How do I limit my risk of experiencing negative consequences due to gambling?
In relation to Safer Gambling Week 2022 we’ve put a number of initiatives together to shed light on the serious matter of gambling addiction and what we can do to ensure safer gambling in the industry. This article addresses what actions you can take to lower your risk of experiencing negative consequences due to gaming.
In many cases it is a lot easier to tackle problems before they turn into big monsters. This is especially true if we consider problems experienced due to gambling. Once gambling problems start to escalate, they can be very difficult to tackle and create a paradoxical situation where it appears to the person that the only way to reduce problems is to keep gambling. As an example, a person experiencing financial difficulties due to gambling may think that the only way to overcome these difficulties is to attempt to win back their losses through more gambling. Unfortunately, this strategy will most often lead to further losses and escalation of problems. The best advice is therefore to be proactive and take actions to limit your risk even if you feel like you are in perfect control. In a way taking preventive actions such as setting reasonable limits for yourself is a bit like putting on the seatbelt before driving. You know that you will probably not need it on your trip, but that it can save your life if you should get into an unexpected accident.
Most gambling providers offer various limit tools, which you can use to decide how much you want to gamble. Often you will have the opportunity to set a deposit limit on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Sometimes you will also be given the opportunity to set limits on other aspects of gambling behavior such as maximum time consumption, wager size or total loss within a period of time. Setting limits is for everyone and is a bit like making a budget for yourself. They make it easy to keep the overview and help you stick to your decisions about your gambling behavior, even if you occasionally get caught in the heat of the moment. If you gamble with multiple gambling providers you have to take on a little more work yourself, as the limits don’t transfer across providers. In this case you might want to keep track of your deposits in a spreadsheet or set a lower limit for each provider.
The exact amount of money a person can gamble without experiencing any risk differs from person to person. A good strategy is to create an entertainment budget that includes gambling and then set a limit that reflects how much money you are willing to lose on gambling after setting aside money for all your regular expenses. Often people will also benefit from setting limits on their time consumption. Think about how much time you have for leisure activities and then decide how much of that time you want to spend on gambling while leaving time for other activities that you enjoy. Remember to occasionally evaluate your limits as changes to your financial situation or other important aspects of your life might change how much time or money you want to spend on gambling.
If you find it difficult to stick to your limits, you might benefit from taking a break from gambling for a while to focus on other activities. Remember that gambling should never be causing you any harm and that you can reach out to one of the many gambling helplines if you need to talk to someone about your gambling behavior and what actions you can take to limit your risk.
Making the decision to put on the gambling seatbelt may help you avoid having to deal with some very difficult problems later down the road.