Gambling is supposed to be a fun form of entertainment – nothing more and nothing less. The key to continuing to let the fun happen is making sure that you are practicing responsible gambling. While it doesn’t take much to stay on the right path of responsible gaming, it also doesn’t take much for you to get knocked off course and go down a bad road.
Below, we’ve put together a list of the most important tips you need to make sure you’re gambling responsibly. We’re not giving these to you to try and squash your fun or sound like your parents giving you a lecture.
We’re giving you these tips to make sure you have the most fun possible when gambling. Sports betting can certainly be a long-term fun activity as long as you don’t ever let it get out of hand and you practice responsible gambling.
The number-one rule of responsible gambling that you need to take into all of your gambling endeavors is to only bet what you are willing to lose. The second you start overextending what you are putting on the tables is the second that you start heading down that bad road we were alluding to.
While you should always be positive and hope to win when you start gambling, you should also be realistic. The casino is always going to have the edge, which means, in the long run, that they are going to come out the winner. This means that the only way you can expect to win is by thinking you can defy math, which we assure you that you cannot.
Stick to betting money that you are okay losing. Do not bet money that you need to pay your bills, buy groceries, or anything else that is important to your livelihood. Gambling is a form of entertainment, and you should only be betting money that you normally would be using for entertainment.
With the exception of some talented sports bettors and poker players, gambling should never be considered a way for you to make a living. In fact, if you ask those talented bettors and players, they’ll tell you that they aren’t gambling. For the rest of us who are recreational bettors or prefer to play slots or casino table games, gambling should NEVER be used as a way for you to make money.
As we mentioned in the above tip, you cannot beat the math. The casino will always win out, in the end, no matter what. Gambling will never be a source of income no matter how hard you try to make it one. Keep your normal job and use gambling as a form of entertainment – nothing more and nothing less.
Gamblers have a really bad habit of lying to themselves. They come up with creative reasons that certain losing sessions didn’t count, or they seem to accidentally forget those sessions altogether. They convince themselves that they’re just on a bad run and things are going to turn around. While this all will go a long way to make you feel better in the short term, it will be detrimental to you in the long run.
When the math catches up with you, you’re going to realize that you’re in a much worse situation than you let yourself realize. Don’t let this happen. Be honest with yourself from day one. This means that you have to accurately track every session you play and track every single win and loss. This is especially important for people trying to make it as a professional poker player or sports bettor (the only two things in the casino where it’s possible to win long term). Responsible gambling requires brutal honesty no matter how ugly the picture might be.
Do not lie to yourself to keep your dream alive. The best advice we can give here is to keep a notebook or an Excel spreadsheet with your session statistics. Remember, every single session counts no matter what.
The fact you were drunk or that you say you weren’t playing your best are not reasons to exclude a session from your stats. Everything counts. This will give you a much more realistic view of how you are doing and how much you are actually winning or losing, not just what you are telling yourself. Numbers don’t lie.
One of the most tempting things to do when you’re gambling is to chase your losses. It can seem like all you have to do is bet a little bigger one more time, and you’ll make all of your money back. The problem is that this may work all the way up until the time that it doesn’t work, and you no longer have any money.
You’ll find yourself having to bet larger and larger amounts to try and get even, which means you’ll need more money than you have in your bankroll. You’ll tap into money that you shouldn’t be gambling with, and when you lose, you’ll be tempted to go even deeper in the hole. It is a vicious downward spiral that you want no part of. Once it starts, it’s hard to turn off.
Never chase losses. Responsible gambling requires discipline, and it becomes the most important when you are losing. The next tip on our list will help you a lot with this.
How do you prevent yourself from going down that downward spiral of chasing losses we were talking about? You set yourself limits. Decide before you start playing how much you are comfortable losing. When you start playing, if you lose to your limit, you stop playing. You don’t try and play one more hand or one more pull to get even. You stop.
