We liken the importance of responsible gambling to other parts of our lives where we have to practice and implement moderation.
Like adult beverages or food, gambling can be a harmful vice. That’s why we have to take important steps to ensure that we can enjoy the experience — win, lose, or push.
Here are some ways to do just that:
Always bet less than you can afford to lose
Set limits on gambling activities
Avoid gambling activities when other responsibilities are more important
Let’s dig a little more into the common sense rules above.
If you can only afford to lose $100, a responsible gambler knows to budget even a fraction of that. Not only should you bet less than you can afford to lose, you should bet even less than that.
When it comes to setting limits on gambling activities, that can be tough to do. From online sportsbooks to casinos, lotteries to the race track, there are countless ways to get in on the fun of gambling. So the effort to set limits must be thoughtful and well-planned. But remember, fun is the operative word. It’s only fun if you enjoy it within certain parameters. So when you’re scrolling your mobile device looking for player props for the big Sunday night game, be sure to take breaks.
Gambling should complement the occasion, not be the main event.
And then finally, we have to always first consider our real-world responsibilities. Life happens. And real life is full of real priorities. Families, work obligations, unexpected expenses. The money spent on gambling should never adversely affect our ability to fulfill our day-to-day financial duties.
Hard Truths About Gambling
It’s true that there’s a percentage of sharps who make a living off beating the house. But that group of highly-skilled bettors is incredibly small. Observing a true sharp at work is fascinating. If you watched Jeopardy! James and his 32-game run on the nighttime game show, you understand what we mean. James Holzhauer, a professional sports gambler, employed some of that betting skill and wit into dominating his competitors and making history as the Jeopardy!’s third-highest earning contestant.
Possessing the ability to beat the house regularly really is a gift.
So we’ve got the James Holzhauers of the world and then we’ve got the rest of us. While the rest of us are still wonderfully skilled in our own right, there are some warning signs we must heed when gambling.
If you find that you’re,
– Borrowing money from friends or family to gamble
– Hiding gambling losses from others.
– Lying about how much you gamble
– Becoming irritable or angry when you can’t gamble
– Neglecting school, work, or other social activities that don’t involve gambling
– Using gambling to escape stress or negative feelings
– Feeling depressed or remorseful after gambling
– Disregarding personal health or hygiene
– Requiring bigger bets to achieve the same excitement
– Gambling with the goal of winning back losses
…the best bet is to stop cold turkey and get help immediately.
Why is it important to stop bad gambling habits in their tracks? Well, unhealthy gambling practices can lead to the following:
Gambling can become addictive. Addictions can cause depression. Depression can lead to substance abuse, PTSD, and even worse — suicide.
Our goal is to promote healthy gambling habits. If you ever feel that gambling is impacting your mental or physical health, there are resources to help you heal.
In addition to confiding in trusted friends and family members, gamblers who need help should consider contacting some of the professional resources listed below:
National Council of Problem Gambling
Council on Compulsive Gambling of Pennsylvania, INC.
Helpline: 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537)
P.O. Box 444
Spring House, PA, 19477