Betting is fun, enthralling, a rush, a risk, a gamble, addictive and can be a problem. Most people who gamble on a semi regular basis, do it in their spare time around popular sporting events. The majority being football on a Saturday afternoon, some bet on horse racing and some other events like tennis and cricket. Its mainly televised events that encourage the bulk of wagers, so its perceived to be part of the entertainment value.
We’re not here to preach to you about gambling and how to stop, quit, give up etc. But gambling responsibly and being aware of the risks is important. Here are 7 steps to being a responsible gambler, compiled from the experiences of controlled gambling enthusiasts.
Budgets are key to any environment where spending money is involved. You only have so much coming in, therefore you can’t have more going out. If you have you no consideration for how much is going out, compared to how much is coming in, then you have a problem. You are irresponsibly spending money and that’s an unsustainable approach – that means eventually you’ll go broke.
The best advice I was ever given was to keep a budget and stick to it. As a gambler you’ll know the days when gambling or the temptation is at its peak, Saturday for example is full of horse racing and football. A lot of people go out either shopping or drinking/socialising, so spending is normally a theme for the day. I stick to £25 a Saturday and split that over 3 or 4 select bets. When you stray from that system you’re in problem territory, because a budget is a system of control and focus. It sounds like an overreaction but as soon as you go over your budget or drift away from your system, you’ve lost control.
If you find you struggle with sticking to a budget, you can put physical measures in place, by way of deposit limits on each betting site. To support responsible gambling, I have a £25 daily deposit limit on my chosen bookies. This isn’t because I’ve had a problem, I put these deposit limits in place from the day I joined each betting site. Your bank can also assist in the matter of responsible spending, you can limit daily cash withdrawals from machines to say £50.
Spending limits are not just for people with money issues, they are well used by responsible people. The worst thing you can do is begrudge a system like this because you think its just for those with problems. Anyone can accidentally over spend one day and without a limit in place, the one day you feel flush, could be that one day when you blow your bank balance because you couldn’t stop.
Affluence is actually a proven trait in the gamblers psyche. what that means is that we can spend money like we’re rich, even if we don’t have it. The feeling of spending large sums of cash, makes us feel wealthy. But we often disregard the consequences under these circumstances, because the rush of spending or being ‘affluent’ delivers falsle positive emotions.
If you ever come across a seasoned responsible gambler, you may notice they have rules. We’ve written some football betting rules ourselves here. Now whilst they’re designed to be a bit of fun, they’re also true. We stick to these rules so we know at the end of the day, we’ve avoided placing rash or reckless bets. Some rules are sentimental, like not betting on your own football team. Whilst others are from experience, like not chasing the big odds on huge accas because you think you can win that big bet. Or chasing a profit so you pick a less likely bet with bigger odds so you can make your money back.
Would you buy a car or a house without looking at it first or researching the important information like the energy efficiency, the age etc. Well it baffles me how so many people scroll through betting sites with just a set of odds to inform them of the likelihood of a result. Sports betting is very much circumstantial and with a little research there are circumstances surrounding events that are likely to influence your pick. Manager sackings change the dynamic of a football match, changes in whether can upset the going of a horse race. So when you pick your bets if you haven’t done the slightest bit of research then you shouldn’t be surprised if it loses.
A common mistake that a lot of gamblers make is reinvesting their wins outside of their normal gambling pattern. When you’ve had a big win, there is an immediate temptation to reinvest larger sums of money into a similar bet. We often base these moments of lavish spending on the notion that ‘your lucks in’. The luck that brought you the big win in the first place is unlikely to repeat itself, so haemorrhaging large sums of money from your win pot is a naive mistake to make.
Firstly you’re creating a feeling of comfort towards spending those larger amounts of cash. Where else would you spend such large amounts in one go, with a possibility of losing it all. Secondly you’ve altered your financial thermostat, you’ve increased your base bet and pushed up your minimum spend comfort zone. A prime example is when you bet on horse racing, perhaps you start off with £1e/w bets and that gets you nervous, you feel the excitement and fun. You have a big win like £20 and on the next few races you start wagering your profits at a rate of £5e/w.
It’s all good fun and you didn’t start out with that cash anyway, so it’s not a big deal right? WRONG! In a lot of cases, those that have increased their minimum bet limits will stay at the new figure, so in our example £5 has become that punters new minimum. In problem cases, this cycle repeats itself over and over again – until gamblers are wagering hundreds of pounds per play.
Remember, the odds are stacked against you pretty much all the time. Otherwise these betting sites, companies, bookies will all be out of business. So respect the notion that the ball is firmly in their court when it comes to who has the upper hand. The house always wins, means that inevitably the people walking away with the biggest profits are those taking your money. If you’re controlled and honest with yourself, gambling can be exciting and fun. But the bookies are there to make money, so be respectful of yourself, your money and your livelihood. Only ever bet what you can HAPPILY afford to throw away.
If you’ve stuck to your budget, stuck to your limit, stuck to your rules and you’ve still lost. The most important, mature and responsible action you can take is accept defeat and walk away. Gambling is a test of ego, we’re backing our knowledge of an event with real money. There has to be a fair amount of ego behind those decisions and with that in mind we sometimes find it hard to admit defeat. That’s often why we backtrack without reasonable judgement, we try and chase a win and get some money back.
If you can’t walk away, get help. You can visit either of these support sites for expertise.