While one of the perks of gambling for real money is the possibility to win rewards through jackpots, prizes or other bonuses, players should never forget the main reason they gamble – for entertainment purposes only.
Gambling, whether online or off, should be viewed as any form of any entertainment you would otherwise indulge in, and money should be set aside for spending.
If gambling becomes anything other than entertainment and if feelings of enjoyment and fun are replaced by negative feelings, it is time to stop and re-evaluate the purpose of your gambling sessions. If you find it hard to stop, you may have a gambling problem. Learn to recognize the warning signs and seek help if need be.
There is a reason why governments limit gambling to adults over the age of 18, as this is the expected age that players can gamble responsibly and make decisions regarding their gambling habits that will prevent problem habits.
Gambling responsibly entails playing at the right time, with the right amount of money, for the right length of time, and knowing when to stop when warning signs start to show.
Gambling responsibly means:
- Deciding on the maximum amount of money that you can afford to lose at the casino, prior to your gambling session, and sticking to that amount.
- Deciding on how long you can play at the casino, and sticking to your decision.
- Not getting so caught up in your gaming session that you lose track of time, and taking regular breaks during the session.
- Gambling with money you can afford to lose and not taking from other household budgets. Our 5 tips to build your poker bankroll is an excellent example of how to manage a gambling budget.
- Not borrowing money to gamble, whether from family members, friends or banks.
- Not gambling if you are not in the right frame of mind. Avoiding any gambling activities if you are angry, depressed or under the influence of any substance.
- Viewing gambling as a pleasant form of entertainment which is one of several in your life. As such, ensuring that your life includes other forms of entertainment and that gambling is not your only form of fun.
- Recognizing your weak areas and signs of problem gambling.
- Getting help at the first sign of addictive behavior.
Recognizing the Signs of a Gambling Problem
If you answer yes to any of the questions below, then you may have a gambling problem and it is best to seek help from the many resources available to Indian gamblers.
- Do you have negative thoughts about gambling such as anger, depression or even suicide?
- Do you turn to gambling when you are feeling angry, frustrated or disappointed?
- Do you feel despair if you run out of gambling funds?
- Do you gamble more than you can afford to and spend money earmarked for other things (such as rent, food, etc) on your gambling habits?
- Have you ever lied to anyone about your gambling habits?
- Do you gamble when you are bored?
- Does spending time gambling mean more to you than spending time with friends or family?
- Have you stayed home from work, studies or other commitments in order to gamble?
- Do you chase your losses?
- Have you heard criticism from others about your gambling habits?
- Have you borrowed money to cover your gambling habits?
*When gambling remember the odds are on the House, that is why you need a gameplan before you even begin. Learn what are the odds of winning at each of the casino games and always gamble with that in mind.
You are NOT ALONE. While gambling in India is a very popular form of entertainment, unfortunately society in this country still views gambling addiction as a taboo and therefore resources are somewhat less easily available than in other countries. That does not mean, however, that there is no assistance available for those who feel they may have a gambling problem. Check out these options:
Ask the casino to help you limit your gambling time or money spent there: Many casinos allow you limit your spending, thereby giving you control over the funds channeled into your account over a daily, weekly or monthly time frame.
Self-exclusion: This more drastic measure involves asking the casino to exclude you as a customer altogether and not allow you to open an account again.
Contact Gamblers Anonymous India: Formed in Mumbai in 2010, Gamblers Anonymous India  brings gambling addicts together to share testimonials and give each other strength to overcome their gambling problems. The Gamblers Anonymous helpline number in India is 8826904945.
Contact your Nearest Hospital: A number of major hospitals, such as New Delhi’s Trust Hospital, offer programs that treat problem gamblers. Trust Hospital helps around 7,000 people each year through their unique program.
De-Addiction Centers: Over 500 centers around India offer programs to help with addictive habits . Browse this site and search by state for a center near you.
Get Help Online: The beauty of the internet is that it offers players access to resources, no matter what their geographical location. Check out sites such as Gamcare , a British based support group, which offers online support and forums to develop responsible gambling habits and help problem gamblers.
Only a tiny fraction of gamblers ever reach the point that their habits become problematic. Making a few important decisions before sitting down to gamble can help you develop healthy gambling habits and allow you to enjoy the fun and entertainment that there is to be had at casinos, online and off. These 5 steps to overcome addiction article might help.
To encapsulate: Make a decision about how much you want to spend on your gambling sessions and how long you wish you spend gambling. Once you have reached these limits, stop – even if you are having lots of fun.
Only gamble when you are seeking a fun form of entertainment – not to escape your day to day problems, not to chase losses from a previous gambling session and certainly not when you have been drinking alcohol.
Be honest with yourself about aspects such as time spent gambling and money spent.
Look out for warning signs in your own behavior and be honest enough to admit that you might have a problem. Most importantly, don’t be ashamed to seek help if you think you may have a gambling problem. Help is available.
 gamblingtherapy.org, Who Are Gambling Therapy, 2015
 deaddictioncentres.in, Don ´t Gamble Your LIfe Away, 2012
 gamcare.org.uk, Welcome to Gamcare, 2015