Below is a set of guidelines that will help to limit the money and time spent on gambling to try to keep it an enjoyable hobby and not a harmful habit.
1. Set financial limits
Understanding how much you can play with is imperative. Many sites stress that gambling is a form of entertainment and not a way to make money. There’s a reason all those big lights in Vegas burn bright: the odds are against the player, and the house always wins. Set limits that are right for you:
- Set bet limits: for example, put no more than $10 on one bet. This stops any single outcome from depleting your bankroll
- Set deposit limits: don’t put in more than a set amount (like $100) at one time. This will stop you from playing too much money in one night
- Set monthly limits: budget how much money you have available for gambling and don’t use more than that amount in one month. You can divide it weekly if it helps, but not spending more than the set limit will keep gambling enjoyable and within your means
2. Set time limits
Casinos don’t have clocks, and betting apps like to hide how long you have been playing. Playing games is fun and losing track of time is easy. An early afternoon turns into a full day and night before you know it. ry a few of these tips to avoid over-doing it:
- Determine how long you want to gamble before you start and set a timer for that length. When the timer goes off, leave the casino or turn off the app
- Don’t stay in the casino past a certain time. Plan for dinner at 6 pm, for example, and set an alarm for that time. When it comes, stop gambling and move on to what’s next
- Set a weekly/monthly time limit and keep track of how long you gamble. You can put a five-hour weekly limit on yourself and track the time as you gamble. Once that limit has hit, stop and choose other activities for fun until the next week
3. Take some time
Intermittent breaks can help you step away and take stock of the day; how much have you spent, how long have you been there, and what are the benefits of staying or leaving? Consider several options for stepping away from gambling:
- Take a few minutes: setting a timer for every 30 minutes while gambling is a good way to stay aware of the time and clear your head. Step away for a few minutes, use the bathroom, then come back and continue
- Take a day or more: if you have been gambling several days in a row, it’s not a bad idea to step away for a day and do something else. The tables will be there again when you come back
- Take a longer break: consider a week or month away from gambling if it starts to lose some of the fun. Step away and see if you miss gambling or if you might be better off with a break from the casino
4. Avoid alcohol (and drugs) while gambling
Alcohol lowers your inhibitions and makes you let down your guard. That can be a good thing at times, but in gambling it means that you are not thinking clearly about how much you are betting or how long you have been playing.
Casinos often offer free drinks for those playing at tables, and the VIP treatment can make you feel comfortable. The extra time spent at the table will inevitably cost you more in the end when extra losses start piling up. Wait until after you are done gambling to consume alcohol or any other substances.
5. Don’t borrow money, sell anything, or do anything you wouldn’t usually do to pay for gambling
Many people with gambling addictions say they accepted money from friends and family or sold things they owned to support their gambling habit. Even worse, most of them said they stole money or did something illegal to get money for gambling.
Similar stories often exist with people addicted to drugs and alcohol, and it highlights the fact that any addiction can take hold of a person and cause them to do things they usually wouldn’t do When the thought comes to do something out of the ordinary to pay for gambling, it is a sign that a gambling problem exists.
6. Seek help as soon as you think you might have a problem
Admitting you have a problem is one of the hardest things you will ever do, but there are many resources available to help those who struggle. The stigma of addiction is being lessened all the time, and people can feel comfortable reaching out for help with any problem they have.
Seeking help for a gambling addiction is no different than drugs or alcohol, and most people cannot defeat their demons alone. We will look at how and where to get help below.
Lastly, bookmakers and their apps share in the responsible gambling of their users. Sites and apps have entire Responsible Gaming sections dedicated to helping players out. BetMGM, for example, has sections on how to game responsibly, how to play the games offered, how to tell if there are gambling issues, and resources on where to find help. There are also options on most sites to limit your deposits, bets, and time spent gambling.