For the vast majority, gambling is a fun and entertaining experience, but there are risks involved. Knowing the risks and having a plan before you begin gambling is critical. Whether it’s your first bet or you’ve been gambling for years, before you wager, consider the following tips to help you keep gambling fun.
- Know how the game works and what the odds are before you bet.
- Have a plan before you bet – know how much you’re willing to lose and how long you want to play (set limits of time and money).
- Know and respect your tolerance for risk.
- Consider teaming up with a friend to help each other stick to the plan.
- Consider setting a timer on your phone to help you keep track of time.
- Treat gambling as a form of entertainment and not a way to make money.
- Hope to win but expect to lose. Remember: you’re playing to have a good time – never chase your losses.
- When it’s no longer fun, take a break.
- Never borrow money to gamble that you can’t afford to lose.
- Balance gambling with other activities.
It’s important to remember that some of these may or may not work for you. We’re all different in how we approach gambling, so try things out and find what works best for you. What’s important is that you’re being self-aware so you can keep gambling a fun and positive experience.
Here are some basic facts about problem gambling.
- Nationally between 1% and 3% of the general adult (18+) population, or over 5.1 million people, experience a gambling problem every year.
- Gambling problems are often hidden, or not something that many people are aware of.
- Gambling problems often occur alongside other problems such as alcohol disorder, and substance abuse.
- Gambling problems complicate the treatment of those disorders and vice versa.
- One person’s gambling addiction may also lead to negative consequences for loved ones and concerned others.
- Each person with a gambling addiction or gambling problems may also affect 7 or more other people in their circle. Viewed through this lens, the estimated number of people affected is over 35 million.
- What is problem gambling? Problem gambling includes the spectrum of all gambling behavior patterns that compromise, disrupt or damage personal, family or vocational pursuits. There are specific symptoms and gambling addiction is the most serious form. In extreme cases, it can result in financial ruin, legal problems, loss of career and family, or even suicide.
- For additional information, visit Frequently Asked Questions here.
Remember, if gambling is no longer fun, help is available and it works. Speak out and seek help.
What do I do if I, or someone I care about, might be showing signs of problem gambling?
- You can use a self-screening tool to consider criteria for a gambling problem – click here.
- If you want to talk to someone, call or text the National Problem Gambling Helpline at 1-800-522-4700 or ncpgambling.org/chat. To learn more about the National Problem Gambling Helpline, click here.
- For specific help in your state, click here for a map with a list of resources by state.