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Gambling: Knowing When To Call It Quits

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In 2007, British documentary maker Louis Theroux turned his focus to gambling in Las Vegas and followed a series of gamblers during their stay in Sin City. The show takes a sad turn when Louis meets two friends with varying degrees of luck.

After finding himself $10,000 up at the blackjack table, Dan spends the next 36 hours frittering away his winnings before eventually dipping into his cash reserves. Louis leaves Dan at 5am in the morning still chasing his losses.

It’s a sad expose of problem gambling and serves as a stark warning to everyone that enjoys a flutter. The documentary might be enough to put some off gambling for life but fear not there are ways to gamble responsibly and here’s how.

In his documentary on gambling Louis Theroux quits whilst he’s ahead and comes away with a profit.

Be realistic

Firstly, you’re not gambling to get rich and if you think you are you need to reassess your aims quickly. There’s only one winner from gambling and that’s the house. You may beat the house from time to time but in the long-run, the house ALWAYS wins.

So be realistic, you’re very, very unlikely to get rich from gambling so you’re actually doing it for fun. It’s a release, a great way to socialise and when you do win, it’s incredibly fun. You should view gambling in the same way as you view other hobbies, something to be enjoyed in moderation.

Set yourself limits

The most important limit that you’ll need to work out is your monetary limit, track your spending and then secondly, you should set yourself a time limit. When it comes to a monetary limit be as realistic as possible, only gamble what you would be happy to lose.

Forget about any money that you might make from gambling, instead come up with a figure that you would be okay with losing. That should then become your limit, and make sure you don’t go over your limit because once you do, it’s a slippery slope to ruin.

Also be realistic with your financial limit. There’s no point in setting an unrealistically low limit that you’re not going to stick to. If you do that you’ll limit your fun, make yourself feel bad and inevitably end up spending more than you can afford.

Time limits are also really important to make sure you have fun and don’t spend too much money. Casino games with low stakes like slots are easy to get absorbed in so when you’re playing these games give yourself a time limit, whether it be 15 minutes or 2 hours.

One the subject of slots, money management tips can be helpful, one proven method is to set aside your winnings. Through avoiding spending your winnings instantly, you’ll be able to see how successful your time has been by comparing how much you’ve bet to how much you’ve won.

Separate alcohol from gambling

There’s a reason that alcoholic drinks are free in most Las Vegas casinos. The more booze that gamblers swill the more likely they will be to make bad decisions at the table. Alcohol impairs your judgement and puts you at risk of problem gambling.

If you enjoy drinking that’s fine, just make sure that you don’t mix your love for alcohol with your love for gambling. You can set all the limits you want but they won’t be much use once you’ve had one too many beers.

Plan your gambling

Gambling’s fun, we get it, but we don’t always do fun things. We have to make time for things we find fun and that should be the same for gambling. Thanks to online gambling it’s now possible to have a bet anytime, anyplace, and that can be dangerous.

You want to make gambling a special occasion rather than something you do every day. Plan your gambling in advance and make sure that you don’t fall into the trap of playing too often.

You might want to play your PlayStation all the time, but you don’t because you have other responsibilities. Treat gambling the same and don’t let it control you.

Gamble online

Online gambling is often cited as a bad thing by gambling critics, but it can actually be a great tool to help you monitor your gambling. Every online provider worth their salt have tools that allow you to set financial and time limits on your gambling.

You can set these limits before you play and the provider will lock you out once you’ve reached your limit. If you head down to a land-based casino there’s a very slim chance of this happening.

Online gambling is also beneficial as it tracks and monitors your overall profit and loss. It’s easy to fool yourself into thinking that you haven’t actually lost too much money through gambling. It’s impossible to fool yourself into thinking that when you can see your profit and loss in black & white.

Avoid sports betting

One of the problems with gambling is that it permeates almost every part of life. To enjoy gambling responsibly it’s important to keep it separate from the everyday. If you’re a massive football fan then avoid betting on the sport.

You want football to remain a hobby that you love rather than another conduit for gambling. If you begin to partake in more and more forms of gambling you could soon encounter problems.

Ignore the haters

Misery loves company and gamblers love misery. Those that struggle with gambling love nothing more than seeing someone else struggle with gambling. As such, you’ll often see friends putting pressure on each other in casinos to continue gambling.

If someone’s on a losing streak the only thing that can make them feel better is seeing someone on a worse losing streak. Ignore the haters and NEVER bet more than you can afford because of peer pressure.


– Never gamble to make money, remember gambling’s supposed to be fun and it’s not an occupation

– Set your limits beforehand and be realistic to give yourself a better chance of sticking to them

– Track your profit and loss online

– Don’t buckle to peer pressure

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