8 Tips to Deal with Money Management when You Gamble Online
Money makes the world go around – so they say – and it’s the fluid of the gambling world. You hope to go away with more than you start with, but the realistic view is that most gamblers will lose small amounts of money over the long term.
That’s not to say that you won’t win a life-changing sum of money the first time you ever play. However, that is extremely, extremely unlikely.
There’s a lot of good information about safe gambling online and it’s always worth keeping up with the latest.
Here are 8 tips from us, on how to manage your money when you gamble online.
1 – A realistic view of gambling
Be realistic about what gambling is. As a business, it is profitable, and its profits are the “losses” of players. A bit of simple maths will confirm to you that this means that players – as a whole – lose more than they win.
This doesn’t mean that your experience will be one of losses, but it’s more likely than not it will be. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t gamble and that you shouldn’t enjoy it, but a healthy and realistic way to regard your gambling might be to think of it as entertainment and to acknowledge that you usually pay for entertainment.
2 – A realistic view of your finances
You can’t manage your money if you don’t know how much you’ve got.
It’s a general principle that you need to know where you are to start to plan where you want to go. Make sure you know how much money you actually have, and how much you can afford to spend on gambling before you start.
3 – Setting limits
We’re trying to get you to think of gambling as an expense. That is, you don’t go into a gambling session thinking that you have £10 and you’re planning to come out with £20. Don’t think of it this way. Think of it in the same way that you would if you were going out to a bar or restaurant with £10 – you’re going out to spend £10.
Once you’ve established your financial situation you can decide how much you can afford to spend on gambling and how much you want to spend on it. Sticking to those limits is a good way to keep yourself out of trouble.
4 – Building a firewall
One good way to help your limits stick is to keep your gambling funds separate from your “main” bank account.
One of the reasons people like using online wallets and other online payment processing systems is that they put a distance between the wild, wild world of the Internet and your money.
In order to do this, you do need to set up the wallets so that there is a wall between them: some wallets, like PayPal for example, will allow you to link your bank account as a payment option. If you want a distance then don’t enable options like this, or pick a payment system or wallet that only allows you to spend the cash that is in your account.
5 – Systems
Gambling systems are a dangerous thing if they are sold to you in the wrong way.
Gambling systems cannot stop you from losing in the long run but many of them are sold as ways to win. In fact, the best a gambling system can ever do is manage your money as you lose, and that is what they are designed to do. They are also generally designed for people with deep pockets as they require you to double stakes at various points.
6 – Safe gambling
A lot of the advice around safe gambling is around protecting your mental health, and this is key to preventing you from getting into financial health.
In fact, the two are almost always the same when it comes to gambling addiction.
The advice is generally quite simple and we’ve covered some of it above.
Set limits. Stick to limits.
Don’t chase losses: this means don’t try to win back what you’ve lost, accept it and move on. Never gamble to try to get money for something essential like debts or bills.
You should also avoid playing gambling games when you’re upset. If you use gambling to try to manage your moods, or to avoid dealing with problems, or to hide from difficulties or things you have to do then it is more likely to become a problem. That’s because, if it works (and like most addictions, including drugs, gambling is a good way of distracting yourself from difficult thoughts) you are more likely to turn to it next time you feel bad or have a difficult emotion.
We aren’t trained counsellors or physiotherapists here, but we are pretty sure that playing online video slots for 12 hours is not a good way to “deal” with feeling that your life is going nowhere. If you think you’re falling into this trap then try to find healthier ways to tackle difficult problems, including asking for help.
7 – The tools you are given
There has been increasing focus on the potential damages of gambling and that has put pressure on casino sites to provide better support. You’ll be doing yourself a big favour if you use the tools that the industry now provides: these include “reality checks”, limits on session length, limits on spending, and if you feel you need it, a self-exclusion.
8 – Enjoy yourself
The key message of the industry has been: When the fun stops, stop, and that’s a good start. Gambling should be something that you do for fun and when it stops being fun you should stop doing it – and playing because you’re desperate to recoup your losses is no fun – as you would with everything else.