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Placing a bet? Here’s how to make sure your gambling doesn’t get out of control

22nd April 2016

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Physical addictions may be easily recognised, but hidden addictions like gambling are much harder to spot.

The ease of gambling from the comfort of your smart phone has meant that it’s easy to lose track of how much you end up spending. But of course, having fun with friends in poker games on a Friday night can still be fun - if you’re sensible with your money.

Young people struggle to manage their finances and keep a balance of having fun and leaving themselves skint. It can be difficult to work out how much things are likely to cost you, but if you try to stick to a general budget of how much you will spend on social activities, partying and having a night of poker, then you can make a judgement of how sensible you are being with your money.

Gambling safely doesn’t involve any complicated maths calculations, but a logical attitude. By keeping some key points in mind you can avoid getting yourself into debt or on the path to developing an addiction.

Right attitude – gambling should be seen as something fun - the odd bet on the horses or an entertaining poker game shouldn’t be perceived as a means to make money. It should also not be seen as a way to get away from your problems; it could make them worse.

Set limits – it’s important to set limits on how much you will spend on gambling. It’s best to have set money aside for basic living expenses (food, bills, rent). Then set yourself a small budget out of your disposable income. Don’t change your limit whilst playing, as it will be easy to get carried away and spend a lot more money than you anticipated. Therefore it might be wise to only take cash with you when you go out to gamble, that way you won’t over spend if you don’t have a credit/debit card with you.

Don’t borrow money to gamble – when you run out of money don’t borrow from family and friends to gamble - it can lead to problems in the relationships and also cause dependency to keep borrowing from your nearest and dearest. Borrowing from the bank can be just as damaging; getting out loans or using your credit card to gamble can really impact your credit score.

Have some knowledge – although it’s not important to know everything about gambling, it is important to know the benefits and risks involved. This includes knowing that in certain games the odds are against you, so the chances of you winning are slim. A perfect example would be that you are 24 times more likely to be struck by lightening than win the lottery.  It is always necessary to remember that you should be prepared for loss, but also not to chase a loss and know when to quit.

Don’t mix gambling with alcohol and drugs  - to avoid any unpleasant situations; gambling shouldn’t be mixed with alcohol and drugs. Not to say when you’re with your friends you can’t gamble and have a drink or two, but don’t get out of control so thatyou can’t make rational decisions as this will lead to risky behaviours.  

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