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March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month and, here at LegitimateCasino, we believe it’s a great time to stop and reflect on our gambling habits. Although we all love the fun and excitement that comes from playing and betting online, we also know that gambling can be addictive and become a problem for some people.
Online gambling should be fun and relaxing, a form of entertainment like many others. But when it crosses that line and starts taking a toll on our lives, it’s time to do some soul searching and ask ourselves some difficult questions.
Are we spending an increasing amount of time and money gambling online? Are we having trouble cutting back? Is online gambling putting strain on some of the important relationships in our lives? Is it negatively affecting our finances?
Tips For Safer Gambling
If you answered “yes” to some of the questions above, it could be time to get some help. BeGambleAware.org has very useful advice to help you keep safe attitudes and behaviors towards gambling:
Don’t think of gambling as a way to make money
Think of it as an entertainment expense. Keep in mind that gambling is designed to make the casinos money, not the other way around.
Set a budget in advance
We all know it’s easy to get carried away and continue playing well past the amount we wanted to spend. Set a budget like you would for a night out and stick to it. If you’ll be visiting a brick-and-mortar casino, don’t take your credit card with you.
Set a time limit before your start
You know how easy it is to lose track of time when you’re gambling. Set an alarm for yourself and when it goes off, it’s time to stop. Don’t chase your losses, it never works out in your favor.
Enjoy other activities besides gambling
Join a book club, spend time with friends, take art lessons. Participate in other activities you enjoy besides gambling.
Remember to take breaks
Stand up and get some fresh air or get something to eat. Gambling for prolonged periods will make you lose track of time and perspective.
Don’t drink or take drugs while gambling
Alcohol and drugs will cloud your judgement. Avoid drinking or taking drugs while you’re playing.
Only gamble when you feel well-rested and happy
Gambling when you’re feeling sad or anxious is definitely a bad idea and won’t help you make good choices.
Additional Tools To Control The Urge To Gamble
All this said, a lot of people are not good at setting boundaries for themselves and feel like they need some outside help. If this is your case, don’t worry, as there are several resources you can take advantage of – both online and offline.
Some are only temporary, others more permanent and others are just ways to help you not think about gambling as often.
- Gambling Blocking Software: it is software that can be downloaded to your device (computer, phone or tablet) and that limits access to gambling websites. Some examples of gambling blocking software include gamban.com, gamblock.com and betfilter.com. Most of them allow you to choose between a temporary and a permanent block.
- Limiting Gambling Ads Online: if you want to avoid the temptation, limiting gambling ads is probably a good idea. On Facebook, you can adjust your ad preferences to exclude gambling-related ads. On Twitter, you’re going to need to block specific companies and casinos as there is no way to apply a more general block. The same applies to Google: you can block specific advertisers (like 888 or Bet365) and then mute similar ads.
- Self Exclusion: self exclusion means asking the casino to to refuse service and prevent you from gambling for a certain period of time. This can go from 6 to 12 months but can reach 5 years in the case of online gambling.
Help With A Gambling Problem
Gambling addiction is a real thing and, just like with alcohol or drug addiction, some people need professional to recover.
If you are having trouble cutting back or stopping completely by yourself, there are lots of organizations that can help you. Check out their websites, read through their recovery stories and definitely contact them if you feel you need additional help.
You can also check out our complete guide on Problem Gambling for more information on how to recognize the signs of a gambling problem and tips to help yourself or a loved one.