Responsible Gambling Tips & Strategies

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Plan Ahead

Arrange your day and evening beforehand and plan other leisure activities in addition to gambling.
Determine the amount of time you are going to gamble before you start. Ensure you stick to your time limit by wearing a watch, setting your phone alarm, or have someone call or pick you up.
Determine the amount of money you are going to bet before you start. Use only money set aside for entertainment, not money needed for food, bills or other necessities.

Decide in advance if you are going to play any winnings along the way or keep them separate to take them home. To help you stick to your set limit, leave your debit and credit cards at home.

Check in with yourself before you start to gamble. Are you feeling lonely, anxious or depressed? Making healthy decisions about anything (diet, relationships, shopping, gambling) can be more challenging during times of increased stress or hardship, or if you are experiencing anxiety, depression, pain or loss.

Gambling to escape other life problems doesn’t work. Often the effects are that the problems may increase and/or new ones can be created.

Bring a friend or plan to meet a friend at the gambling venue so your time and energy spent aren’t just about gambling.
Before gambling, learn how the games work. Understand the odds of winning so you can make informed decisions about how much to bet, how many lines to play, whether to take another card, etc. Don’t be embarrassed to ask questions of gaming staff and GameSense Advisors. It’s better to admit you don’t fully understand a game than it is to risk losing more than you can afford.
Keep track of how much time and the money you spend each time you gamble, as well as how often you go. Sometimes people are surprised by how much money and time they spend on gambling. Review your notebook before and after each session and check to see if you are staying on track with your decisions.
People can get anxious about taking breaks when gambling because they think they are going to lose a win by stepping away. When you understand how gambling works (for example, that there is no such thing as a “hot” slot machine) it can be easier to take breaks.

Leaving a machine, a table or your computer is important because that time away allows you to check your limits to make sure you aren’t over in time or money. You can also check in with yourself to make sure you are feeling okay and still enjoying what you are doing. If you find you are feeling anxious, frustrated or depressed you may want to just call it a day and go and do something else.

Let your family and friends know about your plans beforehand. Make transportation and other arrangements ahead of time. This allows you to stop exactly when you are ready to do so, and encourages you to stick to your time limit. Have a back-up plan in case you lose your money more quickly than planned.
You’re more likely to enjoy the time you spend gambling if gambling isn’t your only form of entertainment. That’s because even when you’re playing for fun, it’s no fun to keep losing money. If you’re playing for fun and you win, it’s nice to use that windfall for other things. If you balance gambling with other activities you are less likely to let it interfere with your work or your relationships with friends and family.
In addition to accessing your social network, make sure you know where and how to get free services through the BC Responsible & Problem Gambling Program.
Check out other information available on this website or call the BC Problem Gambling Help Line at 1.888.795.6111 (24hrs) to be connected to free support services.
In addition to accessing your social network, make sure you know where and how to get free services through the BC Responsible & Problem Gambling Program. Get to know the GameSense Advisor at the casino or if you gamble elsewhere, talk to gaming staff about support and/or the Voluntary Self Exclusion Program if you want a time away from gambling. Learn some common myths & facts about counselling. Call the BC Problem Gambling Help Line at 1.888.795.6111 (24hrs) to be connected to free support services.

For program resources such as brochures, booklets for parents and online links, check out Resources & Links.

For more RG tips and strategies, and more information about how games work, check out GameSense.ca.