Gambling (verb): To play games of chance for money; to bet. In layman’s terms this means that you are handing over money for something which should be fun, and which will last for a predetermined length of time – like buying a cinema ticket, it should be entertaining. The difference between gambling and other forms of entertainment is that you are playing games of chance for money. Now this could mean that you walk away with more money than you started with, or some other kind of prize. You profit.
But if you start with that as a goal, you will likely be disappointed time and time again. Think about it, if you were assured of a prize every time, you wouldn’t be gambling, you would be shopping! Chance and unpredictability is what makes gambling fun, but it is also what makes it a risk.
So when we talk about responsible gambling we are clarifying the ability to gamble without putting yourself or others at risk of harm. Part of gambling more safely and responsibly is understanding the odds of the game you are playing, what the rules are, and accepting that losing is just as much a part of gambling as winning. And gambling should never give you hardship or hurt.
Here’s a few simple rules which should help to ensure your gambling is always fun.
Only spend what you can afford
Always be mindful that you are more likely to lose the money you stake than you are to win any more. So do not gamble with money you need for things like rent or bills.
Set your limits for time and money
Decide how much you have to play with before you begin, and when this is gone it’s time to leave. You may be tempted to spend more, as it can sometimes feel like a win is ’due’, but this frame of mind will invariably lead you losing more.
You can set a spending limit with online gambling sites. Those sites will alert you when you have reached your limit, and can lock you out for a short period of time to make sure you don’t stake any more. You can also set time limits. Even if you haven’t reached your personal spending limit, you can programme in a ‘time out’ to block your access for a set amount of time. Vitally, if gambling has become problematical you can always step away from gambling altogether and all fully licenced online casinos will impose a self-exclusion rule at your request.
Don’t gamble when you’re angry or upset
Emotions like anger, sadness or a feeling of general stress can make it more difficult to make clear decisions and that can lead to you losing money you cannot really afford to lose. This has the potential to ruin relationships. Don’t do it! If you are feeling low before you start playing a gambling will not make you feel better. In the long run, it is very likely to make you feel worse!
Remember – gambling is not the answer to any problem
Gambling is most definitely not a way to make money, or to fix something else in your life that you are not happy with. Yes, some people win big, but this does not happen as often as you may think. Any other problems you have can be made worse if you use gambling as a way to get away from them. If you feel you would like some support to gamble less, or stop altogether, we recommend you speak to a specialist adviser:
In the UK you can:
Call the FREE National Gambling Helpline: 0808 8020133 Visit: www.gamcare.org.uk
Or contact the National Gambling Treatment Service by visiting www.BeGambleAware.org
Visit Dunlewy Advice Centre: www.dunlewey.net
Or call a FREE Helpline: Irl 1800 936725 – NI 0800 886 725