Responsible Gambling

You’ve come to the right place if you want to learn about gambling responsibly. We want sports betting and casino gameplay to be a source of fun in your life. Learn some cool tips and tricks for managing your time and money well. If you follow our advice, gambling can be something positive, an exciting hobby that’s a fun way to pass your free time. 

If you get into gambling addiction, you can put your personal life, family, relationships, and work at risk. It’s so easy to spiral out of control and go to a dark place when you’re actively gambling or betting and doing so without any boundaries or restraint. Find out how to overcome gambling addictions and get the help you need if you feel you’ve gone too far. 

We’ve also included a section that covers knowing the warning sign that someone you know is struggling with gambling addiction. Let’s get into this and learn how you can enjoy gambling in a healthy way or find the resources to help you with your gambling problems. 

What Is Responsible Gambling?

Responsible gambling is when you use gambling as a means of fun or entertainment, but you exercise control and restraint in how much money and time you dedicate to it. Shortly, we’ll go over how you can become a responsible gambler and exercise good practices that make gambling fun and safe, not stressful or risky to your mental and emotional health.

To understand responsible gambling more fully, we need to talk about gambling addictions, which is responsible gambling that’s turned on its head. Knowing what comes with gambling addiction and problem gambling can help us better understand the actions we want to avoid and the healthier gambling alternatives we want to embrace. 

Gambling Addictions

Gambling addictions are serious business. Even if the person with the addiction knows what they’re doing is bad for them, they generally cannot stop their behavior. Gambling addictions are classified as mental health conditions, but varying degrees of severity exist.

Interestingly, biological, psychological, and social factors are at play when it comes to gambling addictions. For instance, there’s the dopamine hit your brain gets when you win a sports bet or your favorite slot machine cashes out. This phenomenon alone is responsible for so much of the mess that addicted gamblers find themselves in. 

There’s also the false belief that a machine will eventually pay out after it’s delivered a long series of losses because it’s bound to, right? This twisted, impaired thinking leads many gamblers to chase their losses, hoping that a win is around the corner to make up for the previous results. 

Types of Gambling

There are three kinds of gambling we’d like to discuss. They’re in order from most to least severe. When talking about gambling addictions, we mainly refer to compulsive gambling. 

Various biological, psychological, and social factors can cause these gambling addictions. Still, responsible gambling practices can prevent people from developing these addictions and keep the impulse to gamble recklessly in check. 

How to Gamble Responsibly

Check out the best ways you can be a responsible gambler or bettor. You want to avoid several behaviors to become a stable, steady gambler who doesn’t let this leisure activity destroy your life.

Signs of Problem Gambling

If you’re struggling with a gambling addiction, seeking professional help, be it a certified counselor or psychiatrist, is best. They’re the ones who can get a complete evaluation of your situation and make an accurate diagnosis. Gambling addictions are a mental health condition and should be taken seriously. Professionals claim there are a ton of red flags that you can look for that indicate someone has a gambling addiction. These include the following:

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According to the American Psychiatric Association, you might have compulsive gambling disorder if you display at least four of these signs, but again, we don’t want you to read this list and think you’ve gotten a complete diagnosis. We aren’t professionals in this realm, and we encourage you to see someone who can actually assess and help you.

How/Where to Get Help/Support

You might be struggling with a terrible gambling addiction, and things might seem dark, but rest assured, there are plenty of resources for people who want to overcome their impulses and compulsion to gamble recklessly. Not only are there organizations and support groups for those with gambling addiction, but some also cater to family, friends, or loved ones who know someone. 

Help’s always available, but not every option will yield the best results for everyone. Some people might become involved in multiple groups to overcome strong gambling temptations. Find the right kind of help or support you need as you navigate this time in your life.

Just as there are varying levels of severity with gambling addictions, various levels of support are available. Sometimes, all that’s required for someone struggling with mild problem gambling would be a support group. Still, there’s more advanced care with professional counselors and therapists who cater to people with crippling addictions. 

Responsible Gambling FAQ

Check out some of the most common questions our readers have asked us about responsible gambling and gambling addictions.

How Common Is Gambling Addiction? 

In the United States, it’s fair to say that around 1-2% of the population struggles with dark, crippling gambling addictions. Still, there aren’t many studies or extensive research with hard numbers to ultimately support this claim. It’s enough that many resources and organizations specialize in helping people overcome these struggles. 

What Are the Negative Effects of Gambling? 

Gambling addictions can ruin your life in more ways than one. It can destroy relationships with family and friends, ruin your finances, and tax your mental or emotional health. People with gambling addictions spend most of their free time gambling, which can cause loved ones to feel neglected. And out-of-control spending on a gambling addiction can lead to bankruptcy, losing your home, or unemployment. 

Where Can I Get Help for a Gambling Addiction? 

There are a ton of resources that help people with gambling addictions or those struggling with problem gambling. These include the Gamblers Anonymous 12-step program, the National Council on Problem Gambling (and their hotline network), and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Gam-Anon helps support the loved ones of problem gamblers, and Gam-a-Teen helps the children of problem gamblers. 

Should I Do an Intervention with My Friend or Family Member? 

While interventions are typically successful in helping problem gamblers realize they need help, interventions rarely cause someone to change their behavior or overcome their addictions through sheer force of will. Interventions are recommended but are ultimately not the solution to the problem. Those with gambling addictions need to seek professional help. 

What Are Warning Signs When Someone Has a Gambling Addiction? 

You can usually tell when someone has a gambling addiction or problem because they’ll begin exhibiting the following behaviors: they ask for money to help pay bills or fund their gambling sessions, they spend all their free time gambling, and they lose interest in other hobbies or relationships, they get irritable whenever they cut back on gambling, etc. 

How Can I Stop My Gambling Addiction? 

It’s always good to see a professional counselor or therapist to get correctly diagnosed. They can determine how severe your addiction or problem may be. They might suggest only counseling, therapy, or a support group for gamblers with a firmer grasp of their habits. Still, they could offer medical treatment if they feel their addiction is rooted in something more serious, like depression. 

What’s the Difference Between Problem Gambling and Compulsive Gambling? 

Problem gamblers are in the beginning stages of a gambling addiction. They don’t appear to have a problem, and the warning signs are less noticeable. Their gambling habits might interfere with their relationships and finances, but they aren’t addicted to the point of compulsion. Compulsive gambling is where the gambler has little to no control over their impulse to gamble irresponsibly. They want to bet regardless of whether or not they are winning. 

What Are Self-Exclusion Lists? 

Gamblers can voluntarily add themselves to these lists, available on gambling websites, land-based casinos, retail sports books, and horse racing tracks. These places will keep you from entering when they see your name on the list. It’s a way for self-aware gamblers to hold themselves accountable for their actions. They can voluntarily add themselves to self-exclusion lists for periods as short as one to six months or as high as one to five years. 

How Can I Cut Back on How Long I Gamble? 

We recommend setting a gambling budget before you begin your session. You can only use this money to bet on nothing more. It keeps you from spending more than you should and should keep the length of your session to a minimum. Stick to your budget; you won’t waste time and money chasing losses.