As enjoyable as the world of gambling can be, it’s important to remember that it can be just as dangerous. Problem gambling affects millions of people worldwide. It’s important to stay in control of the money and time you spend gambling. Let’s take a look at how you can maintain a safe relationship with gambling, identify signs of problem gambling and what you can do if you’re concerned about your gambling habits.
Signs of Problem Gambling
Betting more than you can afford to lose
Does the money that you spend gambling cause you to miss important bills or payments? If so, it is likely that you are gambling beyond your limits. The amount that you bet should never exceed the amount that you are prepared to lose.
Being dishonest about your gambling behaviours
Do you have a problem admitting to friends and family the truth about how much you spent gambling or how long you have been gambling recently? This is a telltale sign that you are engaging in a habit that is ultimately are trying to cover up a habit that deep down you know is it unhealthy.
Impact on other areas of your life
If your gambling behaviour starts to negatively impact your relationships or your work life, and even your friendships, this is a sign that something needs to change. Gambling should never take priority over your personal and professional life.
Relying on gambling proceeds as a form of income
Sure, you can get lucky and win a nice sum of money at an online casino. But, as is the nature of games of chance, you can just as easily lose money. While there may be tipsters, casino experts and strategists who claim to have all the secrets to winning at casinos, there is no such thing as a sure bet or guaranteed profit. Income from gambling is largely based on luck, and it should never be seen as a sustainable source of income.
What Can I Do to Stay in Control?
If you stick to playing with licensed gambling sites, there are measures in place to keep you safe from the perils of problem gambling. We highly recommend implementing these before you play, even if you haven’t experienced any issues surrounding your gambling habits.
Set deposit and loss limits
You should never gamble more than you can afford, or want to lose. To remain in full control of this, you should set yourself a budget before you start playing, and stick to it. You can set a deposit limit. Once set, it’s impossible to exceed this figure with a certain time frame. Loss limits work in a similar manner, but instead, limits your gambling activity once you have lost a certain amount of real money.
Apply time restrictions
Of course, it’s important to stay in control of your spending, but it’s important to monitor how gambling affects your life other than financially. It can be a huge help to apply time restrictions to your gambling sessions, as this can also help you to closely monitor the amount of time that you commit to this habit.
Do not combine gambling with alcohol
Alcohol, much like gambling, can be enjoyed in moderation, but when the two are combined it very rarely ends well. Alcohol can impair your judgment when trying to make logical choices, and it can also overinflate your confidence. This can lead to betting more than you normally would do, as well as making speculative bets that will only result in further losses of money.
What Can I Do to Get Help?
If you are currently experiencing issues with your gambling, there are further measures that you can take. If you do feel like you need assistance, please do not delay the necessary action.
One of the best methods to combat problem gambling is to go completely ‘cold-turkey’. This means that you will not engage in any gambling activity at all, whether online or offline. You’ll be able to self-exclude at any licensed online casino, and you can even self-exclude from physical bookmakers or casinos. Essentially, this results in a complete ban from any form of gambling for at least 12 months.
Assign time out periods
If you think that completely removing yourself from the gambling environment may be a bit extreme, you can always go for a shorter time out period. These can usually be set through your online accounts, and you can specify time frames from anywhere between one week and one year.
Remove yourself from marketing emails
Online gambling sites will often send out marketing emails showing new and tempting promotions for you to take advantage of. Needless to say, these can be extremely tempting and lead to deposits and potential losses. If you think these emails would have a negative impact on your gambling habits, it would be wise to unsubscribe from any mailing lists that sends out promotional material.
How Can I Seek Help?
Department of Internal Affairs – Problem Gambling
We can proudly say that the New Zealand government has taken action and launched a full scheme designed to help those suffering from problem gambling.
Problem Gambling Foundation
This is a charity that offers help and support, completely free of charge for those wanting extra help and guidance. They even have support group meetups and a weekly newsletter that they distribute via email.