Here at BetAid, our aim is to not only support those with gambling issues but to stamp out gambling addiction completely, working in a proactive manner than a reactive one. Offering links to charities, organisations as well as useful guides for advice, we have made it our mission to encourage healthy relationships with gambling.
Below, we take a look at some measures bettors can take to ensure the odd flutter on the horses or bet on a football match remains a fun, enjoyable pastime. So, if you are concerned your gambling is becoming habitual or problematic, take note of the below tips.
Set yourself a financial limit
Though setting yourself a limit may seem like an obvious point, it is nonetheless a valid one. This is because over 85% of UK gamblers fail to put any type of financial budget on themselves when logging onto a betting site or entering a betting shop. Just like you would on the weekly shop or a night out with friends, put a figure in your mind in which you know you cannot afford to exceed. While this may not work every time, it will give you a grasp on what is and is not acceptable to spend on gambling.
View gambling as a form of entertainment, not a way to make money
If you view gambling as a way to make money quickly then you have an unhealthy relationship with it already. To prevent addiction, it is essential that you see gambling for what it is; a form of entertainment. By no means should gambling be seen as an income stream. It is also important that you use disposable income for gambling purposes. If you find yourself dipping into the money for your bills, intervention is required.
Do not try and win back losses
If you have lost your bet on a horse, a football match or a game of roulette, you must understand that that money is gone. While the temptation may be there to ‘chase the bet’ and keep gambling until you are in the black, it is a method that has proven to fail. While it only takes one good win to turn things around, it also takes one big loss to put you on the downwards spiral into financial stress and addiction.
Don’t get sucked into free bets and promotions
If you see a deal flashing up on your device that seems too good to be true then the chances are that is probably is. This is certainly the case when it comes to free bets and promotions featured on gambling sites.
Free bets are a great way for gambling sites to initially attract bettors, hooking you in with the chance to bet for free. But, like anything, you need to read the small print. The majority of free bets are ‘matched’, meaning you have to fork out a predetermined sum to get that free bet in the first place. So, when thinking about it, it is not free at all is it?
What’s more is that many of the big-name bookies are now bundling free bets in with other welcome offers. One of the most common is free spins on roulette wheels. As well as giving you a free £10 to spend on a sports bet, bookmakers are actively encouraging their users to try new gambling products which only enhances the risk of a gambling addiction being formed.
Also, withdrawal requirements may change if looking to take out winnings made from a free bet. So, what first looked like a free £10 could now be the start of a long drawn-own betting spree.
Find another vice
Like all addictions, gambling can activate the brain's reward system, giving us a sort of rush and dose of adrenaline that makes us feel good in that moment. But, the last thing you want to do that so many gambling addicts do is replace one bad habit with another.
So, if you are trying to keep your mind off of gambling, find a healthy hobby to put your energy into. Exercise, reading and art are all good ones!
Talk to friends and family
If you have found yourself struggling to keep gambling at bay, be sure to talk to your friends and family, being honest about your feelings and more importantly, your struggles. Combatting an addiction is a lot easier if you have a support network around you.
Keeping you on the straight and narrow, your friends and family can offer a helping hand, a shoulder to cry on and generally support you. However, we do understand that talking about such subjects can be difficult. If you are finding it hard to get the words out and communicate your gambling concerns with those closest to you, you could try contacting them via email or with a letter. Such methods can be effective in helping you open up and say exactly what you need to.
If you are really finding it difficult to control your gambling spend and the amount of time you are dedicating to gambling then self-exclusion may be your best bet. This is a scheme that permits problem gamblers to exclude themselves from the five main sectors of the gambling industry. The majority of betting sites will advise you how to do this through the ‘Responsible Gambling’ section of their website. You can also opt out of being a customer by contacting the site’s customer service team or requesting exclusion via email. Most gambling providers will also have a Live Chat feature that you can do this through. But, this will only take away your ability to access that particular online venue.
There are however ways to exclude yourself from more than one operator, with multi-operator schemes available to UK residents. This can be actioned via GAMSTOP. GAMSTOP is a free service that lets gamblers to shut themselves off from gambling activities.
Taking just a few minutes to set up, GAMSTOP also offer a range of supportive tools and guidance; all of which can be accessed through their website.
Need help addressing your gambling issues? If so, find help through our directory, accessing the many charities, non-profits, helplines and Government-run support services out there for problem gamblers.