Tips to avoid gambling problems
On Wednesday, we discussed the issue of gambling in relation to being a Christian. I am not much of a gambler, but I know that many people enjoy this form of entertainment. If gambling is something that you do in moderation, here are some tips to help you to know whether or not your habit is “moderate” and to keep it that way.
Set an amount
Choose the amount of money to which you will limit yourself. Here are a few questions that will help you to determine your gambling limit. For how long are you planning to gamble? This is a weekend trip to Vegas or a home poker game with friends? Think about how much money you might spend on another entertainment option that lasts the same length of time, such as a ballgame, golfing, fishing, etc. For instance, if you do not think that spending $75 for a day at an amusement park is a waste of money, you might set your limit at $75 for a day of gambling.
Choose an amount of money that you can lose and still say that you had a good time. For instance, if you lose $5 in a home poker game, but you enjoyed spending time with friends, that is money well spent. When you plan a trip to the casino, always ask yourself, “what if I lost every penny?” If the thought of losing all of your gambling money upsets you, your limit is too high or maybe you should not be gambling at all.
Picking a gambling limit is the easy part, convincing yourself to stop gambling when that amount is exhausted can be the hard part. If you regularly exceed your limit, you might want to find another hobby.
Consult your spouse
Make sure that those around you are okay with your gambling, especially your spouse or anyone else who shares in your finances. Gambling behind your spouses’ back is a bad, bad road on which to travel. Give your spouse veto power where he/she can find a better use for the money or even ask you to find a different hobby, one that is not so closely aligned with moral hazards.
Keep gambling fun
Does your gambling hurting relationships or causing you to neglect responsibilities? If you are staying up too late at night playing online poker or neglecting work responsibilities to bet on the ponies, you have a gambling problem. If you choose your card game over spending time with family, you have a problem. Nip that problem as soon as it reveals itself, do not way until you have broken the trust of those around you.
Make sure your gambling is legal
More and more this is becoming a moot point, but there are many states and municipalities that ban most forms of gambling, including home poker games. As believers, we have the responsibility to uphold the law. Find a new hobby.
Consider the atmosphere of your gambling venue. Is the casino really a good place for a Christian to be seen by others or to spend his time? Some places might be okay, others might not. Men might want to avoid gambling venues with scantily clad women. You might also want to stay away from other gambling venues that have a reputation for being frequented by drug users or other individuals intent on illegal activity.
Avoid drinking alcohol while gambling
One vice, in moderation at a time will help you keep a lid on things. Too much alcohol has made fools of a great many people.
I do not think that we can make an airtight case from Scripture that all gambling is off-limits to the believer, but remember that we always have the option not to gamble at all . . . that might be a wise choice. Scripture is mostly silent on this issue, however, we must use good judgment and discipline to enjoy the thrills of anticipation and competition that gambling can bring. There is safety in structure, set up a fence and enjoy yourself within the confines of that fence.
Article by Stew
Photo by kodomut