Gambling has long been seen in a negative light by many people, particularly because it has been associated with wreaking havoc with people’s finances and even destroying families. It is for this reason that there is still heavy resistance in many areas of the world whenever plans for building a new casino are announced. These days, several sectors of society are also up in arms over the growing number of online casinos.
While it cannot be denied that there have been countless cases of people having their life negatively impacted by a gambling addiction over the years, we need to understand that gambling per se is not the evil that many people perceive it to be. Just like any form of activity, there is a right and wrong approach to gambling. And as long as you stay in control of your gambling activities, you should be able to steer clear of the problems that some gamblers have found themselves mired in.
Here we will take a closer look at how you can make sure that enjoying casino games will not lead to a bleak future for you.
Top 3 Gambling Habits to Break
Often the reason why gambling starts becoming a problem for someone is that he or she develops bad gambling habits. If you’re unaware of these habits, they will become a permanent part of your casino activities, and you probably won’t notice these habits gradually affecting your life in a negative way. Most of those who develop bad casino habits don’t realise there is a problem until it’s too late. Don’t let that be the case with you.
The first step towards breaking away from a bad gambling habit is recognising those bad habits. After all, how can you break away from something if you don’t even know that it’s bad for you? Here are three gambling habits people often develop without realising that they will lead to more harm than good. Needless to say, these are habits you will need to do your best to avoid.
1. Impulsive Betting
Do a Google search for betting tips, and you’ll be sure to read an advice to set a betting budget on every relevant article you find. This is because going to a casino or logging on to an online casino without first setting a limit to how much you are going to spend there is one of the quickest ways to run into financial trouble. Gambling without a budget leaves you vulnerable to placing a wager or wagering a huge amount on a whim, just because you’re “feeling lucky” at that moment.
It goes without saying that wagering on a whim is a recipe for disaster and one habit you definitely do not want to develop. Gambling without a budget also often results in spending more than you can afford and betting away money you don’t even have (credit card advances, taking out loans, borrowing money from the casino, etc.). This really should be a no-brainer, but because it tends to slip from the mind of so many people, it does bear repeating: Never spend more than you can afford and never gamble with money you don’t have.
Before you even start wagering, it is a good idea to have an unbiased person take a look at your finances to determine if you realistically have enough cash to spare for gambling. If you do, then you need to set a daily or weekly loss limit, depending on how often you plan to play at a casino. Most importantly, strictly adhere to the limit you’ve set so as to make sure that you never overextend your finances.
2. Using the ATM at a Casino
When gamblers run out of cash while playing at a casino, their first instinct would naturally be to find an ATM and withdraw some cash from there. We’re telling you right now: Don’t do that.
There is never a good reason to use an ATM in a casino. First of all, the charges for ATM transactions are much higher in those machines you find at a casino. Second, getting cash from an ATM when you’re in a casino is most likely done just to satisfy your need to experience the rush of having cash in your hands, rather than to actually spend on something you need.
The best thing to do is to take out some cash before going to the casino. Hopefully, you’ve already set a limit on how much to spend on that particular casino trip, in which case you could take out that much cash so you won’t have to use the casino ATM. You will need a lot of willpower for this, but you have to make sure you don’t spend more than the cash you have on hand.
3. Keeping Your Gambling Activities a Secret
Many people keep the fact that they gamble occasionally a secret from family and friends. The moment you start doing this is the moment you start having some serious gambling problems. There is nothing wrong with playing casino games from time to time. There isn’t even anything wrong with playing casino games on a regular basis; provided, of course, that you have your gambling habit under control. So there really isn’t any reason for you to keep this habit a secret.
In fact, it is advisable for you to share your casino experience with family members and/or close friends. Talk to them about your wins and losses. Tell them about your favorite games, and which games you avoid. Let them know when you usually go to casinos or log on to online casinos. Tell them which casinos (online or physical) you frequent and why you like them.
Letting people know the truth about your gambling activities is one of the best ways of keeping the habit under control. It will help you develop the right perspective about gambling, and help ensure that there will always be someone who can call your attention in case you start developing casino habits that are likely to lead into trouble.
