The house doesn’t beat the player. It just gives him the opportunity to beat himself.

losing gambler
Excitement can become despair. Gamble responsibly.

Gambling is fun. Gambling is a disaster waiting to happen. Both statements are true, depending where you are coming from. All gambling games, including roulette, have two sides. They can be an entertaining, exciting experience or a destructive compulsive addiction out of control. It is up to us to get the thrill without being trapped into the abyss of gambling addiction.

Every person is a unique case, with a different background and special psychological dynamics, so what works for someone may not work for someone else. At the same time, gambling problems are universal across all types of games and betting activities, from sports betting to poker and from slots to horse betting.

What is responsible gambling?

Responsible gambling is a set of rules and best practices, defined, regulated and supported by national gaming authorities and gaming organizations, with the aim to protect the players and establish optimal conditions for gambling activities.

Responsible gambling refers both to players and gambling organizations (casinos, online casinos, bookmakers etc.). On one hand, players should be aware of the dangers of gambling addiction and “play responsibly”. On the other hand, gaming organizations should offer fair games in a safe gaming environment, taking special care of issues like:

  • Vulnerable players
  • Underage gambling
  • Money laundering
  • Information privacy
  • Prompt and accurate customer payments
  • Fair gaming
  • Ethical and responsible marketing

As online casinos are constantly bringing more gambling options at our fingertips, than we ever knew existed, responsible gambling practices gain more importance. They are no longer recommendations, they are requirements.

Responsible gambling tips

I’m a gambler myself. I understand the allure and traps of gambling and I’m just a human. In these tips, I try to not sound like a teacher or a judge or someone above the temptations of gambling. I do know first hand that sometimes it’s hard to play by the book and follow responsible gambling advice.

  1. It’s just a game.
    Do not expect too much from the game and in return don’t invest too much in it; both materially and psychologically. Gambling is not a way to become rich. you can only become a millionaire if you are already a billionaire. Play for fun, not to make money to pay the rent.
  2. Keep a clear head.
    It is often said you should not drink and play. I say it’s ok to play when drunk once or twice. What’s important it is to keep a clear head about the game in general. Impulsive or over-agitated gamblers are a danger to themselves. Don’t get mad when you lose, don’t get too excited if you win. Don’t let the game get into you. Don’t take it personally. Don’t try to fight back or reach for the starts. Don’t think that the casino is not out to get you if you lose, or that you are the smartest guy in the room, when you win. It’s just luck. Keep yourself under control, calm and cold blooded – all the good players do.
  3. Love your losses.
    Yes, embrace your losses. It hurts, but every good lesson comes at a price. Try to make something good out of your inevitable loss. Learn from your mistakes. Get a better focus on the important things in your life. Realize that you are not invincible. Be humble. Be ready to lose. There are two great pleasures in gambling; that of winning and that of losing.
  4. Create a gambling bankroll.
    The point is you should never bet your food or rent money. Never play with borrowed money. You need good money management and financial discipline. Create a gambling bankroll, that you will use exclusively for your enjoyment. Some people prefer to go play as soon as they have some extra money. Others wait until they accumulate a good bankroll and then go for a big night in a glamorous casino. Every approach is fine as long as you are not getting into financial trouble by risking money you really need for other purposes. Play only with play money.
  5. Learn to leave.
    This is the best tip. Admittedly easier said than done. It is hard to walk away from a winning streak and even harder to walk away from a losing one. Though this is the key to avoid catastrophic losses and the utmost test of your discipline. If you can leave whenever you want you are in control of the game. A way to do this is to predefine a win limit and loss limit and leave the game as soon as you reach either.
  6. Ask for help.
    Even before you have a serious problem; before you have ruined your life. Join a gambling addiction support group. It never hurts to get a close look at real, hardcore compulsive gamblers and their problems. It might be an enlightening experience, an eye-opener. It is better to go into a gamblers anonymous meeting too early than too late.
  7. It is never too late.
    You think it is too late. You are too deep in the hole and you have seen the worst and there is no hope of ever getting back to normal. I know it loos that way my friend, but it is not true. You can always make a come back to your life and you are better than you think you are and there is real hope. Life is too long and has many full reversals. You just need to find some strength to ask for help. Find someone to give you a hand and help you get and keep out of trouble.
  8. Be aware and keep gambling at bay.
    Don’t haste to say “I’m not a problem gambler”. Instead, keep asking your self “do I have a gambling problem?” Test yourself. Cancel gambling sessions and see how you feel about it. Try to bet lower and see how it feels. Read the resources we offer here, see documentaries about gambling addiction and try to fully understand the “beast”. Know your enemy. Your real opponent is not the casino. It is gambling addiction.
  9. Even if you have a strategy it’s still gambling.
    Even if you know the game, have experience and skill, gambling is gambling. The game, your strategy, even your motivations, are mostly irrelevant as far as gambling addiction goes. If there is adrenaline, then there is also the danger of losing control. You may have a great mind, but your psyche will always be vulnerable. This is why although poker is considered a game of skill, many great poker players (even the best of them all: Stu Ungar) have become addicted to gambling or drugs.

