How To Save Money And Stop Gambling just a few hours to play your bonus funds. It’s usually the case that online casinos stipulate a wager requirement for winnings received via How To Save Money And Stop Gambling no deposit bonus offers. This wagering requirement could range from ten to 200 times How To Save Money And Stop Gambling. Limiting the amount of money carried and limiting the cash amount available on debit and credit cards Pre-purchasing goods and paying bills first to reduce the risk of spending bill and household money on gambling. People who have changed their gambling said family and friends were very important in the success of this strategy.
There is no perfect way for you to prevent yourself from going broke through gambling, except to not gamble at all. At the end of the day it all comes down to your own self discipline and your ability to recognize that you may be risking too much. Before it goes that far, you can (and should) create some wiggle room so that you can enjoy the entertainment without having to constantly do a sanity check. Most of us won’t question what we are doing; in fact, it’s probably not normal to keep yourself in constant check.
What is good common sense, though, is to impose some limits on your self indulgence and to respect those boundaries. Most of us are easily capable of setting and staying inside personal boundaries. Whether you aspire to be a professional gambler or just want to have a good time every time you visit a casino, here are a few achievable things you can do to protect yourself from wandering into bad habits.
1. Create Your Own Private Gambling Fund
We always say, “don’t bet the rent check” when you go gambling. But what should you bet? Honestly, if you are planning for a weekend trip to Vegas you probably think about setting back a certain amount of money for hotel rooms, food, travel, gifts, and gambling. If you want to gamble more often than once a year then you should set up a dedicated gambling fund and only gamble with that money.
This can be as simple as an envelope you stuff with $20 bills once a week, or a bank account separate from where you keep your household checking account. There are some in-between options, too. The idea is to help you set aside a little bit of money each week that you choose to live without. In an emergency you can take money from this fund to help pay for unexpected expenses.
How much you set back is up to you, but it should be a modest amount. Paying your bills on time should come before saving money for anything else.
2. Prioritize Your Savings Plans
The old adage “don’t bite off more than you can chew” applies to managing your money as much as it does to eating dinner. Regardless of how old you are, you should have clear priorities about how to manage the money you have after you pay the monthly bills.
It doesn’t matter how much is left over, because saving only $1 a week is $52 in just a year. Don’t let how little discretionary cash you have each week or month discourage you from saving. Your first priority should always be to save something.
After that you need to think about savings in three tiers:
- Emergency fund
- Long-term savings
- Fun money
Personal finance experts usually recommend setting back 3 to 6 months’ income for an emergency fund. Although how quickly you accumulate that money is up to you. The sooner you reach that point the better, because then you can take that weekly or monthly emergency fund allocation and put it elsewhere until you have to replenish the fund.
Long-terms savings includes retirement, saving up for a down payment on a house, college funds, or any other big expense that requires 2 or more years of savings. You should always be putting money into this kind of savings.
“Fun money” is for everything else, from buying those cool $400 head phones you have been looking at in the store to a weekend in Vegas. If you create a dedicated gambling fund it should be funded out of this category of your savings plan.
As long as you live below your means you should always be able to save money. That is literally the secret to financial success: spend less than you earn. Good money management merely requires that you prioritize your savings plans, and saving for gambling should be the least important of your savings priorities.
3. Always Gamble On a Budget
Regardless of whether you set up a savings account for gambling expenses you should always plan ahead for how much money you are willing to spend on gambling. If you have $1000 in your discretionary funds and you can afford to lose $200 at the casino, set that as your budget.
But the neat thing about a budget is that it works both ways. Not only do you plan what goes out, but you also plan for what comes in. When you gamble — sometimes you win. What should you do with your winnings?
Most people will probably never get or stay very far ahead, and about 80% of us are okay with that. To us gambling is a form of entertainment similar to amusement parks, concerts, or spending a day at a ballpark. All of these things cost us money and we have good times spending that money, but we don’t come back laden with bags of riches.