If you are able to successfully avoid these three bad habits, you should be able to enjoy gambling without worrying about getting into financial trouble. When we keep our eyes open and see the roadblocks ahead, we will be better able to avoid them.
Breaking Bad Habits
The ideal, of course, is to enjoy playing casino games without developing any bad habits and getting into financial trouble. But the ideal does not always happen. For one reason or another, some people fail to resist temptation and start developing habits that lead to gambling addiction. And that is when the downward spiral begins.
The good news is that even if you’ve noticed a few of these bad habits in yourself lately, it’s not the end of the world for you. There are still steps you can take to get rid of those bad habits and turn your life around. You may have fallen, but you can still pick yourself up and turn gambling into a hobby again, rather than an addiction. Here are some of the most effective steps towards breaking a gambling addiction:
1. Tell your family and close friends about your addiction. Yes, it can be very difficult to acknowledge to yourself that you have become addicted to gambling or have developed some very bad casino habits that are undoubtedly leading to an addiction, and it is even harder to admit this to someone else. But if you really want to break your bad habits, then you have to gather enough courage to accept that there is a problem and to seek help from the people closest to you.
Having the support of family and friends can be crucial to your recovery. And more often than not, those who inform people about their goal of getting rid of a bad habit become more motivated to actually do it. It is more difficult to make excuses when several people know about your situation, so you will be more likely to focus on overcoming your addiction and/or breaking your bad habits.
2. Go cold turkey. This is another advice that may seem impossible to heed, but is absolutely necessary when it comes to bad gambling habits. After telling family and friends that you have a gambling problem and you are planning to break the bad habits that have led to that problem, you need to start avoiding casinos (physical and online), and venues or situations that have anything to do with betting.
The first 48 hours are crucial where this step is concerned, because that is when you will be most tempted to say, “The heck with it, I’m just gonna go for one game,” and then start the vicious cycle again. Once you have successfully gone through 48 hours without any betting activity, it should become a little easier to stay away from betting as each day goes by.
There may come a time when you would want to engage in wagering again, but it’s important to first make a clean break. When you’re confident that you can play betting games again without going back to your bad gambling habits, then that is the only time you can visit a casino again. Going back before you really are ready could just result in the same old problems, and it just might be more difficult to break your bad habits the second time around.
3. Get yourself banned. If you believe that you don’t have enough willpower to stay away from casinos for, say, a year so you can clean up your act, then take the option of having yourself banned from gambling establishments for that period of time. This way, you will be forced to stay away even when you are tempted to go back and actually find yourself going to a casino; the establishment itself will not give you the chance to give in to the temptation.
4. Choose a substitute activity. Sometimes the best way to keep from being tempted to pursue harmful activities is to have something to do in lieu of that activity. Map out a plan for substituting you betting activities with something else. When do you usually go to casinos? What are the usual reasons why you go to casinos? Whom do you usually go with when you gamble?
Have a plan for what to do at times when you usually go to casinos. It’s a good idea to write down those plans, so you’ll have something you can check when the situations that usually cause you to feel the need to unwind at a casino arise. Plan out activities that will be sure to keep you away from the people who usually invite or accompany you to casinos.
5. Join forces with someone who is also trying to break bad casino habits. Just like losing weight, breaking bad casino habits is best done with a buddy. You become more motivated to succeed when you know someone is with you every step of the way. You can encourage each other and celebrate each other’s milestones. Knowing that someone other than yourself is expecting you to do better is a great motivator.
To make it even easier to stay on course, prepare a contract where you write down the details of what each of you needs to do in order to break your respective bad habits. Indicate your triggers and what can be done to cut those triggers. Map out a timeline and set milestones. Sign the contract and give it to another person you can trust. That person can be the one to check your progress and regularly remind you and your buddy of what you had promised in the contract.
It can be easy to drown in the emotions brought about by the negative results of bad casino habits. You will probably feel guilty and waste a lot of time thinking of what you could have done differently and how you could have avoided the situation you’re currently in. But that won’t solve your problem. So get up, brace yourself, and start taking the necessary steps towards breaking bad casino habits and breaking away from a gambling addiction.