Gambling is something that millions of people around the globe enjoy. Per the National Council on Problem Gambling research, around 85% of American gamblers have tested their luck with sports betting or casino games at least once, with a substantial percentage of the US population playing online table gaming products and slots in the past year.
While this activity primarily has a negative connotation attached among the mainstream public because of the financial dangers it can induce, it is vital to highlight that everyone can engage in it safely if they follow a simple set of rules. These get outlined below, and they detail how those interested in games of chance can partake in them without fear of experiencing any emotional and monetary hardships that so many fear regarding gambling at casinos/sportsbooks, online and offline.
1. Pick Credible Operators
Everyone should only play at recommended online casinos and sportsbooks. These are ones with proven track records of always paying out wins. The same goes for land-based gaming/betting. Veteran gamblers always check the reputation of their chosen operator before laying down money with them, and so should you.
2. Play for Fun
Most experienced gamblers will say this is the key to not drowning in gambling-caused debts. It is paramount that gaming/betting activities always get looked at as entertainment-based hobbies, not money-making, get-rich-quick schemes.
3. Understand the Rules/Odds
Only choose to play a game after first sitting down and learning its gameplay and associated winning probabilities. Some casino options like keno have house edges above 20%, which are ridiculous for gaming fun and pale compared to most table options, which boast a sub-5% casino advantage.
4. Do Not Neglect Video Poker
Unfortunately, most casual gamblers rarely consider video poker a viable game when visiting casino floors or popping open gambling sites on their phone. Yet, in general, representatives from this genre have house advantages that range from 5% to 0.5%, and some Deuces Wild games have edges that favor players slightly.
5. Expect to Lose
Regarding house edges, operators have a mathematical advantage over their clients in all their products. And sportsbooks set their odds depending on betting action and outcome probability to ensure long-term profitability. Hence, winning in the long haul will always be an uphill battle, particularly in slots, where no decision-making is involved. Everything is random.
6. Balance Gaming/Betting with Other Activities
Overly focusing on gambling can lead to tunnel vision, which can be detrimental for gamblers, causing them to make ill-advised decisions in their sessions. That is why it is wise to do something else now and again in one’s sessions and avoid getting overly engrossed in gambling entertainment.
7. Cool Off Occasionally
Those who play online can activate a cool-off option that stops them from using their chosen site for a set period. Everyone should activate this when they feel they are betting too much.
8. Don’t Drink & Play
Overindulgence in alcohol and various mind-altering substances can cloud one’s judgment and boost impulsivity leading to horrible gambling-related decisions. It is always best to bet with a clear head.
9. Avoid Gambling When Emotional
Essentially wagering when one is overly emotional can produce the same outcomes as gambling drunk. So, don’t do it.
10. Never Chase Losses
Customarily, chasing losses is fueled by the gambler’s fallacy, which is the erroneous notion that when one encounters a series of losing results in a row, they are due for a win. However, previous outcomes do not dictate future ones. Therefore, when people chase losses, they often dig themselves into a deeper financial hole.
11. Set a Budget
Some refer to this as bankroll management. It entails people knowing how much to spend on gambling without affecting their lifestyle. They should allocate these funds monthly and set session ones while figuring out their base wagering unit.
12. Don’t Borrow Money to Gamble
Only bet what you can afford to lose, and never create future problems by asking for cash to wager on events with uncertain outcomes.
13. Don’t Rely on Strategies
Implementing popular negative and positive progressive betting schemes can quickly get out of hand, leading to massive losses. So, stay away from them.
14. Set Deposit/Loss Limits
Most reputable internet gaming hubs allow this, and it is an invaluable instrument to keep one’s wagering activity in check.
15. Install Pre-Commitment Tools
Some established ones include GamBan and Bet Blocker. These let users set limits at sites that do not have such built-in options.
16. Self-Exclude If Needed
Self-exclusion is the more rigorous version of activating a cooling-off period. It is a self-imposed extended ban stopping gamblers from going off the edge when they feel they can no longer control their urges.
17. Seek Help If Things Get Rocky
Multiple 24/7 chat/phone support options are available online. The NCPG has a terrific line for US residents in all fifty states.