Online casinos and sportsbooks have exploded in popularity, over just the last four years, 80 million new players have started gambling online. As the industry continues to grow, it is important that players understand how to gamble responsibly, how to identify problem gambling warning signs, and get the help they need.
MDBS Pledge: Our website might be committed to sports betting, but we first and foremost want to ensure all our readers will have a safe and pleasant experience if they decide to start betting.
Below, you will find a wealth of resources and strategies to help you safely bet online.
Responsible gambling is a framework that allows you to enjoy online gambling without suffering any negative effects on your life or health. Online sportsbooks are now mandated by gambling authorities to follow certain responsible gambling rules like giving players the option to set spending limits and self-exclude, and conducting welfare checks on players.
When you are gambling responsibility, you are in control of your betting and having. You are not feeling stressed when you place a bet or angry when you lose. You feel like you can stop at any time, and you understand that sports betting is just a fun hobby.
It is common for players to lie to themselves about their destructive gambling habits. If you exhibit these problem gambling behaviors, it is worth taking a break and assessing the impact online betting is having on your life:
- Chasing losses – After suffering a loss, gamblers often bet erratically in hopes of recouping their losses, this only compounds losses.
- Focusing on potential winnings – Problem gamblers are often unable to acknowledge the risk of their decisions. They can only think about all of the money they are going to win and end up betting too much or making risky bets that lead to serious losses.
- Losing money that you can’t afford to lose – Are you having to cut back on essential items due to your gambling spending? Gambling losses should have no impact on your financial status.
- Feeling guilty about gambling – Deep down, you know if your gambling habits are negatively affecting your life. Feelings of guilt and depression are common signs that your betting habits have gotten out of control.
- Getting angry and stressed when you lose – Sports betting should be a fun activity that makes watching events more exciting. If it is causing negative emotions, then you should not continue participating.
The last thing you want to do is ignore the above warning signs and turn a small gambling problem into a serious addiction. If you are experiencing any negative thoughts towards online gambling or it is even minorly impacting your life, it is wise to do a self-audit.
While a small percentage of players do exhibit problem gambling tendencies, the vast majority of players can bet on sports safely and responsibly. To have a great time when gambling, follow these tips:
- Don’t expect to make money – When sports betting, you need to set your expectations correctly from the beginning. You should treat sports betting as a hobby, which is most likely going to cost you money. By setting these expectations, you will be pleasantly surprised when you pick some winners, and you won’t be disappointed when your team blows a 4th quarter lead.
- Have a strict budget – You need to come up with a sports betting budget that you can afford to lose per week or month. This amount is going to vary based on your net worth and lifestyle. However, losing this money should not cause negative emotions, and it should have zero impact on your financial status.
- Use a deposit limit – If you feel like you might go over your budget, you can set a strict limit at your sportsbook. Once this limit is set, your sportsbook will block any deposits that exceed the limit, preventing you from overspending.
- Be honest with your family and friends – Make sure that your friends and family are fully aware of your gambling habits. They will be able to give you advice and warn you if you are showing signs of problem gambling or spending too much money.
- Don’t gamble under the influence – To ensure you make wise betting decisions, do not place wagers while under the influence of alcohol or medication, which affects your decision-making abilities.
- Have other hobbies – Sports betting should only be one small aspect of your life. If it takes on too big of a focus, then you are more likely to engage in problem gambling. Remember to take regular breaks and have other things on your mind apart from just NFL spread odds.
- Set a time limit – Even if you are not spending significant amounts of money gambling, you may be wasting your time, which may be negatively impacting your work performance or time with your family. At a sportsbook, you can set a daily time limit, and once this expires, you won’t be able to sign into your account for 24 hours.
While the above strategies do work for a number of players, they are not effective if you have a serious gambling problem. In that situation, you should seek professional help and stop all gambling immediately.
If you believe you have a gambling problem, then you are most likely right. You should self-exclude from all of your sports betting accounts and contact a mental health professional.
A mental health professional will conduct a full evaluation and be able to determine if you suffer from gambling addiction. You may require ongoing counseling and treatment to manage your gambling problem.
Thankfully, there are a large number of varied free support services that specialize in gambling addiction, including free counselors. These experts have successfully treated players suffering from gambling addiction and are ready to assist you 24/7.
|Australia||Gambling Help Online||Counseling and information 24/7||www.gamblinghelponline.org.au||1800 858 858|
|Canada||Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)||Counselling||www.camh.ca||416 535-8501, press 21|
|India||Hope Trust||Counselling, CBT, interventions||https://hopetrustindia.com||+91 90008 50001|
|New Zealand||Gambling Helpline||Counselling||https://gamblinghelpline.co.nz||0800 654 655|
|United Kingdom||GamCare||Counselling||www.gamcare.org.uk||0808 8020 133|
|United States||National Council on Problem Gambling||Counselling||www.ncpgambling.org||1-800-GAMBLER|
|South Africa||South African Responsible Gambling Foundation (SARGF)||Counselling||https://responsiblegambling.org.za||+27 11 026 7323|
How Do They Treat Gambling Addiction?
The most common way gambling addiction is treated is via counseling sessions with a professional mental health worker. During counseling, the mental health expert will help the player identify why they gamble and come up with strategies to alter their behavior so gambling no longer negatively impacts their life.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) plays a big role in treating gambling addiction. The mental health expert will help the player identify triggers that lead them to gambling, such as stress or depression. They will help the player restructure their thought process so they don’t constantly have the urge to gamble when they feel sad or are bored.
The therapist will often have the player keep a journal and write down their feelings and triggers and get the player to set goals, for example, no gambling for 90 days. Through therapy, players can successfully overcome gambling addiction, with Gamblers Anonymous claiming a 70% sustained recovery rate.
Problem gambling and gambling addiction can seriously negatively affect all aspects of your life, from finances and mental health to career and relationships with friends and family to even your physical health. It is estimated that up to 5% of players are problem gamblers, and millions of players have sought professional help to overcome this issue.
Due to the seriousness of gambling addiction, you should look out closely for the warning signs that we mentioned above, as they can really sneak up on you. And if online sports betting is negatively impacting your life in any way, then we recommend stop playing and consider getting professional help. All of the problem gambling services above offer professional counseling and are 24/7 and free.