Nonetheless, what should you do when you unexpectedly win a few hundred or even a few thousand dollars? Your budget should tell you where to put that money.
For example, prioritize the allocation of your winnings in (somewhat) reverse order:
- Pay back into your gambling fund
- Top off your emergency fund
- Pay into the rest of your “fun money” savings
- Invest the rest in your long-term savings
If your gambling can pay for itself for a while, let it do so. Take the money you would normally allocate to the gambling fund and put it into a more important fund, such as your emergency fund or long-term savings. But if you are trying to save up for some other entertainment expense such as a family vacation, then send your gambling winnings or regular allocation toward that goal.
It’s easier to maintain this kind of discipline when you keep your gambling money separate from everything else, even if it’s only sitting in an envelope in a shoe-box in the back of your closet.
4. Divide Your Evening Stake Into 3 to 5 Portions
When you are gambling online you usually transfer a certain amount of money from your casino account into your game account. Try not to put everything into the game account. You may play the game too long if you lose your money quickly and could easily deplete your full balance. The way you budget your monthly income across expenses and savings should be the way you want to budget your gambling stake across games.
If you visit land based casinos you should take a variety of cash denominations with you. For example, take 10 to 30 one dollar bills so that you can tip the casino staff in cash to thank them, especially servers who bring you drinks. Unless you have a lot of cash to burn it’s also best to start playing with $20 bills rather than $50 or $100 bills. This way you begin playing modestly and your cash will last longer.
If you are playing in a casino where you cash out of games with tickets that you can insert into other games then keep three tickets going at all times. Try to keep them about equal in value. If you play one ticket down to zero then either break up another ticket into two or start a new ticket with another $20 bill.
The fewer bills you pull out of your wallet the better. The less money you spend in the evening the better. You may lose everything no matter what you do but if you want to enjoy several hours at the casino then make sure your money lasts that long. When you leave you want to leave feeling satisfied with your entertainment experience rather than like a sucker who could have done something better with that money.
5. Set Win / Loss Limits On Every Game
Win and loss limits are important rules for gamblers and investors alike. Although gambling and investing really work in different ways you can learn from how savvy investors manage their money. When an investor wants to play in a stock or other commodity he strives to “buy low” and “sell high”. That is how he makes a profit. You aren’t buying anything other than a chance to win a prize when you gamble but the concept of win and loss limits works about the same way in both investing and gambling.
The loss limit is the cutoff point where you either walk away from the investment (sell your stake) or the game (take your money off the table or out of the machine). If you start gambling with $50 you might set a loss limit of $25. But this is only one way to set a limit. Many players assume they should lose no more than 40-60% of their stake on any game. This is a “soft loss limit”.
A “hard loss limit” stipulates you are willing to lose a fixed dollar amount and no more. That $25 could be what you are willing to lose off $50, $500, or $1000.
The win limits work in the other direction. Again, you can have “soft win limits” where you think in terms of “I will quit when I triple my money” or “hard win limits” where you think, “I will quit when I have won X dollars”.
Good judgment is required for setting any kind of limit. You cannot predict how much you will lose or win when you gamble. No game owes you any amount of prizes and you don’t owe the games any more than whatever you are willing to wager on a single round of play.
A realistic limit is one you can live with. Can you live with losing $25 on this game? Can you live with walking away with $100 profit from this game? Desperation may tarnish your judgment when you lose and greed may drive up your unrealistic expectations when you win.
Developing good habits is your best bet when it comes to setting and living within win and loss limits. Make modest choices at first and adjust them according to your experience. You might find that a $25 loss limit is unrealistically large if you only make 50 cent wagers; or it could be too small a limit if you make $5 wagers.
You cannot control how much you win, either. Although it’s not a good idea to bet on single numbers if you do that at roulette, you’ll be tempted to say “it doesn’t count toward my win limit” if that single number comes in. You may feel that way if you win a $1000 jackpot on a slot game, too. Although most of the time you will win modest prizes you reach your win limit as soon as you have exceeded that arbitrary number. Everything counts even if you win a jackpot on the first spin.
