When you are a member of an online casino, you will be familiar with the warnings that crop up here and there – on review sites, on the casino site itself, and from everyone who knows you bet online. These warnings are not straight-up insistences that you refrain from gambling, but they are serious advice. They tend to be specifically related to whether or not you are gambling responsibly and sensibly, which is a perfectly good warning to make for any casino player.
But what does “gambling sensibly” mean? Most of us would, if we were asked whether we gamble sensibly, respond saying that we do. That’s true of most of us including those who will later learn that they have a gambling problem. Everyone thinks they are sensible, until they are given reason to believe that they aren’t. So it is useful to have some key parameters which decide whether or not your gambling is responsible. Let’s look into those borders below…
Are you dipping into money you need?
There are two different kinds of money in your general budget – cash that you need to pay for things such as rent, bills and travel, and disposable income. The latter is money that you can use for any purpose; money that you might spend on a trip to the cinema or a new pair of shoes. If you spend disposable income in a casino, that’s fine as long as you’re prepared to accept you might lose it. But if you are betting money that you need for rent and travel, you definitely are not betting sensibly. You can’t leave yourself in a position where you might be left without accommodation because you lost at betting.
Are you setting limits?
Let’s lift the lid a little on what it’s like when you reveal you have a gambling problem and seek help. The first thing any responsible counsellor will recommend is that you place forceful limits that prevent you from gambling in an unsafe manner. (Usually, this will mean gambling at all). To gamble sensibly, you need to have limits that you impose on yourself and stick to. These are both financial and time limits. You should only be betting a certain amount at a time, and not borrowing from other budgets to bet more. Equally, no matter how well things are going, you should set a hard time limit – an hour at a time, max – after which you log out and spend some time doing other things.
Do you know what you have won and lost?
It is sensible to keep track – on paper, if necessary – of what you spend at each sitting when you are betting, and of what you win. It’s just good accounting, for one thing, but additionally your time spent betting online should not start to become just some undifferentiated jumble of time. The more it just becomes “noise” in your memory, the harder it is to separate your betting from the rest of your life, and that is one sure way to end up with a problem. Keep track of things, and you’ll naturally be more cautious, which is essential.