How to Gamble Responsibly [Negative Effects & Signs of Addiction]


For many people, gambling is a fun leisurely activity they engage in from time to time. Depending on how the player approaches it, it can be a harmless hobby or turn into a serious issue. 

To prevent things from taking a wrong turn, players need to familiarize themselves with responsible gambling.

This article will answer some questions about gambling including types of gambling and the concept of doing so in a responsible manner.

Gambling Definition

Gambling is defined as an activity that involves a risk of money loss to obtain something of value. In other words, it’s when players risk losing their money or possessions by betting on an event with an uncertain outcome, hoping to win more money, a valuable object, or a prize.

Gambling always has three basic elements: risk, the chance of randomness, and the prize.

The practice has been illegal for the better part of the history of mankind, and with a good reason. Gambling addiction has been one of the biggest concerns for society since its inception. However, laws that outright ban gambling have rarely prevented it from occurring.

Nowadays, gambling is more popular than ever, thanks to online casinos and real gambling apps. They’ve made gambling more accessible and convenient.

A good piece of advice for players on how to gamble safely is to remember they can’t beat the gambling venue in the long run. Whether it’s a casino or a sports betting center, it always has a mathematical advantage that helps them obtain profit. It’s called a house edge.

Players can still win games and have fun, but they have to remember that the games are designed in a way that the gambling venue always profits over a certain period.

DID YOU KNOW? The American Gambling Association said that Americans broke the record for the most amount wagered in bets on sports in a month in October 2020. The organization estimated that Americans bet a total of $3 billion in legal bets.

Gambling Types

If you want to learn how to gamble, you have to first learn the types of gambling.

The main gambling types include casino gambling, sports betting, lottery, raffles, and even coin-flipping.

  • The lottery is, by far, the most popular type of gambling. This is mostly because it doesn’t require any special set of skills to play.
  • Unlike the lottery, sports betting requires that players know the game they bet on to win.
  • While there are many types of lotteries out there, casinos have far more games to offer. From blackjack to poker and slots, there is something for everyone who steps into a casino. When it comes to popularity among casino games, statistics underline a repetitive pattern. The easier the game is, the more people play it. This also means that it’s more likely to lead to gambling issues.

In the case of casino games, slots take the number one spot.

  • Coin flipping is the simplest form of gambling. Gamblers usually bet on coin flipping during the Super Bowl coin toss.
  • Raffles are mostly used for charities and fundraising.

Gambling games are divided into two main categories: chance-based and skill-based. Skill-based games require gamblers to have a certain knowledge of the game. In chance-based gambling, all gamblers that are part of the game have the same likelihood of winning, regardless of their understanding of the game in question.

Regardless, the outcome of the game is often down to a chance. The best way to gamble is to face the fact there is always a chance that you will not win, no matter how skilled you are at the game you’re playing.

DID YOU KNOW? If you want to win money at a casino, opt for blackjack. There’s a reason it’s the most popular casino banking game in the world! Blackjack has the best odds in most casinos.

Negative Effects of Gambling

The most common consequences of disordered gambling are:

  • Family problems
  • Debt
  • Unemployment (difficulty maintaining a job)
  • Mental health issues

Among the most common problems that gamblers face include family problems, difficult relationships, unemployment, and severe debt. People struggling with gambling issues eventually start bringing their problems home. These issues can trigger uncontrolled emotional outbursts that could fuel disagreements and arguments with family members, friends, and colleagues.

Financial problems are another serious problem that can cause disbalance in the family dynamics.  Children who live with a person struggling with a gambling addiction are more likely to suffer emotional abuse and develop abandonment issues as a result of their parent’s unstable nature. These children are said to be at higher risk of developing an addiction of their own later in life.

The negative consequences of gambling vary depending on the severity of the addiction. Compulsive gamblers often use their credit and debit cards to play in casinos or internet gambling organizations and thus are highly likely to incur debt. Gambling problems lead to frequent financial losses and those who find themselves in these types of gambling situations are willing to go to extreme lengths to obtain more money for further gambling. Not only does this type of pathological gambling make them prone to taking large loans they are unable to pay back, but it also makes them resort to criminal behavior, from petty thefts to bigger robberies.

Compulsive gambling can also impact the gambler’s mental health. Even though during the early stages gamblers see it as a leisure activity, over time gambling becomes stressful and can cause anxiety. Constant stress can lead to headaches, insomnia, stomach ulcers, and even muscle pain. Symptoms like mood swings and atypical behavior can grow stronger over time. Depression is common in the gambling community as well, with suicidal tendencies estimated to be 1 in 5 of those addicted to gambling.

Signs of a Gambling Addiction

Often referred to as a “hidden illness”, disordered gambling lacks physical symptoms, unlike alcohol and drug addiction. Although gambling addicts can undermine the severity of their issue, there are certain early signs that point to a potential addiction:

  • Experiencing trouble controlling gambling practices. This happens when the gambler is unable to stop gambling and cannot leave the gambling center until they have spent every last penny. During this stage, individuals do not have a clear perception of their likelihood of winning.
  • Keeping gambling a secret. Gamblers can hide their gambling out of fear that others will not understand or support their actions. It is also typical for someone with a gambling addiction to lie about how much they have spent. Some gambling addicts have said they’ve kept gambling a secret, hoping to surprise everyone when they win money.
  • Concerns among family. Once the people around them start to get worried, it is probably because there is some reason behind it. Friends and family can help gamblers seek professional help.
DID YOU KNOW? A report from Anonymous, an association that holds meetings for people with a gambling problem, said that up to 90% of people who have attended meetings acknowledged they’ve engaged in illegal activity to obtain money for gambling.