Stick to your budget and your money management principles.
6. Leave Your Credit Cards at Home
Every land based casino has at least one ATM machine. And you may be able to withdraw money from your credit cards through the cashier. Don’t do this.
Never borrow money to gamble with because regardless of whether you win or lose you have to pay that money back. Adding debt to your personal financial portfolio hurts your credit. Worse, it changes how you must allocate your personal financial budget. If you’re just barely putting anything back for gambling fun then borrowing money may result in your having to make minimum payments that are higher than what you could previously afford to set aside for gambling.
If you are going to make payments to anyone for gambling expenses then make them to yourself via a savings plan, even if it’s just putting $20 into an envelope in a shoebox in the back of your closet once a month.
By the same token don’t take out lines of credit at casinos or with personal finance companies. Signature loans are the gasoline you heap on the flames of bad money management. Your only creditor should be your self-financed gambling fund. Borrow from that and nothing else.
7. Only Take a Debit Card for a Dedicated Gambling Bank Account With You
You cannot use an envelope stuffed full of $20 bills to fund an online gambling account but you can use electronic funding options. You can load money into those payment processing accounts (or purchase Bitcoin) with a debit card. By the same token if you are willing to pay the ATM fees it’s okay to take a debit card for your dedicated gambling bank account to the casino with you.
As long as the money you pull out of the bank was only ever intended for gambling you can do what you please with it. Just don’t take your household account’s debit card into the casino with you. Don’t use that account to fund your online gambling.
You have to be disciplined about managing your money. As mentioned above, it all comes down to your self-discipline. You can circumvent all your self-imposed controls and safeguards but making it inconvenient and tedious to do so is a great way to protect yourself.
8. Only Play Low Limit Games
You may have dreams of being a high roller but before you reach that stage in life you should resign yourself to the realm of low limit games. Assuming you are good enough to roll your money up in poker, blackjack, or even slot games you should not jump into high stakes gambling just because you got lucky.
I Need To Stop Gambling
Professional gamblers may work with investors who fund their activities. Wink bingo no deposit bonuses. Just because someone is a “pro” doesn’t mean he is living high on the hog from his winnings. For true lone wolf pro gamblers there will be times of feast and famine.
Most of us will do just fine by playing low limit games. We don’t plan to become professional gamblers and we don’t need to take on that kind of risk. Remember that every jackpot and big payoff is funded by other gamblers. And when you see someone win $500 at the high roller slot game, ask yourself how much money that prize cost them.
9. Be a Lion Among Mice, Not a Mouse Among Lions
If you want to play maximum bets then the best games to do that are the games with the lowest maximum bets. Most people now play the slots. Given a choice between two machines that offer the exact same game, but one has a maximum bet of $2 and one has a maximum bet of $20, you should play the $2 maximum bet.
There is a myth among slot players that the higher denomination machines pay better. Some of the programmers who design these games, and some of the casino executives to decide which games to offer their customers, have spoke about this myth on gambling forums and on social media sites like Quora. With very few exceptions these industry insiders say that there is no difference in the payback percentages between the high and low maximum machines running the same game.
There are several reasons why gamblers might draw the wrong conclusion about perceived advantages of higher maximum games. For example, you may be confusing two different versions of a game in the same series. The older game may be set for a lower denomination and a newer game may be set for a higher denomination. Many recent slot games do offer better payback percentages than older “classic” games.
10. Study the House Rules on Table Games
When you sit down at a blackjack table do you know what the table minimums, maximums, and special rules are? The casino displays them on a sign or card on the table. But many players, especially when they are tired or have had a little too much to drink, pay no attention to the house rules. You may be politely reminded by the dealer you are trying to play by the wrong rules.
