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responsible gambling

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About 10 million people in the U.S. have a problem with gambling – it’s a serious issue and it’s one we need to have a grown-up conversation about.

Taking the right approach to tackling the problem is crucial, which means we should be educating people on how to gamble safely and responsibly.

From being clear on the definition of gambling to getting people to think about why gambling organizations do what they do, this post provides advice on how to teach people how to gamble without it becoming a problem for them.

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Educate people on what the definition of gambling is

Let’s get one thing straight: you simply cannot educate people about safe and responsible gambling if they’re not clear on exactly what gambling is – if you don’t, then you’ll have no certainty that they are really taking in any of the lessons you pass on.

Let’s get one thing straight: you simply cannot educate people about safe and responsible gambling if they’re not clear on exactly what gambling is

People think that defining gambling is simple, and to an extent it is – “gambling is betting, gaming or participating in a lottery.” Basically, it’s playing games of chance where you have money invested in the outcome.

The definition of gambling is pretty simple to apply to certain activities – playing poker in a casino is clearly gambling. Where problems arise is how this applies to casual activities. For example, say you have a fantasy sports league with your work colleagues. Now, would it be gambling if you each pay $10 to enter and the winner claimed all the entrance fees? Yes.

To teach people about safe and responsible gambling you must start with this premise – any activity where you wager money on the outcome is gambling, whether it’s with friends or in a casino.

Explain the principle of bankroll management

Poker is possibly the most well-known form of gambling (Although sports betting is probably the most widely played). Millions of people play poker and there are plenty of professionals from a diverse range of backgrounds. But do you know what these diverse pros have in common? They all appreciate the principle of bankroll management.

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Bankroll management is a poker term that describes the idea of keeping the money you use for gambling separate to the cash you use for the rest of your life. It’s a safe and responsible way to betting for one simple reason – it means that your gambling activities don’t cause a financial drain on your life.

Teaching people about bankroll management not only teaches people to be safe and responsible when gambling, it also provides guidance on how to manage their money more efficiently in general – applying it to the rest of their lives means that they might start having separate savings accounts, which would help them achieve a number of life goals (such as saving for college or a house).

Get people to think about why gambling organizations do what they do

Without speaking for every nation on the planet definitively, I’m certain that most countries have gambling organizations to regulate betting activities within their borders. While most people will take this as a given, how many of them actually know the details of what these authorities do? I think we can safely say that it’s not a lot.

Using the example of one of the organizations from my side of the pond, I’ll explain one of the ways that gambling authorities protect players. Bacta is the British Amusement Catering Trade Association. It’s a non-profit organization that looks after British and high street game developers, operators, and amusement arcades.

Now, you may think that as Bacta has no power to do anything to encourage safe and responsible gambling (after all it’s a non-profit trade entity, not a regulatory body) but you’d be wrong. One Bacta's great achievement was to have the maximum stake on FOBTs (fixed odds betting terminals) lowered from £100 to £2 – setting the maximum prize at £150. By doing this, Bacta helped to curb the financial losses that people can make in a gambling session.

The example of Bacta is useful because it poses a question to people that makes them really think about gambling – “why would Bacta campaign to reduce the FOBT? Is it because there’s a danger of spending too much money if there are no limits on my gambling?” By getting people to think about the reasons that checks are placed on gambling you make the dangers relatable – and relatability is the key to not only teaching people how to be responsible, but how to then apply this to their lives.

Defining gambling, teaching people about bankroll management, and getting people to think about why gambling organizations do what they do are great ways to teach people about safe and responsible gambling.

However, these are far from the only ways – there’s also getting them to watch adverts for responsible gambling, giving them cursory tales about its dangers, and giving them a history lesson on gambling legislation.

Whatever methods we offer people, the important thing is to go with the one that works best for the specific individual(s) you are speaking to – that way the teachings are more likely to stick and become lessons for how they approach gambling.

Kayleigh Alexandra