Lucky 7: Top Tips for Gambling Responsibly
Gambling is a pastime enjoyed by millions of people the world over. Unfortunately, what is an enjoyable game and an occasional luxury for some becomes a problem for others; some are drawn into ever spiralling debt and misery, leading to the break-up of families, repossession and bankruptcy. It’s not inevitable that a social gambler will become addicted; here are some tips for responsible gambling.
On Holiday, Set A Spending Limit and Stick To It
The glitz and gold of a Las Vegas holiday may be daunting in encouraging you to spend, but the most important thing is to set a strict limit of your holiday money and stick to it. Factor in a sensible buffer zone for your gambling spend, assuming you can afford it, but don’t make it so much that you have to cut back elsewhere – you are supposed to be enjoying yourself. Don’t expect to win anything, but accept the possibility that you might. If you do win, set another strict limit not to go over your original budget plus the total of your winnings, preferably ring-fence your winnings for something else.
Only Spend What You Can Afford to Lose
Want to spend money on your country’s lottery every week? Having a flutter on the horses? A night out watching the dog racing? Or simply having a card game with friends? Most people have a weekly luxury budget for meals out, cigarettes and alcohol, new clothes, cinema and so on. If you include your gambling spend into your monthly luxury budget from your wages, it will never be a problem. If you have to cut back elsewhere (smoking for example) then you will rarely have to worry. The key to enjoying gambling is never letting it be a problem.
Read more: Why we like gambling so much
Another suggestion for people who gamble for fun is to be thrifty about how much they spend. Putting mere pennies / cents on a horse, the minimum spend on a roulette wheel, using slot machines with low stakes are all great ways to enjoy gambling with very little spend and very little risk while retaining all the fun. A person who enjoys gambling is often far more concerned with winning than they are with how much they win. Spending small and winning a few pounds / euros / dollars is just as exciting, if not as financially rewarding, as that coveted big win.
Don’t Think of Gambling in Terms of Profit Potential
Gambling only becomes a problem when the person gambling expects to make money from gambling. Each loss brings more anxiety about the loss, more money is spent in the hope that a big win to recuperate accumulated losses is just around the corner, and the cycle repeats. Soon, the enjoyment of gambling is lost and the gambler becomes obsessed with the profit/loss margin. Bigger stakes are made to try to win back losses, which of course will never come.
Avoid the Games of Chance
Ever wondered why professional gamblers make money from poker, baccarat and blackjack and not from the roulette wheel or slot machines? It’s because the former takes skill, the latter is pure chance. Unless the machine or wheel is rigged or faulty, everybody has an equal chance. Learning to play a card game and play it well, or learning about horse form and being astute to conditions, is a far better way to make money from gambling than slot machines could ever hope to be. If you expect to supplement income with gambling, then don’t take a chance on games of chance.
Take Cash and Hide the Cards
This applies in most situations but you cannot spend money to which you do not have access. This is a way of ensuring that you do not go over your comfortable spending limit. If friends or friends of friends offer to subsidise you, politely refuse. Spending your own money is one thing, spending somebody else’s that you may not be able to pay back in a timely manner is another thing entirely.
Never Play Under the Influence
Casinos, horse and dog racing circuits know the effects of alcohol – while it helps your relax, it also lowers the inhibitions and affects your judgement. Alcohol can be the biggest obstacle to you gambling too much. If you are going to gamble, drink little. If you want to drink, be aware of the potential pitfalls and maybe take some of the other precautions listed here to remove the possibility of over-spending.