Feb 9, 2024: We are heading towards the biggest gambling day of the year, Superbowl. On the radio this morning was promotion of all the different types of bets one can make – outside of the big game itself – from the coin toss, to how many times Taylor Swift will be shown, to what colour ‘Gatorade Shower’ the winning coach will receive.
Gambling is a form of entertainment, as well as a business – designed to make money for the operator, not the player. To keep gambling fun, here are 3 strategies that help keep gambling in the ‘recreational’ category:
- Set a budget, gamble with pre-set limits, for both money and time spent. Set a budget for total money you will wager (what you are willing to lose), and set win and loss limits (at what limit will you stop). Also set a budget for time spent gambling, including any research you are doing before you place your bets.
- Don’t chase money won, or money lost – don’t expect to repeat wins, or try to recover money that’s been lost.
- Limit your alcohol and/cannabis intake while gambling, substances impair our thinking and decision making.
Recreational gamblers gamble for fun, not to win, or ‘make’ money. They expect to lose – they hope to win, but don’t expect to win. And they accept losses without chasing them. Problem gamblers expect to win, and move into chasing money won or lost. A big win early in one’s gambling history is a strong predictor of developing a problem with gambling.
Gambling problems exist along a continuum, based on a range of involvement, where individuals invest more Time, Energy and Money into gambling. Over time, the Consequences become more problematic, spending more money than intended, spending more time than intended. Losing track of time and money is an indicator that a problem is developing. Preoccupation with gambling is also an indictor of a problem developing: increasing amounts of time spent planning and preparing to gamble, reliving past gambling experiences, or covering up gambling. While gambling will result in periodic wins, over time, due to the nature of odds, probabilities, and chance, generally the more people play, the more they will pay.
If you are having some concerns about your gambling. or that of someone you care about, and would like to check out some resources, here are a variety:
Free Online Resources:
- Self Assessment: https://www.bcresponsiblegambling.ca/support/self-assessment
- Choices & Chances’ : https://choicesandchances.ca/
- “Problem Gambling: The Issues, The Options”: www.problemgambling.ca/EN/Documents/2845-PG_IssuesOptions_Dec08.pdf
- ProblemGambling.ca Workbook: ‘how to quit or reduce your gambling‘ : https://www2.gnb.ca/content/dam/gnb/Departments/h-s/pdf/en/Gambling/treatement-program_personal-workbook.pdf
- California Dept of Alcohol & Drug Programs, Office of Problem Gambling: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/OPG/CDPH%20Document%20Library/Freedom-Workbook-ADA.pdf
- Harvard Medical School: Division on Addictions: http://s96539219.onlinehome.us/toolkits/FirstStepSite/main.htm
- Addictions Foundation of Manitoba Self Study Guide: http://getgamblingfacts.ca/pdf/Self_StudyBook.pdf
Fold em is a podcast hosted by the counsellors in the Gambling Support BC Program, through the Gambling Problem Help website. Whether you are looking at stopping or scaling back your own gambling or supporting a loved one with a problem, this podcast will help you take back control. Hear from gamblers who have been through it and get tips from counsellors. There is a way out from the hold gambling has on your life. Fold em can help get you there: http://playpodca.st/foldem
If you would like to connect with me, feel free to reach out here: 604-888-9294 or firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are located somewhere else in British Columbia, you can reach out to our Gambling Support BC Line for a referral to a counsellor or outreach support in your area, 1-888-795-6111 or complete this contact form and someone will reach out to you within 24 hours: https://bit.ly/3nxYk0v