How to play responsible gambling?
Whether it’s playing the lottery, playing poker, betting, or bingo, any activity that involves taking a risk for the thrill of the pay-off counts as gambling. It is possible to enjoy these activities without it becoming a problem; the key is moderation. When gambling begins to take over your life – using up a lot of your time or money, leading to a dependency – it is no longer being enjoyed in a healthy way.
To gamble responsibly, you must make an effort to maintain control over your expenditure, enjoying it as part of a balanced lifestyle, rather than letting it become the main activity you dedicate your time and money to. Of course, this is easier said than done, and many people struggle with gambling addictions, however there are some steps that you can take to keep your gambling under control:
1. Decide how much you will spend before you start playing
Set a limit on your spending, before you start gambling, based on how much you can afford to lose. When that money runs out, the activity is over.
2. Only gamble with your disposable income
Set money aside for gambling as you would for other entertainment activities. If you wanted to go to the cinema one week, you would set the money aside after paying your bills and anything else you are financially responsible for, do the same with gambling.
3. Do not try to win back what you’ve lost
Your limit is the limit. Trying to win it back defeats the point of setting it, and will almost always lead to a bigger loss.
4. Limit your time
You would not lose a whole day just to go and see a movie, you’d fit it into your schedule. Set a limit or alarm and when your time ends, cut your losses.
5. Do not view gambling as a way to make money
Very few people make money from gambling, and it absolutely cannot be relied upon. View it as something you pay for to have fun, not something you expect to gain from.
6. Do not take your bank card with you
This will stop you spending money spontaneously instead of sticking to your limit.
7. Do not gamble when you’re upset or depressed
Just as drinking alcohol for fun on a night out is very different to drinking to drown your sorrows, gambling for fun is very different to gambling to console yourself. It is indicative of an unhealthy relationship with gambling (using it as a vice), and will usually lead to poor decision-making.
8. Engage in other activities
Gambling should not be the only thing you enjoy, and if you get to that point you probably don’t really enjoy it anymore. Make sure you always have other pastimes to turn to.
9. Take regular breaks
It’s easy to get sucked into gambling and lose all sense of time. Take regular breaks to keep you thinking clearly.
10. Do not gamble under the influence of alcohol or drugs
These substances impair your judgement, making it much harder to maintain control.