Some casinos offer different rules for several tables they keep open at the same time. Some casinos also change the rules after 4PM in the afternoon and 2AM in the morning. Casinos may also close down tables for a while to keep the most possible players at the fewest possible tables.
Players may also have misconceptions about how games work. For example, if you have been told that single deck blackjack is the best version of the game you may not be able to find a single deck game that pays 3:2 odds; many casinos now pay 6:5 odds on single deck blackjack. Gamblers who don’t understand the difference between single zero (European) and double zero (American) roulette may assume the two versions of the game offer the same payback percentages.
In roulette you should look for European roulette tables that offer En Prison or La Partage rules. These are optional rules that reduce the house edge a little bit. Naturally, you may not find these rules at your local casino but you should look for them. Both rules are activated by a zero result on the wheel. Here is how they work:
The En Prison rule says that you, the player, can choose either to surrender half your bet or to leave it for the next spin in an all or nothing wager (even if the result is zero). The En Prison rule is only available on even money bets.
The La Partage rule requires that you lose half your bet when a zero result occurs.
11. Get Everything Free That You Possibly Can
Although some gambling advice articles go on about getting comps from the casinos the truth is that comps are usually only offered where the casinos hope to gain something in return. That may only be good will but it could be that they want to keep a player hanging around the casino.
How To Stop Gambling Forever
The easiest comps and free incentives are those that are tied to participating in a casino’s member loyalty program. You can earn points toward discounts at the casino’s restaurants, stores, and bars. If you think you will spend any time and money in those places you should be using your loyalty card on every game. You should be able to use a loyalty card even on the table games, even though you won’t see the points when you insert the cards into slot machines. Ask the casino concierge how that works.
But there are other ways to get free things. If you are vacationing in Las Vegas, Reno, Atlantic City, or really any large metropolitan area with easy access to a lot of casinos you should be looking for the best deals on everything from where you stay to where you eat to the cost of gasoline. Is it less expensive to travel by taxi or should you drive? Do you need to rent a car? Can you travel by bus? Does your hotel have a free shuttle service?
The less money you spend outside the casino the more money you have to enjoy the basics of your vacation, including on other forms of entertainment such as entrance fees for state and national parks. In other words, when you take a gambling vacation you want to protect your money in every aspect of the trip, not just inside the casino.
How To Stop Gambling Online
A common mistake casual travelers make is to visit several multi-hotel travel sites to look for great deals and make reservations. You may stay in a nice hotel but a different chain every time you travel. By joining a hotel’s member loyalty program you may be able to earn points toward future stays. With some chains you’ll also have access to lists of upcoming “grand openings” for new hotel locations, and sometimes you’ll find great deals for the first month. How you book and arrange your hotel may have a great impact on everything you do on your vacation and future trips.
Other freebies to look for include food discounts and giveaways, free rides on attractions, and free access to museums and other community venues. You may want to purchase a city coupon book that allows you and your family to visit all the great tourist attractions at a discount. These books may pay for themselves with as few as three visits. And if the casino happens to be offering any discounts or free attraction tickets, you will only know for sure if you ask the concierge.
Get every freebie you can. You and your fellow gamblers and tourists are paying for them in ways you don’t realize.
Although gambling is fun like any other form of entertainment it has evolved into an industry where the primary goal of every business in the industry is to make a profit. There are no non-profit casinos and if there were they would still have to keep some of the players’ money just to pay their expenses. As long as you treat gambling like an expense and budget for that expense carefully you should be able to enjoy gambling for a lifetime without hurting your personal finances or risking your retirement.
Are you or a loved one dealing with a gambling problem? Explore the warning signs and symptoms and learn how to stop.
What is gambling addiction and problem gambling?
Gambling problems can happen to anyone from any walk of life. Your gambling goes from a fun, harmless diversion to an unhealthy obsession with serious consequences. Whether you bet on sports, scratch cards, roulette, poker, or slots—in a casino, at the track, or online—a gambling problem can strain your relationships, interfere with work, and lead to financial disaster. You may even do things you never thought you would, like running up huge debts or even stealing money to gamble.
