Gambling is like drinking alcohol – safe with sensible rules

Health Watch

Sensible gambling
Generally people say that there is no such thing as safe gambling.
Others argue that gambling is like drinking alcohol – it’s safe to do as long as you follow some sensible rules:

  • KEEP away from high-risk forms of gambling where you can lose large sums of money very quickly;
  • LIMIT the amount of time you gamble – This will give you time to do other, more important things with your life;
  • LIMIT the amount you spend to the amount you can afford to lose. When you have spent this much, walk away; and,
  • QUIT while you are ahead. If you continue, you are likely to lose because the odds are always weighted against you. That’s how bookies and the casinos make their money.

When gambling becomes a problem
For most of us, gambling is a harmless activity.
But, for some people, gambling is a way of life, a habit that can ruin their lives.
You may be an irrational or compulsive gambler if:

  • YOU spend more money on gambling then you can afford.
    If you continue to gamble, you could get into serious debt.
    You could also lose your home and your assets;
  • YOU spend so much time gambling that you neglect other important areas of your life, like your family or your work.
    You could lose your job or end up divorced or separated from your partner and children;
  • YOUR feelings and behaviour change.
    For example, you may become depressed when you lose or over-excited when you win.
    In serious cases, you may feel that you are only really alive when you gamble; and,
  • IT leads you to unsuitable or even criminal behaviour.
    For example, you may lie to family and friends about your gambling activities or you may steal to fund your gambling habit.

Next week’s edition: Questions that you can ask to define yourself

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