How to Gamble Responsibly

People gamble for many reasons. Some gamble because it’s a way to socialize with friends, while others want an intellectual challenge like something skill-based.

It can also help some gamblers take their minds off any problems they have in their lives. This is risky territory because people who gamble to escape reality are statistically at a higher risk of developing an addiction.

Despite the risks, gambling remains popular and has risen in popularity in recent years, especially during the coronavirus pandemic. This has led to a jump in gambling advertisements and social marketing messages that remind players to gamble responsibly.

The responsibility to follow rules falls both on gambling venues and gamblers. These rules emphasize self-regulation in gambling intending to prevent it from becoming a more serious issue. While most gamblers can approach gambling responsibly, some find it more difficult to control themselves.

The reason that some people are more vulnerable to addiction is multifold, including family circumstances, substance abuse, social background, and psychological problems. This is why it’s important to learn how to make informed decisions and how to gamble properly. 

That being said, casinos are obligated to provide players with access to information to ensure that:

  • Players understand the rules and risks of different types of games.
  • Players are informed of the general risks associated with casino gambling.
  • Players are informed of their rights.
  • Players know where to seek help in case of pathological gambling.

Needless to say, there are two sides to every coin, meaning gamblers are also responsible for their behavior while engaging in gambling activities. Every person should take into consideration their financial status, psychological, and physical state before placing a bet, regardless of whether they’re gambling online or at a brick-and-mortar casino.

Thus, gambling venues give out pamphlets with gambling advice, highlighting the importance of knowing your limitations and when gaming becomes more than a leisure activity. The ultimate goal of pamphlets as well as of other tips on gambling, including those coming from gambling groups, is to ensure the creation of a safe and fair environment where gamblers will not be taken advantage of and will receive the best gambling experience.

The online gambling industry also allows players to practice control of their spendings. The self-exclusion program for example allows players to set limits both to the time they spend on the platform and to the amount of money they plan to bet.

Governments have also tried to help prevent disordered gambling.

Many countries have introduced their own policies to provide gamblers with tools and education on how to prevent gambling problems. For example, the UK has recently introduced a reality check tool that allows gamblers the ability to set spending limits and automatically leave the game once that certain limit is reached, as well as receive notifications about the amount of time that has passed since the beginning of their gambling session. All licensed vendors in the UK must follow these regulations.

It’s important to note that players are responsible for their gambling behavior. They should make an effort to learn to gamble safely, follow the recommendations of the gambling providers, and be held accountable for their actions. It is crucial for those who want to take part in gambling activities, regardless of whether they take place online or in a brick-and-mortar casino to take into consideration the following gambling tips:

  • Gambling should not be considered as a fast and easy way to obtain a large sum of money or a way to earn income.
  • Gambling should just be considered a source of entertainment.
  • Players should be aware of their personal limitations and not bet money that they cannot afford to lose.
  • When gambling, online players should make sure to check their time and set betting limitations. It’s good to keep a record of their wins and losses.
  • If a player notices that they have begun struggling with gambling, they should tell their family or friends who can help them get professional intervention. Many gamblers have also reported a positive experience being in gambling groups.
DID YOU KNOW? Gambling can be addictive in any form, regardless of whether it takes place at a brick-and-mortar venue or online. All online casinos and great crypto gambling websites also have to follow the same rules.

The Importance of Responsible Gambling

Gambling responsibly is a broad concept. The term refers to the standards that gambling providers have to meet to ensure that the negative consequences of gambling are brought to a bare minimum. It also covers the players’ responsibility to gamble properly and understand the risks that accompany gambling activities.

If players understand the negative consequences of gambling, are aware of their financial situation, and know when to stop, then we can say that they have mastered the art of how to gamble responsibly. Those at risk of developing an addiction can have a myriad of negative consequences, including financial and family issues, as well as psychological and even physical problems.

The safest approach is to gamble occasionally, play for fun, and avoid treating gambling as an income-generating activity. To avoid the risk of addiction or other negative consequences associated with gambling, people who gamble more frequently can set time and money limits and follow other tips to ensure they’re gambling safely.


What causes gambling addiction?

Several main causes can lead to an addiction to gambling. They’re divided into four categories: biological causes, psychological causes, socio-cultural causes, and spiritual causes. Psychologists refer to this as the Bio-Psycho-Social-Spiritual Model of addiction.

All of these contribute to the formation of such an addiction in one way or the other.

Why is important to gamble responsibly?

The main goal of responsible gambling is to protect vulnerable players that are more susceptible to developing an addiction and other gambling-related problems. It also holds the gambling venues responsible and sets a standard that aims to prevent gambling from getting out of control.

Can a gambler ever stop?

Yes, a gambler can stop gambling, but this depends on a variety of factors. If they truly face the problem head-on and get professional help, people with a gambling problem can overcome their addiction with the support of their family and friends.


I learned a lot about finance after working for a digital marketing company specializing in investing and trading stocks, forex, etc. After that, I got exposed to other verticals such as wealth management and personal finance, which further improved my understanding of the financial world.

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