My parents both worked in gambling industry, and I split my college days between the classroom and the casino floor. Today, I feed my family by covering the world of slot machines, sportsbooks, table games, and Sin City culture.
Suffice it to say, I have nothing against gamblers or the trade they ply trying to beat the house at its own game. With that said, I’m well aware that gambling can become a problem for folks from all walks of life.
I want to contribute to combating compulsive gambling, so please take an honest appraisal of these six reasons to consider taking a break from the casino. Three of these reasons are negative, while three are positive developments. Find out more below.
1 – You Can’t Afford to Risk Money on Negative Bets
The most common reason for gamblers to get scarce around their favorite casino is a lack of available funds.
In the worst cases, bettors who go belly-up might borrow from anybody willing to throw them a bone. After burning through a borrowed bankroll or three, these players finally throw in the towel and retreat to the world of 9-to-5 clock-punching. And once they’ve scraped up enough scratch to put a stake on the table, they repeat that vicious cycle all over again.
Unfortunately, this sorry scene plays out in casinos from coast to coast and in all corners of the globe. Whether they’re wealthy, middle class, or otherwise, gamblers who can’t exercise proper bankroll management constantly find themselves chasing their tail round and round.
That doesn’t have to be you though, thanks to a novel concept known as sensible bankroll management. By drawing a strict dividing line in the sand to separate your gambling bankroll from your personal finances, you should be able to instantly identify when the proverbial line has been crossed.
I suggest a gambling budget equal to 10% of your monthly pay. In other words, if you earn $4,000 per month, you get to put $400 on the line at your local casino every 30 days. Should you exhaust that $400 allotment at any point between the beginning and end of that month, you must abstain from gambling altogether until the first of the next month arrives.
Remember that casino games — however entertaining, engaging, and potentially enriching they may be — are always stacked against the player. The probability of winning any particular wager never matches the payout odds offered on a successful play. And in the long run, the house always wins.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have fun playing your favorite tables or machines, not in the slightest. When real money casino gambling is viewed as merely another source of entertainment—one which costs money just like attending a sporting event or seeing a movie at the theatre— spending a few bucks to have a blast is well worth the expense.
After all, when was the last time you walked out of the ballpark with more money than you arrived with? Indeed, gambling is one of the only hobbies that can occasionally produce a modest profit, or even a life-changing jackpot score.
But responsibility reigns supreme for successful casino players, so whenever you find yourself contemplating the urge to risk money you can’t afford to lose, take a much needed step back and assess the situation soberly. Failing to pay your bills or provide for your loved ones because you lost your paycheck chasing bad bets is never a good look.
Fortunately, with a little discipline and honesty with the person in the mirror, you don’t have to be that player.
2 – You’ve Found a More Fulfilling Way to Spend That Money
On a more positive note, one of the best reasons to ditch the casino floor for a while is because you just have better things to do.
Be it a new passion project, travels to parts unknown, or checking out the newest culinary sensation nearby, there’s always something else to spend your hard-earned money on. With a finite amount of financial resources to work with, every dollar is a precious commodity—especially in today’s tumultuous economic times.
A wise man by the name of Ben Franklin once observed that “a penny saved is a penny earned,” and that sage advice applies to gambling aficionados more than most. By keeping a few bucks in your pocket that would’ve ordinarily been lost playing casino games like blackjack or baccarat, you add the same amount to your new pastime’s payroll.
Those gamblers who never seem to have a problem with compulsive play typically share one thing in common — other interests and inspirations. Sure, they enjoy mixing it up at the casino as much as the next guy or gal, but they have no problem skipping a session or two while pursuing other opportunities.
3 – Gambling Is Eating Away at Time With Family and Friends
Speaking of opportunities, we only get one life to spend with the ones we love most.
In that light, when you find yourself talking with your favorite dealer more often than your spouse, children, friends, or co-workers, consider it a wakeup call flashing in bright lights overhead.
Gambling can quickly devour one’s precious personal time, as “just another hand honey” turns into “just another hour or two.” Soon enough, the hours stretch past midnight into the sad haze of an early morning walk through the casino parking lot. Before you know it, you’re waking your better half up before dawn as you crawl into bed covered in shame and regret.
Whenever you get the sense that gambling has become a priority over the people who matter more than anyone else, take a step back and reassess. A break from the action and some downtime spent at home can offer valuable perspective, showing you that the most important prizes in life can’t be won, but they can be lost.
4 – You’ve Recently Started a Relationship or Met New Friends
On the other side of the personal relationship coin, beginning a romantic relationship or sparking up a new friendship offer a prime opportunity to give your life balance.
Chances are good that the new person in your world isn’t as passionate about casino gambling as you are. Knowing this, you wouldn’t want to ruin a good thing by skipping a date to spend a few hours grinding the craps table… Would you?
Nothing puts a prospective partner off more than inattentiveness and an unwillingness to adapt. So, if offered the choice between a casual night out on the town and a trip to the casino, make the safe bet and follow your paramour’s lead.
Taking things one step further, if you just found out that you or your partner is expecting, pushing any concern for the casino aside is a no-brainer. You need to start saving for diapers, formula, clothes, medical care, and maybe even a bigger place to call home. As such, putting money best spent on your new baby boy or girl at risk on gambling games isn’t all that acceptable given the circumstances awaiting nine months down the road.
5 – You’re Not Having Fun Any Longer
For many longtime gamblers, a time comes when placing the bets becomes the sole source of pleasure they seek.
Winning chips, losing chips, heading home flush, or flat busted, it’s all the same so long as they’re in the action for another night. These worn-down players have seen it all, and they’ve burned through more bankrolls than you can count, so that next session doesn’t really have much to offer.
At that point, they’re simply playing out of habit for sheer sake of repetition and routine. They play because they’ve always played, the results be damned.
Of course, when this level of apathy arises, you should take it as a signal from the gambling gods that a lengthy reprieve is in order. I’ve said it already, but casinos are supposed to be sources of entertainment and enjoyment… So, when you stop having fun, just stop playing.
6 – You’ve Won Big and Need to Spend the Winnings Wisely
The main reason gamblers grind through joyless sessions on the tables or machines is hope.
Jackpot payouts and huge hand pays are won every day, as random faces among the masses erupt in joy before pocketing their cash in elation. If you happen to beat the odds and build a huge bankroll overnight, why put that long-awaited reward at risk by continuing to play?
You’ve got exactly what you came to the casino all those times for, and now, it’s time to figure out the most efficient and effective ways to invest that infusion of funds. Until you have your new money prudently spent on improving your life, bringing that dough back to the casino is just a fool’s errand.
Writing about the negative aspects of casino gambling is never easy for a gambling lover. The industry serves as the lifeblood of my hometown and current place of residence, providing countless jobs and opportunities for locals and transplants alike.
Nonetheless, an honest appraisal of the casino scene makes it clear that a message like this has a large audience out there waiting in the wings. When you confront any of the six situations and scenarios described above—or maybe just your own instincts—never hesitate to take a break from risking money on games of chance and skill.
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