Gambling addiction—also known as pathological gambling, compulsive gambling or gambling disorder—is an impulse-control disorder. If you’re a compulsive gambler, you can’t control the impulse to gamble, even when it has negative consequences for you or your loved ones. You’ll gamble whether you’re up or down, broke or flush, and you’ll keep gambling regardless of the consequences—even when you know that the odds are against you or you can’t afford to lose.
Of course, you can also have a gambling problem without being totally out of control. Problem gambling is any gambling behavior that disrupts your life. If you’re preoccupied with gambling, spending more and more time and money on it, chasing losses, or gambling despite serious consequences in your life, you have a gambling problem.
A gambling addiction or problem is often associated with other behavior or mood disorders. Many problem gamblers also suffer with substance abuse issues, unmanaged ADHD, stress, depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder. To overcome your gambling problems, you’ll also need to address these and any other underlying causes as well.
Although it may feel like you’re powerless to stop gambling, there are plenty of things you can do to overcome the problem, repair your relationships and finances, and finally regain control of your life.
The first step is to separate the myths from the facts about gambling problems:
|Myths and Facts about Gambling Problems|
Myth: You have to gamble every day to be a problem gambler.
Fact: A problem gambler may gamble frequently or infrequently. Gambling is a problem if it causes problems.
Myth: Problem gambling is not really a problem if the gambler can afford it.
Fact: Problems caused by excessive gambling are not just financial. Too much time spent on gambling can also lead to relationship and legal problems, job loss, mental health problems including depression and anxiety, and even suicide.
Myth: Having a gambling problem is just a case of being weak-willed, irresponsible, or unintelligent.
Fact: Gambling problems affect people of all levels of intelligence and all backgrounds. Previously responsible and strong-willed people are just as likely to develop a gambling problem as anyone else.
Myth: Partners of problem gamblers often drive their loved ones to gamble.
Fact: Problem gamblers often try to rationalize their behavior. Blaming others is one way to avoid taking responsibility for their actions, including what is needed to overcome the problem.
Myth: If a problem gambler builds up a debt, you should help them take care of it.
Fact: Quick fix solutions may appear to be the right thing to do. However, bailing the gambler out of debt may actually make matters worse by enabling their gambling problems to continue.
Gambling addiction signs and symptoms
Gambling addiction is sometimes referred to as a “hidden illness” because there are no obvious physical signs or symptoms like there are in drug or alcohol addiction. Problem gamblers also typically deny or minimize the problem—even to themselves. However, you may have a gambling problem if you:
Feel the need to be secretive about your gambling. You might gamble in secret or lie about how much you gamble, feeling others won’t understand or that you will surprise them with a big win.
Have trouble controlling your gambling. Once you start gambling, can you walk away? Or are you compelled to gamble until you’ve spent your last dollar, upping your bets in a bid to win lost money back?
Gamble even when you don’t have the money. You may gamble until you’ve spent your last dollar, and then move on to money you don’t have—money to pay bills, credit cards, or things for your children. You may feel pushed to borrow, sell, or even steal things for gambling money.
Have family and friends worried about you. Denial keeps problem gambling going. If friends and family are worried, listen to them carefully. It’s not a sign of weakness to ask for help. Many older gamblers are reluctant to reach out to their adult children if they’ve gambled away their inheritance, but it’s never too late to make changes for the better.
Self-help for gambling problems
The biggest step to overcoming a gambling addiction is realizing that you have a problem. It takes tremendous strength and courage to own up to this, especially if you have lost a lot of money and strained or broken relationships along the way. Don’t despair, and don’t try to go it alone. Many others have been in your shoes and have been able to break the habit and rebuild their lives. You can, too.