Special tips for roulette players

  1. Any number can win.
    Numbers get hot and cold and strange streak happen all the time while playing roulette. It is all perfectly normal. Every spin is an independent event and previous spins have no relation to future spins. At least this what probability theory tells us. Any notion that you can predict (or even make an informed guess about) the next spin(s) is considered gambler’s fallacy.
  2. Don’t increase your bets when losing.
    Careful progression betting can be a good idea if you really know what you are doing and have strict limits. For the vast majority of roulette players however, increasing the bets when losing (Martingale system) usually leads to tremendous losses. Avoid up as you loose progressions.
  3. Don’t bet in a hurry.
    Enjoy the game. Take your time considering and placing your bets. Never hurry to throw your chips on the table, in fear that you’ll miss the spin. There will always be a next spin, a next visit to the casino and another day in your life. Don’t hasten to throw your money on the table. Be relaxed, play slowly and enjoy every minute of it. The slower you play, the longer you will enjoy the game.
  4. Prefer smaller payouts.
    Don’t put all your money on a single number straight up. Study the various roulette bets and prefer those that pay less, but have a much higher chance of wining, like Red-Black, High-Low, Odd-Even, the dozens and the columns.
  5. Bet the minimum.
    Always play with the lowest domination chips, in the lowest minimum bet roulette tables. This can definitely make a difference and reduce the risk of your money substantially. With lower bets the excitement is (almost) the same, while your bankroll will last much longer.

How to get help with gambling problems

Self exclude yourself from any gambling operations you use and try to get in touch with institutions, groups and experts that offer free support for gambling addiction problems. You may not be aware of it, but there are Gamblers Anonymous or similar gambling addiction support groups in almost every big city in the world. In many countries the same authorities of a country that offer help for drug or alcohol addiction, also offer help gambling addiction help – just ask. I want to emphasize that the most effective and reliable sources of help for gambling problems are free. Don’t trust “experts” or organizations that ask for money and claim to have the magic solution to gambling addiction – they don’t. They most probably want to take advantage of your despair for their own gain.

Gambling problem Helplines (free)

All Hotlines for Problem Gambling are confidential and many of them are available 24 hours, ever day of the week.

  • Australia National Gambling Helpline: 1800 858 858
  • Belgium Responsible Gambling Hotline: 0800 35 777 (SOS SPELEN)
  • Canada (Ontario Problem Gambling Helpline): 1-888-230-3505, 1-888-647-4414
  • Czech Helpline: 00 420 284 016 666
  • France Problem Gambling helpline (Adictel): 0805 02 00 00
  • Germany Problem Gambling helpline: (1) 544 13 57, 711 2054 345, 800 1 529 529
  • Great Britain Gambling Helpline: 0808 8020 133 (8am to midnight)
  • Greek Gambling Addiction helpline (KETHEA): 1114
  • Hungary Problem Gambling Helpline: 00 36 431 9792
  • Italy Gambling Addiction Helpline: 800558822
  • Sweden Problem Gambling Helpline: 00 46 20 819 100
  • US Confidential National Problem Gambling helpline: 1-800-522-4700
  • US Gamblers Anonymous: 1-888-GA-HELPS

Responsible gambling resources

The best responsible gambling resources are based in the U.K. , though they can help gamblers from any country better understand and face their gambling problems.

  • BeGambleAware is the go-to site for players who want to protect themselves and play responsibly.
  • GameCare site offer great advice and has very rich information about various aspects of problem gambling.
  • The Gambling Commission of UK provides some very interesting statistics that will give you a very good idea of the phenomenon of gambling addiction in UK and in general.

Gamblers Anonymous

Find a Gamblers Anonymous meeting in your country. Gamblers Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from a gambling problem. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop gambling. There are no dues or fees for Gamblers Anonymous membership. They fight gambling addiction with a 12 step recovery program, that is adapted from the very successful and effective 12 step recovery program of Anonymous Alcoholics. There are GA groups all over the world.

20 questions-gamblers