Help for people with gambling addictions – and their families

Use These 8 Tips to Have Fun and Stay Safe Whilst Gambling

Gambling is a fun, social activity that can reward you with a bit of extra cash- however, the coin can flip and it can take you down some dark roads that are hard to turn back from and can even end up ruining your life in extreme scenarios. Use these tips to help gambling stay a fun and safe activity!

1) Don’t Gamble To Make Money

Gambling is a great social activity that can help you to meet new people, encourage you to travel to new places and is great fun- if you’re good at it, you can win rewards, which are often cash rewards, which is a massive bonus. However, you should never play with the intention of making money from it. The moment you stop playing for fun and start playing because you’re dependent on the cash is the moment you need to take a step back and realise a problem may be forming. You should be gambling for your own entertainment and that is all.

2) Have a Money Limit When Playing

Each time you gamble, go out with a set amount of cash. Do not take any cards or a cheque book with you. Once your money is gone, it’s gone and your night is over. Having “endless” money at your hands can cause serious problems, so leave the cards at home to avoid this situation! If someone offers to lend you money so that you can continue to play, always decline. Not only do you need to be able to restrict your gaming as it is, you do not want to end up in debt to other people. If you’re playing online then look for casinos that pride themselves in their responsible gaming guidelines and offer the ability to set playing limits.

3) Gambling Shouldn’t Be Your Only Hobby

You should enjoy other activities in your free time alongside gambling. If you find you’re giving up other hobbies and activities in order to spend time gambling, or if you’re doing nothing but gambling, you may have a problem. Keep a healthy balance of leisure activities available to you and make sure you are gambling in moderation. If you find you’re missing gambling, try other activities that are similar but don’t have the same risks of becoming an addiction- board games that allow you to keep rolling dice and win, learn some magic tricks so you can use cards.

4) Gambling Isn’t Therapy

Do not use gambling as a way to escape problems at home, problems at work or any other problems in your life. This can be how an addiction forms and is unhealthy. Gambling should always be done for fun and entertainment and if it’s not being done for those reasons, you probably shouldn’t be doing it. If you think you’re using gambling as an escape, talk to somebody, be that a friend, loved one or a professional.

5) Don’t Spend Money You Don’t Have

Gambling should be for fun, and if you begin to lose a lot of money or spend money you don’t have, you may end up in a very unhappy and stressful situation which can not only put a strain on you but on others around you too, especially if you have a family. Especially in the world of online gambling, people tend to forget they are using real money which can be spent in just a matter of clicks. Don’t spend what you don’t have.

6) Set a Time Limit

It is so easy to get lost in the world of gambling and completely lose track of time- this can be unhealthy and can lead to a lot of money being spent, particularly money you don’t have. Make sure to set an alarm on your phone or watch that indicates the end of your playing time or ask somebody that you’re with to give you regular time updates and tell you when your game time is up.

7) Take Breaks Regularly

This is relevant in two scenarios- in a casino or online, take regular breaks to use the bathroom, watch a TV program, eat, read a chapter from a book, go outside for a brisk walk, anything that reminds you of the time and place that you are in! You should also take breaks from gambling regularly- continuous gambling can lead to an addiction, so try taking every other month off from gambling, or every other week.

8) Don’t Gamble When You’re Upset, Angry or Depressed

If you’re not in a good mood, don’t gamble. Do not use gambling as a way of “cheering up”. This creates an association with your brain that when you’re unhappy you need to gamble, and this can bring on an addiction which can be very difficult to overcome.

Don’t be scared to gamble because it can be a good way to have fun- just make sure that you are completely certain of the risks that come with it and make sure that you play responsibly.