3 tips to help you safely manage your online gambling budget

We might be a casino review site, and that might make you think we want you to spend as much money as possible, but it’s not true. Even if you want to take the selfish view of us, we need you to spend your gambling budget wisely. Otherwise, gambling will become more of a social problem, the government will implement more restrictions, and we’ll have to shut down the site.

So, maybe we have a vested interest in you spending wisely, or maybe we just care about your welfare? What does it matter? All that matters is you learning how to manage your gambling budget, and our guide should help you with that.

Set a budget at a max of 20% of your disposable income

A pastiche of different cartoony elements, including coins, a piggy bank, a stick man, and some poker chips. This is to represent gambling budgets.

The first thing you need to do is set boundaries on your budget. Setting a budget limit will make it harder for you to go over that limit. That’s doesn’t mean you’ll definitely stick to it, just that it’s easier to stick to.

An example of how boundaries help you stay on task is To-Do lists. Just the fact of writing one makes you more likely to complete the tasks. It’s not a guarantee, but it helps.

If you think you might go over budget, then check with your bank to see if you can set spending limits on your debit card (credit cards are now banned at online and land-based casinos in the UK). This would be the equivalent of getting junk food out of the house if you’re on a diet. When it’s not there, you can’t eat it. When the money isn’t there, you can’t gamble.

How to find 20% of your disposable income

This is easy. Calculate the cost of your monthly bills (if you have annual bills, e.g., council tax that you pay off in one, then divide the total bill by 12), next add a food and household budget (food, washing powder, etc.), then calculate a clothing budget and finally add 15% to go towards savings and emergencies.

Take away that total figure from your income. Whatever’s left is your disposable income. Take that amount and multiply it by 0.2 and that is the amount you set for your budget.

Here’s an example:

Rent – £500

Utility bills – £200

Council Tax – £90

Food – £300

Clothes – £50

= £1140 

Multiply that by 0.15 to get the amount you need to save.

= £171

Add them both together £1140 + £171 = £1311.

Your income: £1552 (based on £20k salary)

Take your total budget from your total income: £1552 – £1311 = £241

That’s your disposable income. Take that figure and multiply it by 0.2 to find 20%:

Total budget per month for gambling: £48.20

Set that figure into your banking app and make it difficult to exceed it (you can remove the caps on your banking app, but there’s usually a cooling-off period. That means you can get around the budget, but that extra time to think should stop you from doing that.

Don’t spend all your money at once

I know that some of you will look at that £48 and think that it’s not enough. It may not be as exciting as your typical gambling spends, but you just have to find better ways to spend it.

Spreading your wager out is a great way to make your gambling last longer. Think about how many times a month you want to gamble – some of you may want to do it every day, some only once a month.

Take your budget and divide it by the number of days you want to play. If you play every day, you’ll have roughly £1.60 a day to gamble. Not a lot, but you can make it last by playing low-stake slots and table games.

Don’t be put off by small budgets. Read our article about getting the most out of low stake games. They’re more fun than you might think.

And, if you do win from your low stake games, then that money’s yours to do what you want with. You might be able to play high stake games, and if you can’t, that should make you realise how little return you get from gambling and make you feel better that you didn’t spend more than you could afford.

Use available bonuses

Some gamblers get annoyed by bonuses and they aren’t always worth taking. Online casinos will sometimes have ridiculous wagering requirements and make you jump through hoops.

But you can find decent bonuses at many UK casinos. They’ll help you play for longer without eating into your budget too much – you will usually have to deposit money to get your bonus.

Summing it up

These tips may not be to everyone’s liking. Some of you will want to gamble more and be fed up with all the restrictions, but others will have an aversion to anything gambling related.

For the rest of you, these tips can help you get a proper handle on your gambling spending and keep things light and fun.

To recap: set a budget, set limits at casinos and with your bank, make wagers that suit your budget and your playing style.

Harvey Dickenson

Safe Gambling Specialist

Harvey Dickenson is our safe gambling specialist. Harvey is a recreational poker player and an expert in online casino safety, cons, and scams.

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