Following these tips can help you to stay safe if you choose to gamble.
- Is problem gambling affecting you, or those close to you? Being a compulsive gambler can harm your health and relationships, and leave you in serious debt. GamCare operates the National Gambling HelpLine and remains the first port of call for anyone experiencing problems with gambling, including family.
- According to the National Council on Problem Gambling, problem gambling affects more than 2 percent of Americans. If you have a gambling addiction, you may feel an uncontrollable urge to buy.
- If you think you may have a gambling problem, ask yourself whether you would be okay if you stopped gambling right now. If you feel anxious or as if you shouldn’t stop yet, chances are you are suffering from a gambling addiction.
- Find out if you have a gambling problem by taking our easy gambling quiz. Our test could establish if you or a loved one have the signs of gambling problem, and point you in the right direction to get help.
1. Don't think of gambling as a way to make money
The venue is using gambling to make money. It's not designed to work the other way around. Over time you will give away more money than you receive! Think of gambling as an entertainment expense – just like buying a movie ticket.
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2. Only gamble with money you can afford to lose
Gamble within your weekly entertainment budget, not with your phone bill or rent budget.
Gambling addiction is frequently seen alongside other forms of psychiatric disorders, such as depression and anxiety. 3 It is also seen frequently alongside other kinds of addictions. Just because you have a problem with gambling does not mean you are a weak-willed, irresponsible person.
3. Set a money limit in advance
Decide how much you can afford to lose before you go to play. When it's gone – it's over! If you win, you've been lucky, but don't be disappointed if your luck doesn't continue.
4. Set a time limit in advance
It's easy to lose track of time when you're gambling. Set a time limit or alarm, and when time's up – quit! Odds are that the more time you spend gambling, the more money you will lose.
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5. Never chase your losses
If you lose your set money limit and then try to win some of it back before you leave, then you haven't really set a money limit. Chasing your losses will usually just lead to bigger and bigger losses.
6. Don't gamble when you're depressed or upset
Decision-making can be more difficult when you're stressed or emotionally upset. Make sure you only gamble when you're feeling happy and clear headed.
7. Balance gambling with other activities
When gambling becomes your only form of entertainment, it's unlikely that you're still just gambling for the fun of it, and your gambling may even be a problem. Make sure gambling isn't your only pastime.
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8. Don't take your bank card with you
This is a good way to safeguard your money limit and not let being 'in the moment' warp your judgment.
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9. Take frequent breaks
Gambling continuously can cause you to lose track of time and perspective. Step out for some air or a bite to eat at regular intervals.
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10. Don't drink or use drugs when gambling
Drugs and alcohol cloud judgment, and good judgment stands as your main line of defence against letting gambling get out of control.