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How to Gamble Responsibly
It's possible to win money gambling, but it's unlikely that you'll come out ahead in the long run. The odds are always stacked against you, whether you're at a casino, playing bingo, or betting on sports. So play for fun, not to make money. And remember, if you have a gambling problem, it's best to avoid gambling entirely.
These 12 tips can help make sure you have a great time gambling:
- Remember gambling is entertainment. It's not a way to make money, and odds are you won't come out ahead. Play for fun, not to make money.
- Pay for your entertainment. Don't think of money you spent gambling as money you "lost." Just accept it as the cost of entertainment. To put it in perspective, you probably wouldn't spend $500 to see a movie, would you?
- Mix it up. Be sure that gambling isn't your only leisure activity. Mix it up with other things, like going out to eat, seeing movies, or joining a local sports team or league. You'll probably find that you enjoy gambling more once you take a break and come back to it.
- Bring friends! They make everything more fun, and you can help keep each other from going overboard.
- Remain realistic. Don't gamble with money you need for everyday expenses. If you gamble thinking you'll "make it back," you may be headed for problems when bill time rolls around.
- Stay away from ATMs! Likewise, don't use your debit card or credit card. The easy access to funds can quickly turn an evening of fun into a major financial setback.
- Don't bet your belongings. If you're out of money, it's definitely time to quit.
- Know your limits: money and time. Before you go gambling, put the amount of money you're willing to spend on an outing's entertainment in your wallet in cash. When the cash is gone, you'll know it's time to stop. Also, it's easy to lose track of time when you're gambling, so set a time limit before you start and stick to it. You can even arrange to have a friend give you a "rescue ring" on your cell phone.
- Never borrow money to gamble. If you don't have the money, you can't afford to gamble. And chances are good you'll end up even more in debt.
- Take five. Remember to take breaks often. Taking a breather from the action helps make your allotted cash last longer.
- Check yourself. The risk of gambling too much is higher if you're stressed or depressed, so be extra careful during these times. If you're feeling this way, a better option might be to go see a funny movie with a friend.
- Be careful with alcohol. Be wary of free alcoholic drinks when you're gambling. Alcohol can make you less inhibited and skew your judgment. Know your personal drink limit and stick to it!