How to Protect Yourself From Harmful Gambling
Gambling involves risking something of value (money, property or personal possessions) on an activity with a random or uncertain outcome. It may involve betting on sporting events, horse races, political elections and other outcomes. It can also include games of chance, where skill does not play a role in the outcome (such as card games and roulette). It can take place in casinos, on television and online. There is a strong link between gambling and mental health problems, so it is important to seek help if you are struggling.
Gambling can be a fun and social activity, but for some people it becomes a serious addiction that leads to financial and personal problems. The best way to protect yourself from harmful gambling is to only gamble with money you can afford to lose and never chase your losses. You should also create a budget and stick to it, and not use money that you need for rent or bills.
While there have always been professional gamblers who make their living from the activity, it has also been a popular pastime for many and a common source of entertainment. It has also been the focus of legal disputes and a number of countries have made it illegal to participate. However, there has been a recent softening of attitudes towards gambling and a relaxation of laws in some jurisdictions.
In addition to medication, cognitive-behaviour therapy can be an effective treatment for gambling disorder. It teaches patients to resist unwanted thoughts and habits. It can also help them to confront irrational beliefs, such as the belief that a string of losses or a near miss—like two out of three cherries on a slot machine—signals an imminent win.
Another way to protect yourself from harmful gambling is to set limits and stop before you get into trouble. Only gamble with money that you can afford to lose and avoid free drinks at the casino, as they are meant to draw you in. Never think that you are due for a big win, as this is known as the gambler’s fallacy. In fact, the more you lose, the less likely you are to win.
The easiest way to address harmful gambling is to get help if you are struggling. There are a range of organisations that provide support and advice, including StepChange’s debt advisors. It is important to address your gambling problem as soon as you can, before it starts having a serious effect on your finances and quality of life. If you are struggling with gambling issues and would like to speak to a debt adviser, call us today on 0800 138 1111. Our service is free, confidential and available 24/7.