According to the National Council on Problem Gambling, about 83% of adults gamble each year – and as legalized gambling continues to expand, so do the number of Americans who choose to gamble. And although the vast majority of people can gamble responsibly, some people go too far and develop a problem.1
Gambling can be a great form of entertainment, but it comes with certain risks. To lower the chance of gambling causing problems in your life:
Perhaps the most important part of gambling responsibly is to set limits before you begin to play, and stick to them. The limits should be for both time and money. Ask yourself these questions:
- How much money is a reasonable amount to lose?
- What is the largest bet I am comfortable making?
- When do I want to leave the casino by?
- If I start to win, how far ahead should I be before I leave?
Before going to gamble, answer the above questions, and treat them as your limits. Stick to your limits. If you are not able to stick to your limits, it could be an indication that you may be developing a gambling problem.
Other guidelines for gambling responsibly include:
- Do not bring checks or credit, debit or ATM cards with you to the casino or open a line of credit
- Avoid gambling when your judgment has been impaired by alcohol, drugs or sleep deprivation
- Never gamble to escape from your problems or feelings
- Do not borrow money or use personal investments or family savings to gamble
Gamble for Entertainment… ONLY
- Know the odds of gambling
- Never gamble to “win” money or pay debts
- Treat money lost as an “entertainment expense.”
- Don’t try to “recover” your losses, and don’t expect to win. If you do win, enjoy it – but don’t expect it the next time.
- Balance gambling with other fun activities (i.e. don’t ignore your other hobbies just to gamble)
Know the Dangers
- Know the warning signs of a gambling problem
- Listen to the concerns of others
- Recognize that gambling can turn into a problem or addiction
- Don’t hurt your job, health, finances, reputation or family through your gambling.2
Don’t Let Things Go Too Far
Gambling is supposed to be for fun and entertainment. If you are experiencing financial, family, emotional or physical health problems because of your gambling, consider taking a break to fully understand its impact on your life and to help you gain control.
Seek out assistance and call 1-800-GAMBLER (426-2537), and if you still choose to gamble, consider the above strategies to limit your risk of becoming a problem gambler.