Gambling can easily become an addiction in no time at all, if you enter into it without any discipline or awareness about the pitfalls of such a controversial pastime.
However, if the right principles are applied and when approached the right way, gambling can be fun and brings with it a small element of excitement to its participants.
There is no reason to be afraid of gambling if you are new to it or haven’t engaged in it before and there are a number of ways in which you can enjoy it without becoming addicted. By all means familiarise yourself with the rules, though also read material on Gamble Aware and the Gambling Commission websites.
Though, if you have done all that and you still aren’t sure, follow one or some of these 10 tips below to help you!
Set a Limit
The number one rule to remember which many people forget.
Always set a limit to the amount that you stake and make sure that you can afford to lose it. When and if you lose it, don’t think, I’ll gamble more to try to win it back, like many people do – at this stage this can cause addiction.
Even if you win, it will always be tempting to continue to try and win more, but think of it this way. You’re finishing with more than you started with, so it’s a nice little personal bonus!
Confide in someone to act as support
This can be especially useful if they are with you in person, should you be at a casino. If you get to the stage where you feel like gambling more to try and win your losses back, having this person there with you to remind you of why they are there in the first place, can help a great deal.
Save a small amount each week to gamble after paying bills
This is a great idea and ties into not gambling more you can afford to lose. Should you be tempted to gamble, make sure that more important things are taken care of that you need in order to live before engaging in an activity that can literally lose you the shirt off your back.
Understand that you don’t gamble to get rich
This has been the downfall of many a gambler. If you gamble to get rich, you’re more likely to go broke. Having this mentality is dangerous, though it can cause addiction and ruin lives.
Accept that you’re going to lose
This is a great mentality to have when gambling. This “power of positive thinking” mantra should not be applied especially with the vast majority of gambling outcomes caused by luck. Only, arguably with the exception of poker, where highly-skilled players can successfully read opponents should this tip be taken lightly, though even with this example, it carries a risk.
Do it once a year as a special occasion and combine with a day out
This can be a great way to avoid becoming addicted. By organising this as a day or night out, whether that be at horse racing, greyhound racing or casino, it gives you something to look forward to and even save up a little bit of money that you can afford to lose for a flutter.
Don’t form an emotional attachment
A common mistake, particularly in sports betting is to form an emotional attachment to a certain team or player/athlete and, as such, gamblers often convince themselves that they cannot lose so have a false sense of optimism.
This can occur in casinos, if for example, gamblers form an attachment to a specific number or combination in the game of roulette, or become convinced that they cannot lose with a particular croupier.
Avoid drinking alcohol while gambling
This does raise the question, why? Drinking and gambling are two activities that just shouldn’t be mixed. Alcohol impairs our ability to make good, sensible and logical decisions and when combined with gambling, more often than not instills a sense of euphoria, convincing people that they are going to be successful.
Don’t gamble online
Gambling websites have made the activity easier than ever for people to become addicted. You can be playing a roulette in seconds with the touch of a few buttons on your smartphone.
One way to avoid addiction, is to actually tell yourself you need to physically go to a bookmakers or casino and if you decide that you can’t actually be bothered, then it wasn’t worth the thought in the first place.
Offset the Karma
If you feel guilty about gambling – some people do, then offset the karma. In other words, make an effort to do something nice for someone else. While it is easy to donate to charity, our most valuable commodity is time, so think about this if you do feel guilty about it – maybe volunteer for a couple of hours.