Top 7 Tips for Responsible Gaming when Sports Gambling

May 9, 2024

The current sports landscape is teeming with excitement, with the NBA playoffs, NHL Stanley Cup playoffs, daily MLB games, major golf season, UEFA Champions League soccer, Formula 1 racing, and more. North Carolina's recent entrance onto the scene made it now 38 states, plus Washington D.C., offering some form of legal sports betting. That’s resulted in a staggering $11.6 billion in betting handle in March alone. The 2024 betting handle has already surpassed totals from previous years, reaching $36.8 billion by March reporting.

With exponential growth in monthly and annual betting handle, plus thousands of more new bettors as more states flip legal, it's more crucial than ever to learn and always remember responsible gaming practices. Whether you're a seasoned gambler or new to the scene, here are the top Responsible Gaming tips to commit to memory. 

Responsible Gaming Tips to Remember

1) Know yourself & understand the science behind gambling

On the surface, this first tip feels more applicable to new gamblers, but a big-picture reflection and understanding of the effects gambling has on the human brain can be a nice refresher for experienced bettors as well. 

Like drugs and alcohol, gambling floods the brain’s reward center with dopamine. With monetary and social rewards on the line, this neurological response of excitement is not only present in winning, but the thrill of having extra rooting interests during an event can trump the potential negative response to losing. If you know you have an addictive personality or related habits, the thrill of gambling can blind you from knowing when to stop. 

Whether the next bet you place will be your first or your 1,000th, take time to understand yourself, your tendencies and your environment to learn if you are or could be at risk of becoming addicted to gambling. 

2) Understand the odds, bet types and sports you bet on

It can be really easy to throw money on a player prop your peer likes or a Same Game Parlay you see advertised on a sports broadcast, but it’s crucial to make a habit out of betting on sports and bet types that you fully understand and make sense to you.

Educate yourself on how sports betting odds work and the differences between betting markets for every sport you may bet on. You can wager on almost anything these days, so understanding which bets rely on game outcomes, player outcomes, spreads, etc. is vital to staying afloat in the vast world of sports betting and minimizing the risk of losing more than expected. 

3) Create a budget for gambling 

Set aside a fixed amount of funds you are willing to risk when sports gambling that will not intrude on other expenses or your financial well-being. To help ensure you stick to your available funds, create a monthly or annual budget – known as a “bankroll.” This amount should be thought of as a betting budget over a long period of time, not just for a week or weekend. If you must, consider removing your card information from betting sites and apps to remove the ease of adding more funds into your account. 

One of the biggest mistakes novice bettors can make is to quickly lose their entire bankroll, assuming they’ll end up around 50/50 at worst with their wagers. Sports betting is inherently very difficult, with odds always skewed in the sportsbooks’ favor. Cold streaks are inevitable, so only risking very small portions of your total bankroll on each bet is critical to ensure that you don’t blow through all of your dedicated gambling funds and feel compelled to deposit more. 

4) Set time/deposit limits & find a balance

Building from setting a budget, most sportsbook sites and apps now allow you to set limits on your deposits and time spent on their sites and apps, so that you don’t exceed your bankroll or dedicate more of your day betting than you intend to. By setting limits, you can more easily remember to find balance with betting, ensuring it is not more than a casual hobby and seen as a form of paid entertainment. 

Once you have reached a daily limit for time and or money spent, turn to another hobby. Find your personal balance with other non-gambling activities. 

5) Treat gambling as a form of paid entertainment

As the nation’s sports betting handle increases almost monthly, so does revenue for sportsbook operators. This is because sports betting is a business, and operators create odds with a profit margin in mind. Over a long period, it is very difficult for consumers to turn a profit from frequent betting. Although the opportunity to win money always exists, you should view it similarly to paying for a sporting event ticket. It’s a way to heighten the stakes and excitement of a game, but in most cases that will come at a monetary cost. 

If your bet loses, just consider it an entertainment expense. This mentality can help keep sports betting reserved for certain occasions, as you work it into a natural budget with your other expenses. 

6) Bet only what you can afford to lose

Also related to creating a budget and understanding the reward-triggering effects sports betting has on your brain is important because in the heat of the moment, when you may be caught up in the thrill of it all, it can be difficult to track your losses. 

Be cognizant of attempting to bet beyond your budget or means, and never consider borrowing money from others to fuel bets. This is a slippery slope to indebting yourself to others, which could lead to owing amounts you can’t pay back.

7) Share your experiences, good and bad, with others

It’s important to keep yourself accountable in your gambling experience. It’s easy to talk about the wins – and that’s fine to share with close friends and family from time to time – but it’s also important to be honest with yourself and others about your losses. In speaking with others who gamble, ask questions about their views and experiences. Learn to be open about all aspects of your experience, so as to not celebrate wins in public and suffer losses in silence. 

Gambling Addiction Resources & Treatment Options

Are you or someone you know struggling with gambling addiction? At Birches Health, you can find specialized online treatment options designed to provide hope and healing for individuals battling gambling addiction.

Experienced clinicians with decades of expertise in treating problem gambling are available to help guide individuals through their journey to recovery. Birches understands each individual's struggle is unique, which is why they tailor treatment plans to meet the specific needs.

At Birches Health, confidentiality, security and convenience are the top priorities. With online telehealth treatment options, you can receive the support you need from the comfort and privacy of your own home. Plus, many patients benefit from zero out-of-pocket costs, ensuring that financial barriers don't stand in the way of recovery.

If you believe you or someone you know could benefit from hearing more about the Birches Health offerings, please call (833) 483-3838 or email hello@bircheshealth.com.

Sources:

Sports Handle

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