If you want to make sure gambling doesn't become a problem for you, the key is to gamble responsibly.
This means, staying in control of how much time and money you spend gambling. It's the only real way to keep gambling entertaining and fun.
A responsible gambler is someone who sees gambling as just a form of entertainment they're prepared to pay for but they never bet more than they can afford to lose.
Gambling responsibly is knowing and accepting the odds and keeping your chances of winning and losing in perspective.
Even if gambling starts as a bit of fun it can become a problem for a variety of reasons so here are some strategies to help make sure your gambling doesn't sneak up on you.
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.
2. Only gamble with money you can afford to lose
Gamble within your weekly entertainment budget, not with your phone bill or rent budget.
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.
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.
8. Don't take your ATM card with you
This is a good way to safeguard your money limit and not let being " in the moment" warp your judgment.
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.
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.