For most of us, taking a chance or even a small risk can be exhilarating and thrilling. Gambling games such as the lottery can take these feelings to a whole new level, making them an enjoyable pastime. However, it’s important to recognise that gambling without taking any precautions can be addictive and can negatively impact your life if you aren’t careful. This is especially true these days when gambling is easily accessible via phone and computer.
So, what can you do to avoid the negative impacts of gambling? You can start by learning how to implement responsible gambling into your life.
There’s nothing wrong with enjoying gambling, especially if you see it just as a form of entertainment. The problems start when gambling becomes more than a fun, occasional activity. At this point, gambling is less of a hobby and more of an addiction or obsession.
Not only can gambling problems hurt your finances, but they can also cause familial trouble, relationship issues, employment problems and even legal trouble. Signs that a person is experiencing a gambling problem include:
Responsible gambling does not mean that you don’t gamble — but rather that you have the necessary control over your gambling. It means that gambling doesn’t control you or negatively influence your life; you can enjoy gambling but you don’t enjoy it so much that you aren’t able to walk away when you need to.
Some people have an easier time gambling responsibly, while others find it difficult. No matter where you stand, awareness is the first and most important step to becoming a more responsible gambler. So, how do you responsibly gamble?
Gambling shouldn’t be more than a social event or a thrilling source of entertainment. Very few gamblers ever get good enough (or lucky enough) that consistent gambling becomes profitable. Don’t treat gambling as a source of income or a way to pay off debt.
Don’t gamble with the expectation that you’re going to hit the jackpot! You’ll have much more fun when you gamble if you treat the money as an expense rather than an investment. If you always expect your turn at the table to pay off, you’re more likely to chase your losses and end up losing more than you thought possible. Next time you spend money on a Powerball or an Oz Lotto ticket, treat it as an exciting ‘what-if’ rather than a guaranteed win.
One of our most important gambling tips is to only play with money that you can afford to lose. This means that you should never take money from rent, grocery or other important expenses to enjoy your game time. Additionally, you should never borrow money from friends or family and you should always leave your bank cards at home to avoid temptation.
Even if you have a fair amount of discretionary income, give yourself a limit. If you’re gambling online, this can be as easy as changing the setting to only allow a specific amount of money each time you play. If you’re going to a physical location, only take the money that you’ve limited yourself to. Again, leave the bank cards at home!
Setting a time limit is just as important as setting a money limit. Many online gambling sites allow you to set time limits as well as spending limits to ensure you aren’t spending too long at the virtual table. For physical locations, you may want to bring a friend or family member along with you who can help you know when it’s time to leave. Want to take time limits even further? Many gambling providers offer self-exclusion services that you can set up to make it physically impossible to gamble at that site for a designated period of time.
If there’s one thing that you should not do when gambling, it is to do anything that impairs your judgement. You should never drink or use drugs while gambling because they can distort your sense of reality and lead you to make bad choices you might not otherwise make. Additionally, you should never gamble under the influence of depression or other hefty emotions. Don’t turn to gambling to cope with depression, anger, anxiety or stress.
Gambling is a great social activity, and it can be fun and exhilarating, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only awesome past-time. Be sure that you augment your gambling excursions with other activities that you enjoy doing, whether that be a trek in the mountains, a bit of deep-sea fishing or something else entirely.
When it comes to responsible gambling, one of the best things you can do is take an occasional break. If you find yourself becoming overwhelmed while gambling, take a few minutes to break away by going on a walk or getting a (non-alcoholic) drink. Don’t force yourself to continue gambling just because you haven’t won yet or because no one else has taken a break. You’re more likely to make rash decisions the longer you focus on one thing.
You should always know the rules of a game before laying your money down. Even if it’s not a hefty sum, make sure you know exactly how the game works before placing a bet so that you minimise losses. Understanding the odds of the game can also help you decide whether or not you’re willing to place a bet in the first place.
If you feel as though gambling is starting to become a problem, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. Whether you choose to talk to a family member or a friend or want to find an anonymous community, getting help before a problem becomes an addiction is one of the best gambling tips we can offer.