How to Gamble Responsibly
Gambling can be a fun and exciting way to pass the time, but it's important to gamble responsibly.
At GamblingPedia, we want you to enjoy gambling. When used in the right way, betting sites and casinos are a great source of entertainment. From online slot machines to blackjack, there are plenty of thrills at your fingertips. Plus, you can earn a nice bit of profit on the side if you're lucky!
However, many people develop a gambling problem if they don't gamble responsibly. On this page, we give you our top tips for practicing responsible gambling. We then offer some signs that gambling is becoming an issue and how you can take back control. Stay in the know and betting can and will be a great pastime.
Top Tips for Responsible Gambling
1. Treat Gambling as Entertainment
Gambling is a form of entertainment, but it is easy to forget this. The ability to win money online makes it hard to see casinos and betting sites as pure fun. Yet switching to this perspective is key for gambling responsibly.
Try to think of playing online slots or table games the same way you would about purchasing a movie ticket. You are paying for the thrill, experience, and enjoyment. Any money you get from winning games is just a perk, and any lost money isn't lost at all; it's what you paid to have a great time online. This can help you make wise decisions with your money and help you to walk away from the game at the right time.
2. Set a Money Limit
Setting limits on your spending is crucial when gambling responsibly. A money limit will help you keep control of how much you are spending. The size of this budget of course depends on the size of your bank account. As general guidance, you should only ever gamble with money you can afford to lose. And never borrow money from other people for gambling! This can lead to debts that you may struggle to pay off.
We also recommend using casino sites that let you set deposit limits. This means you won't be able to go over your budget even if you try. If you gamble all your money, you have to wait until next week or next month to spend any more. Doing so should encourage you to spend your money wisely and make the most of what you do have, rather than frittering it away.
3. Set Limits on Time
Setting time limits can also help to limit how much money you spend. Yet they are also crucial in ensuring gambling doesn't take over other areas of your life. A time limit prevents gambling from becoming anything more than a recreational hobby. It ensures you still have time for other hobbies and work and prevents gambling from becoming your sole focus.
How much time you set is up to you. Set time limits that let you live like normal. We recommend only gambling in your spare time. Also, make sure you take regular breaks. It can be easier to get so absorbed in winning and losing that you forget! Set timers in advance and stick to them.
4. Only Gamble on Games You Understand
Too many people gamble on games they don't fully understand. If you want to avoid problem gambling, you need to understand the rules and odds of the casino game you're playing. This doesn't necessarily mean you should only play at the game with the best odds. Rather, it will help you make wiser decisions in whatever game you play.
The same is true for sports wagering. The more you know about the event you're betting on, the wiser your bet will be. This can help to minimise your losses and maintain better control over your finances. Plus, it means your bankroll will last that bit longer.
5. Additional Gambling Tips
The four tips above are our best advice for responsible gambling. They help you to remain in control of your money and time. Remain disciplined and you shouldn't run into any issues. Here are just a few other tips that can help you gamble the right way:
- Never chase losses when you gamble, as the casino always wins
- Always quit playing while you're ahead, even if luck is on your side
- Never borrow money from friends or family to gamble with
- Avoid gambling when under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol
- Never fall for the gambler's fallacy that previous outcomes influence the next
- Balance gambling with other hobbies and activities
- Avoid becoming superstitious and remember the outcome is down to luck
- Never gamble when feeling in a low mood or depressed
What is Problem Gambling?
Knowing how to gamble responsibly is key to enjoying gambling. This can prevent problems from arising. Yet gambling is highly addictive and what was initially meant as entertainment can turn into problem gambling. This is especially true if you're a vulnerable player, such as:
- Someone with alcohol dependency
- Someone with an addictive personality
- Anyone under the legal gambling age
- Someone on medication that impairs judgement
- Someone undergoing stressful situations
What that being said, anyone can develop gambling problems. Problem gambling is defined as betting that disrupts other areas of your life. Examples could include relationships with friends and family, career paths, or recreational pursuits. It is usually characterised by an excessive impulse to gamble. Players with problems often have other negative emotional side effects and behavioural changes, such as anxiety, depression, excessive anger, or irritability.
How to Identify If You Have a Gambling Problem
It is important you spot the signs of gambling problems so you can put the right boundaries in place. Below are some of the signs that gambling is starting to negatively impact your life and emotional state:
- You constantly think about gambling all day
- You are borrowing money from others just to fund gambling
- You lie to friends and family about your gambling habits
- You are gambling with money needed for rent and bills
- Your gambling stakes are too high for your bankroll
- You are gambling to pay off bank account debts
- You have quit work or lost interest in other hobbies to gambling
If you think this sounds like you, it is wise to avoid gambling for a while. You should also seek out emotional support and further advice on gambling responsibly.
How to Stop Gambling Online
If you think you do have a gambling problem, you'll want to stop (or at least limit) your gambling habits. Yet this is easier said than done. Betting can be extremely addictive and hard to quit completely. Below you'll find our best advice on taking back control.
1. Admit You Have a Gambling Problem
The first step in regaining control is to admit you have a gambling problem. This is never an easy thing to do. Most people will feel a pull from two sides. One said is telling you that gambling is fun and encouraging you to squander more money. The other more rational side is telling you that is taking control of your life and you need help.
Once the rational part of your brain takes over, you can then start taking back control.
2. Join Support Groups
Your next step would be to seek professional help. There is no shame in admitting you need help; people all over the world are going through the exact same thing as you. With the help of professionals, you're giving yourself the best chance of overcoming your gambling problems quickly. Below are some links to gambling support you might find useful:
3. Spend Gambling Time Doing Something Fun
If gambling has taken control of your life, it can feel suddenly empty when you stop betting. Make sure you are spending this time on other activities that you love. Or many people find it fun to choose an entirely new hobby altogether. This can help to keep you busy and distract from the feelings of withdrawal.
Many people turn to meditation or yoga as this helps to relax the mind. Physical activities are also a great choice. During exercise, the body releases endorphins which help us feel happy. This can help to counteract the feelings of guilt and anxiety.
4. Block Your Access to Gambling Sites
For anyone struggling to avoid gambling, block your access to gambling sites. All the best casino sites will offer self-exclusion options through GAMSTOP as part of their responsible gambling policy. They help you stay in control as you cannot physically access the casino. They don't just block you from one casino either, they stop you from accessing hundreds.
Although you cannot “block” land-based casinos, it is best to avoid them. If the temptation is there, it can be hard to say no! If you have any friends that are recreational gamblers, try to avoid hanging out with them while you work on your issues.