Learn to relieve unpleasant feelings in healthier ways. Do you gamble when you’re lonely or bored? Or after a stressful day at work or following an argument with your spouse? Gambling may be a way to self-soothe unpleasant emotions, unwind, or socialize. But there are healthier and more effective ways of managing your moods and relieving boredom, such as exercising, spending time with friends who don’t gamble, taking up new hobbies, or practicing relaxation techniques.
Strengthen your support network. It’s tough to battle any addiction without support, so reach out to friends and family. If your support network is limited, there are ways to make new friends without relying on visiting casinos or gambling online. Try reaching out to colleagues at work, joining a sports team or book club, enrolling in an education class, or volunteering for a good cause.
Join a peer support group. Gamblers Anonymous, for example, is a 12-step recovery program patterned after Alcoholics Anonymous. A key part of the program is finding a sponsor, a former gambler who has experience remaining free from addiction and can provide you invaluable guidance and support.
Seek help for underlying mood disorders.Depression, stress, substance abuse, or anxiety can both trigger gambling problems and be made worse by compulsive gambling. Even when gambling is no longer a part of your life, these problems will still remain, so it’s important to address them.
How to stop gambling for good
For many problem gamblers, it’s not quitting gambling that’s the biggest challenge, but rather staying in recovery—making a permanent commitment to stay away from gambling. The Internet has made gambling far more accessible and, therefore, harder for recovering addicts to avoid relapse. Online casinos and bookmakers are open all day, every day for anyone with a smartphone or access to a computer. But maintaining recovery from gambling addiction or problem gambling is still possible if you surround yourself with people to whom you’re accountable, avoid tempting environments and websites, give up control of your finances (at least at first), and find healthier activities to replace gambling in your life.
Making healthier choices
One way to stop gambling is to remove the elements necessary for gambling to occur in your life and replace them with healthier choices. The four elements needed for gambling to continue are:
A decision: For gambling to happen, you need to make the decision to gamble. If you have an urge: stop what you are doing and call someone, think about the consequences to your actions, tell yourself to stop thinking about gambling, and find something else to do immediately.
Money: Gambling cannot occur without money. Get rid of your credit cards, let someone else be in charge of your money, have the bank make automatic payments for you, close online betting accounts, and keep only a limited amount of cash on you.
Time: Even online gambling cannot occur if you don’t have the time. Schedule enjoyable recreational time for yourself that has nothing to do with gambling. If you’re gambling on your smartphone, find other ways to fill the quiet moments during your day.
A game: Without a game or activity to bet on there is no opportunity to gamble. Don’t put yourself in tempting environments. Tell gambling establishments you frequent that you have a gambling problem and ask them to restrict you from entering. Remove gambling apps and block gambling sites on your smartphone and computer.
Finding alternatives to gambling
Maintaining recovery from gambling addiction depends a lot on finding alternative behaviors you can substitute for gambling. Some examples include:
|Reason for gambling||Sample substitute behaviors|
|To provide excitement, get a rush of adrenaline||Sport or a challenging hobby, such as mountain biking, rock climbing, or Go Kart racing|
|To be more social, overcome shyness or isolation||Counseling, enroll in a public speaking class, join a social group, connect with family and friends, volunteer, find new friends|
|To numb unpleasant feelings, not think about problems||Try therapy or use HelpGuide’s free Emotional Intelligence toolkit|
|Boredom or loneliness||Find something you’re passionate about such as art, music, sports, or books and then find others with the same interests|
|To relax after a stressful day||As little as 15 minutes of daily exercise can relieve stress. Or deep breathing, meditation, or massage|
|To solve money problems||The odds are always stacked against you so it’s far better to seek help with debts from a credit counselor|
Dealing with gambling cravings
Feeling the urge to gamble is normal, but as you build healthier choices and a strong support network, resisting cravings will become easier. When a gambling craving strikes:
Avoid isolation. Call a trusted family member, meet a friend for coffee, or go to a Gamblers Anonymous meeting.
