once a month or less.
Never Mix Gambling With Drugs or Alcohol
Drinking alcohol is known to lower people’s inhibitions. Regardless whether you have a problem with alcohol or drug dependency, using these substances while you gamble may hinder your ability to make intelligent choices. For instance, you could get caught up in the moment and bet more than you should. If you’re seriously inebriated, you may place wagers that you’d usually consider ill advised.
As drinking and drug use are major components of modern social life, it’s smart to define your own standards. If you decide to spend a night out gambling, but you’d also like to have a pint, for example, do your betting first and your drinking afterwards. Or play it as safe as possible by only gambling when you act as the designated driver for your group of friends.
Think About Who Else Your Gaming Impacts
Consider the 2016 case of one 43-year-old man with an out-of-control gambling addiction. The man stole computer equipment from the Swinton school he taught at to pay for his betting. He even posed as his flat’s landlord so that he could steal deposits from would-be renters. This incident paints a clear example of how irresponsible gaming might harm an entire community.
Even if you’re nowhere near this bad, you have the potential to affect the people around you with your gambling. In other words, that criticism you’ve received about your betting may be a warning sign of something serious, so it’s best not to ignore it.
Leave Your Ego Outside the Bookies
Don’t take your gambling performance personally. It has nothing to do your self-worth or character. If you become too mentally invested in the results, you’ll find it harder to disengage yourself and walk away.
Gambling responsibly may not come easily for everyone, and the preceding tips might not be effective or relevant to your personal situation. Remember that there’s no shame in seeking formal help. To learn more about transitioning to responsible gambling or quitting outright, talk to one of our specialists today.