Gambling is the act of placing bets on a game or event with the hope of winning a prize. It can be as simple as placing a bet on a sporting event or as complex as playing poker or blackjack.
There are many types of gambling, from casinos and racetracks to scratch cards and fruit machines. Each type of gambling has its own unique risks and rewards. You should never gamble more money than you can afford to lose, and always be aware of the house edge.
Be honest with yourself and others about your gambling habits. This is the first step in overcoming your addiction.
Strengthen your support network and find a sponsor (a former gambling addict who can give you advice on staying sober). If you have no family or friends with whom you can share your problems, look for groups that are dedicated to addressing addiction issues. You can also find online resources that can help you stop gambling and regain control of your life.
Become aware of the signs that you are becoming addicted to gambling and seek professional help as soon as possible. Symptoms of addiction include losing money, lying about gambling, and feeling helpless or depressed after losing a large sum of money.
Know the rules of each game before you play them. This will make it less likely that you will be tempted to spend your hard-earned money without thinking about the consequences.
Keep track of your time spent gambling and set an alarm to stop you from getting distracted. You can also try taking regular breaks so that you don’t get bored of the same game and start to lose focus.
Don’t chase your losses: Often you’ll find yourself thinking “I just need to play a little longer and then I’ll be able to recoup my losses.” This is the ‘gambler’s fallacy’, and should be avoided at all costs.
Avoid the temptation of free drinks and food – these can lead to over-spending, and can be dangerous. Don’t drink and gamble at the same time – it can be easy to lose track of how much you are spending, especially when you are enjoying yourself.
If you have a gambling problem, you can get help through therapy and support groups. Some people are able to overcome their addiction on their own, but most need some sort of treatment.
Rely on a trusted therapist or counsellor to provide the support you need, but don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for advice from others. These professionals are trained in identifying and treating gambling disorders, and they will be able to provide the most effective treatments.
Take charge of your money and budget it accordingly. This will prevent you from getting sucked into the hype of gambling and allow you to manage your finances more effectively.
Having a fixed amount of money to lose is the best way to stop yourself from getting sucked into the hype of betting and will make it easier to control your behaviour when you are out at a casino or betting online.