Recreational gambling can be a fun and entertaining activity for many people, but it can sometimes tip the scales into problematic behavior for others. The adrenaline rush of a big bet and the thrill of winning a jackpot keep many coming back for more, even when they shouldn’t.
We’ve all seen advertisements for “responsible gambling” on television in our daily lives but what does that actually mean? And more importantly, is this even possible?
What is Responsible Gambling?
Responsible gambling is defined as: “Exercising control and informed choice to ensure that gambling is kept within affordable limits of money and time, is enjoyable, in balance with other activities and responsibilities, and avoids gambling-related harm.”
This ubiquitous phrase is used to remind players of the importance of maintaining a clear head when playing the odds. Essentially it references the age old saying “It is just a game,” urging players to stay in touch with reality. This idea, however, has been criticized for being a myth that is impossible to achieve, especially for players that struggle with addiction or lack of self-control.
Top 6 Ways to Gamble Responsibly
Responsible gamblers know the risks involved with gambling and think of it as a cost of the entertainment, just like going out to dinner, the movies, or going on a vacation. Setting out on any excursion with a fixed budget makes smart fiscal sense in every aspect of life — and gambling is no different.
Just as you would not invite your friends out to a 5-star restaurant that you knew you could not afford, gambling without mental and financial safety precautions is a recipe for disaster. In order to gamble responsibly, take charge by following some simple tips before you set out.
1. Learn the Rules and Odds of the Games that You Play
Hobbyists know their favorite pastimes better than anyone else in the world. Knowledge of your leisure pursuits is a great way to not let them get the best of you, especially when it comes to real-money gambling.
When choosing a game to play, make sure you’re well-versed in the rules, the casino’s guidelines, and best practices involved in a given game. And whether it’s roulette or blackjack, bear in mind the odds to make an informed decision and your best bet. Being prepared is always the best bet.
2. Don’t Play with Money You Don’t Have
You wouldn’t spend your rent money on a designer handbag or an unreasonable car lease. Likewise, you should never use money to gamble that you need for your living expenses. Remembering priorities is essential.
Responsible gamblers never play with money that they aren’t willing to lose. As an entertainment expense, any losses simply add up to a fun evening out with friends, not serious financial problems the next day.
3. Set a Time Limit
If you’re worried that you might get carried away, a good rule of thumb is to set a time limit for how long you’re able to gamble before it’s time to call it quits. When you’re having a fun evening, it can be easy to lose track of time. By setting an alarm and having a hard end to your playing is a smart idea before you get started.
4. Set a Money Limit
Setting a dollar limit for yourself before you start playing is one of the smartest things you can do to gamble responsibly.
Some online casinos have a loss limit feature that allows you to program in a maximum amount that you’re willing to lose in a given time before the system prevents you from placing another bet. The loss limit feature works very well for some people but for many, it doesn’t work at all. For many, they hit the limit and simply join another casino. If this is you, consider alternate means of self-control and consider asking for assistance.
5. Don’t Gamble Under the Influence
With a great game plan for responsible gambling and a fun time ahead, it would be a shame to throw away all of your best intentions by getting inebriated and failing to follow your own guidelines.
Gambling responsibly can be an exciting and entertaining activity but without a clear head, some players may unintentionally go a bit overboard. Gambling culture, especially in-person, often encourages players to drink while they play. A glass of wine or a single beer while playing might not be disastrous, but it is important to comprehend your limits.
6. Never Play Because You Need to Win
Problem gamblers sometimes fall into the trap of using gambling to make money they need for their day-to-day lives. It is always a bad idea and can lead to serious problems, especially with something as random as chance itself. Make sure even as you play, you are grounded in reality.
These suggestions are not foolproof, however, and can be quickly thrown out the window when a player is in trouble with their gambling, whether through a serious addiction or fear of financial ruin. It is important to consider your circumstances, your headspace, and your ability to stick to a plan before even going near a casino.
Responsible Gambling Can Be Possible
Knowing yourself is key. If you know that you’re not able to follow your own prescribed rules, gambling responsibly may not be possible for you to do successfully. Maintaining a healthy relationship with your hobbies and leisure activities is essential.
As you can see, however, it is possible to gamble responsibly if you’re able to stick to a plan. By maintaining these standards, responsible gambling can be just like any other form of paid entertainment. If one approaches it with a clear head and knows their limits, a good time can be had by all.