Limiting Your Ability to Gamble

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No matter how strong the urge is to gamble, you cannot do it without four things: time, money, access and a decision (detailed below). And since the most severe forms of gambling addiction can result in an uncontrollable desire to gamble, part of the recovery process is to limit your ability to gamble. Recognizing the needs of a gambler is the first step in this process.

Money or Other Items of Value
You cannot gamble unless you have something to wager. This usually means money of course, but it can be anything of value.

Restrict your access to things which you could wager as much as possible. You can want to:

  • Carry only as much cash as you need;
  • Schedule automatic payments through your bank account;
  • Pay your bills as soon as you get paid;
  • Get rid of your debit card and credit cards (or at least the ability to take cash advances);
    • One useful resource: the Global Step program allows you to disable your debit and credit cards at more than 1,000 casinos nationwide
    • And in some cases, you may want to consider giving control of your finances and/or assets to a spouse or loved one

Time
Gambling takes time – sometimes a lot of it! Keep yourself busy as possible with things you enjoy that are not related to gambling. Examples include:

  • Go to group events (bowling nights, social clubs, etc.)
  • Schedule personal relaxation/recreation time;
  • Plan outings with your family or friends;
  • Pursue a new hobby

Access
You cannot gamble unless you have something to bet on. Restrict your access to gambling as much as you can:

  • Have yourself excluded or restricted from gambling establishments;
  • Block online gambling sites on your computer;
  • Don’t make “friendly bets” with friends or acquaintances;
  • And don’t go anyplace where gambling is available

The Decision
Before you gamble, you must first make the decision to gamble. Gambling begins with the first bet – which is usually the easiest one not to make because your mind is clearest before you begin to gamble.
Whenever you feel an urge to gamble:

  • Think about the consequences of your actions;
  • Find a healthy activity to engage in;
  • Tell yourself to stop thinking about gambling; and…1
  • If you can’t stop thinking about it, call someone whom you trust (or call 1-800-GAMBLER!) and talk things out immediately!

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