Postpone gambling. Tell yourself that you’ll wait 5 minutes, fifteen minutes, or an hour. As you wait, the urge to gamble may pass or become weak enough to resist.
Visualize what will happen if you give in to the urge to gamble. Think about how you’ll feel after all your money is gone and you’ve disappointed yourself and your family again.
Distract yourself with another activity, such as going to the gym, watching a movie, or practicing a relaxation exercise for gambling cravings.
Coping with lapses
If you aren’t able to resist the gambling craving, don’t be too hard on yourself or use it as an excuse to give up. Overcoming a gambling addiction is a tough process. You may slip from time to time; the important thing is to learn from your mistakes and continue working towards recovery.
Gambling addiction treatment
Overcoming a gambling problem is never easy and seeking professional treatment doesn’t mean that you’re weak in some way or can’t handle your problems. But it’s important to remember that every gambler is unique so you need a recovery program tailored specifically to your needs and situation. Talk to your doctor or mental health professional about different treatment options, including:
Inpatient or residential treatment and rehab programs. These are aimed at those with severe gambling addiction who are unable to avoid gambling without round-the-clock support.
Treatment for underlying conditions contributing to your compulsive gambling, including substance abuse or mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, OCD, or ADHD. This could include therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes. Problem gambling can sometimes be a symptom of bipolar disorder, so your doctor or therapist may need to rule this out before making a diagnosis.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy. CBT for gambling addiction focuses on changing unhealthy gambling behaviors and thoughts, such as rationalizations and false beliefs. It can also teach you how to fight gambling urges and solve financial, work, and relationship problems caused by problem gambling. Therapy can provide you with the tools for coping with your addiction that will last a lifetime.
Family therapy and marriage, career, and credit counseling. These can help you work through the specific issues that have been created by your problem gambling and lay the foundation for repairing your relationships and finances.
How to help someone stop gambling
If your loved one has a gambling problem, you likely have many conflicting emotions. You may have spent a lot of time and energy trying to keep your loved one from gambling or having to cover for them. At the same time, you might be furious at your loved one for gambling again and tired of trying to keep up the charade. Your loved one may have borrowed or even stolen money with no way to pay it back. They may have sold family possessions or run up huge debts on joint credit cards.
While compulsive and problem gamblers need the support of their family and friends to help them in their struggle to stop gambling, the decision to quit has to be theirs. As much as you may want to, and as hard as it is seeing the effects, you cannot make someone stop gambling. However, you can encourage them to seek help, support them in their efforts, protect yourself, and take any talk of suicide seriously.
Preventing suicide in problem gamblers
When faced with the consequences of their actions, problem gamblers can suffer a crushing drop in self-esteem. This is one reason why there is a high rate of suicide among compulsive gamblers. If you suspect your loved one is feeling suicidal, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline in the U.S. at 1-800-273-8255 or visit Befrienders Worldwide to find a suicide helpline in your country.
Four tips for family members:
- Start by helping yourself. You have a right to protect yourself emotionally and financially. Don’t blame yourself for the gambler’s problems or let his or her addiction dominate your life. Ignoring your own needs can be a recipe for burnout.
- Don’t go it alone. It can feel so overwhelming coping with a loved one’s gambling addiction that it may seem easier to rationalize their requests “this one last time.” Or you might feel ashamed, feeling like you are the only one who has problems like this. Reaching out for support will make you realize that many families have struggled with this problem.
- Set boundaries in managing money. To ensure the gambler stays accountable and to prevent relapse, consider taking over the family finances. However, this does not mean you are responsible for micromanaging the problem gambler’s impulses to gamble. Your first responsibilities are to ensure that your own finances and credit are not at risk.
- Consider how you will handle requests for money. Problem gamblers often become very good at asking for money, either directly or indirectly. They may use pleading, manipulation, or even threats to get it. It takes practice to ensure you are not enabling your loved one’s gambling addiction.
|Do’s and Don’ts for Partners of Problem Gamblers|