How to Gamble Responsibly

Gambling is the act of wagering something of value on an event whose outcome is based at least in part on chance. It can include betting on sports, casino games, scratch-off tickets and video poker. Some people are able to gamble responsibly while others develop a problem that can impact their physical and emotional health, their relationships with family and friends and work or study performance. It can also lead to serious debt and even homelessness.

The key to gambling responsibly is to understand the risks and set limits for yourself. It is also important to remember that gambling is a form of entertainment, and like any other form of entertainment, it will involve losing some money. Try to set a budget for yourself, and stick to it. Make sure that the money you use for gambling is not the same as the amount of money you set aside for necessities, and keep only a small amount of cash with you while gambling.

You may also want to consider setting up a bank account that is only for gambling, or having someone else in charge of your finances. You can also remove your credit cards from your computer, stop using your credit or debit card to log into online gambling sites, and close any betting accounts you have. Finally, you can limit the amount of time you spend gambling by setting an alarm on your phone or using a website that will tell you when it is time to leave the room.

Some people are prone to developing a gambling addiction because of their brain chemistry. This can be caused by genetics, a history of trauma, depression or anxiety and other mental illnesses. However, most people who develop a gambling disorder do so because of a combination of factors. It is believed that impulsivity and low self-control are common, as well as a tendency to reward the brain with a dopamine rush when winning.

For some people, gambling is a way to self-soothe unpleasant emotions or unwind. They might gamble when they are bored or upset, or after a stressful day at work. There are healthier and more effective ways to relieve unpleasant feelings, such as exercising, spending time with friends who do not gamble, practicing relaxation techniques and focusing on positive emotions.

Regardless of the reason, it is important to seek help if you think you have a gambling problem. If you are concerned about your gambling, you can schedule a screening or attend a Let’s Talk session at the CUCRC to discuss it with a counselor. There are also a number of resources and programs that can support students, faculty and staff in recovery from a variety of behaviors, including gambling. If you are struggling with an addiction, you can also contact a mental health professional through AcademicLiveCare, which allows you to schedule virtual counseling or psychiatry appointments with CU Boulder providers. In addition, the National Problem Gambling Helpline offers free 24/7 telephone, text and live chat support.