You see, setting a limit is the easy part of the equation. Most people that have problems with gambling are great at setting limits for themselves. What they struggle with is following their own limits. When they aren’t playing and aren’t in the heat of the moment, it’s easy to be responsible. The problems come when you’re down and want to get even. The excitement of the tables and the temptation to give it one more go are powerful and can be devastating to responsible gambling.
You have to be able to stick to your own limits that you set. If you’re not able to, then you shouldn’t be anywhere near a casino or gambling site until you can get that under control.
There are a lot of people that love to throw a few brews back when they are gambling. While there is certainly nothing wrong with this, you need to understand the risks. For some people, when they get intoxicated or under the influence of drugs, they stop making rational decisions. They start feeling invincible and convince themselves they can do anything they want.
When you’re gambling, this mindset is dangerous. You’ll find yourself making bigger bets than you normally would, playing wilder than you ever would sober, and throwing your limits and rules to the wind.
We completely understand that gambling is a social form of entertainment that sometimes involves partaking in some added fun. We’re not saying this isn’t okay. What we’re saying is that you need to honestly analyze yourself and make sure that you aren’t going to have problems when your rational thinking starts to go. A lot of people are able to handle the two together with no problems, but some people struggle.
If you struggle, that’s okay. You just need to make sure that you never mix the two. You can certainly still drink, and you can certainly still gamble. Just make them separate activities to keep yourself and your bankroll safe.
One of the worst things that you can ever do is gamble while you’re upset or depressed. When your emotional status isn’t great, you’re not in the right frame of mind to make sound decisions. People who are upset tend to think that gambling and winning will make them feel better.
The problem is that when they start losing, they get more upset. When they get more upset, they start betting more and chasing that win even more aggressively.
This is another downward spiral that never ends up well and has no place even in the same discussion as responsible gambling. The person almost always ends up losing, and they never end up feeling better. In fact, they end up feeling worse. If you’re upset or depressed, stay away from the casino. Don’t worry because it’s not going anywhere. When you’re feeling better, you can certainly go back and start playing again.
Make sure also that you constantly evaluate your emotional state while you’re playing, especially if something happens or if you start losing. Some people will start their session happy as can be, but they’ll gradually get more upset if they start losing or if they get a phone call or text from someone that upsets them.
If you find yourself gambling and getting upset, just stop playing. There is nothing that says you have to keep playing. Finish out your current hand, pick up your chips, and walk away until your mood fixes itself.
Sometimes the toughest thing to do for a lot of people is to ask for help. It can be especially tough when it comes to gambling because people are slow to realize they have a problem. If you think for even a second that you might have a problem or if friends and family have said to you that they think you have a problem, you probably could use some help.
Even if you don’t actually have a problem, what’s the worst that could happen? You talk to someone, you find out you’re all good, and you get back to gambling. But if you really do have a problem, you’re going to save yourself before you hit rock bottom. So many problem gamblers say they wish they had reached out for help before they got to the bottom.
The problem, though, is that it can seem embarrassing or be an ego hit to ask for help. We’re here to tell you that it’s okay to ask for help. No one is going to make fun of you or give you a hard time. If they do, they’re a terrible friend who you shouldn’t want in your life anyways. Additionally, there are a lot of help resources that you can reach out to without your friends and family knowing.
If you’re interested in at least speaking to someone, we highly recommend reaching out to the National Council on Problem Gambling. They have free options to talk to them through phone, chat, or even text. Their website has all of their contact information on the top right of their homepage.
Gambling can be an extremely fun hobby, and for most people that partake, it is. For some, though, their brains and bodies are wired differently, and they struggle to keep things under control. Even those that aren’t wired differently can fall into trouble if they don’t proactively keep themselves in line.
Please, whether you’re brand new to gambling or are an experienced player, please take these tips to heart and follow them. It can save your life and make sure that gambling continues to be fun. Responsible gambling is not hard if you take a proactive approach and have the necessary discipline.