UNITED STATES—Responsible gambling is something every fan of casinos and sports betting should aspire towards. However, it is also a tricky ideal to achieve if you do not actively think about the best ways to go about it.
With that said, here are some sensible strategies that will allow you to enjoy gambling in the most responsible manner.
Remember to make a budget before you get started
Gambling can become a problem if you spend more money on wagering than you can afford to lose. The best way to avoid this is to do some calculations and set aside some cash that you can commit to gambling without getting yourself into financial dire straits.
It is worth approaching gambling like any other hobby. You would pay to see your favorite sports team play, and the same applies to paying to spin the reels of slot machines or to take a chance on a hand of poker.
Budgeting ahead of time will let you reframe gambling in this way, rather than allowing yourself to overspend when you hit a losing streak.
Don’t forget about taxes
Losing money has its problems, but winning a large sum when you gamble could also put you in hot water if you do not take the right steps afterwards.
The question is, do you have to pay taxes on slot machine winnings or can you take it all? The answer is ‘it depends’. The amount you win, the game you are playing and the regulations of the region you live in will influence the outcome.
In the US, slot wins over $1,200 are taxed at 25%, while you will not need to pay tax on poker winnings after a tournament unless the amount you walk away with exceeds $5,000. To avoid issues with the tax man, always follow the instructions provided by the casino itself, and consult an accountant or professional financial advisor in the case of a big win.
Use built-in limits to your advantage
A growing number of online casino operators offer players built-in protections to help them gamble responsibly. However, it is up to you to implement the use of these features in many cases, so you have to be proactive before anything goes awry.
For example, some sites will let you limit the amount you can deposit to your account at any one time, as well as putting caps on how much you can deposit within a given period, whether that is a day, week or month.
Leveraging limits so that you can manage your spending automatically will give you that peace of mind you need to play within the budget you set.
Be honest about your habits
If you enjoy gambling, you also need to know that part of placing wagers responsibly is also letting those around you know what you are doing.
If you find that you feel like you have to lie to your loved ones about this pastime, it might be a sign that you are either taking things too far, or you are being needlessly deceitful and potentially setting yourself up for a fall that could be avoided with a little honesty.
Pay attention to your emotions
When we are in a bad place emotionally, we tend to make bad decisions. This applies to gambling as much as to any other area of life. So if you are feeling low, or some issue in your life is causing stress, then it is not a good time to gamble.
The solution is to only participate in gambling when you are in a good mood and you are just looking for a fun way to pass the time for a little while. That way you will be upbeat, and have a better chance of being responsible when choosing how to proceed in whatever gambling activity you prefer.
Never think of gambling as a route out of money trouble
If you are already having to face up to a tough financial situation, the chances are that things will get much worse if you try to gamble your way to a healthy bank balance.
Only a tiny handful of people are able to reliably make money from gambling, and only then when playing poker. All other forms of gambling are almost entirely controlled by blind luck rather than skill, and the games are designed to have the odds stacked against players.
If you are gambling to make money, then you are not gambling responsibly, and things will only end badly.