Early disclaimer: Gambling is stupid. Don’t do it. But who am I kidding? Some of you are going to lose your money on a dice roll anyway. I mean, heaven forbid you’d try other methods of getting rich. Like hard work, clever investing, or in actually contributing something to society. But let’s say you lack the ability for all that, and you must gamble. Well, at least ensure the following safeties are in place:
1. Use Your Watch Alarm
Always wear your watch when you’re gambling, especially in a casino. And be sure to set the alarm. Know why?
Just look at most casino interiors. Notice how they all seem to hate windows? Or how they’re full of flashing lights, and the air conditioning is going full tilt? Those are ideal conditions to make you lose track of time. That’s why people are capable of gaming overnight, or practically living in there.
With a watch, you’re alert to how many hours you’ve been gaming. Otherwise, even an hour can feel like a brisk 15 minutes. And the longer you stay in the casino, the more likely you are to go over-budget. So give yourself a time limit for hanging around, even if you’re not betting. Once the hour (or two hours) is up, head for the doors.
2. Get a Runner to Alert You
Yes, it helps to have a friend watch your budget. But not if said friend has also been gambling. That’d be like asking the drunk next to you to drive you home from the bar. Sometimes, it can even backfire, with the friend encouraging you to stay on instead.
If you want a friend to back you up, make sure she’s not gambling with you. She should be reading a book on the couch, or watching iPad movies or something. It’s even better if she can stay outside, and run in to check once in a while. Her job is to nag you into leaving, as soon as you’ve wasted enough cash.
You can also get someone to call or SMS you, but make sure you can hear your phone.
3. Self-Exclusion Beyond Casinos
Most Singaporeans associate gambling addiction with the casinos. Hey, it only became a big deal once Marina Bay Sands and the dolphin kidnap squad (Resorts World Sentosa) moved in. But look beyond that: Even if you have a self-exclusion order from the casino, it doesn’t stop you buying a Toto ticket, or betting on a horse. So if you’re fighting a gambling problem, take a holistic approach. Exclude yourself from those alternatives as well.
Singapore Pools exclusion lasts for 12 months, and the turf club’s exclusion will close your account. That ought to make betting as convenient as a 7-11 on Everest.
4. Cash, No Credit
Whether at the casino or your mah jong table at home, establish a no credit rule. When you go to the casino, leave the credit cards in your drawer. When you’re playing in the kitchen or wherever, set a firm “no IOU” rule.
This prevents you from breaking a set budget. Once you run out of cash, there’s no way to keep gambling. Also, using cash adds a psychological dimension: Staring at money brings out the Scrooge McDuck side of your personality. It’s long been known that punters handling cash tend to make smaller bets.
Even when it comes to Toto or 4D, be sure to handle the money while in the queue. Holding and crumpling it will remind you that: “Hey, I can walk off with this right now. Or maybe I should peel just one note off and keep it.”
5. Don’t Drink And Gamble
Drinking and gambling go side by side. The latter is an activity for the stupid, and the former ensures you qualify. They go together like lamp-posts and fast cars.
Notice that casinos will do everything in their power to make you drink. Won a round? Have a free drink. Lost too many rounds? Have a free drink, you’ll feel better. Just blew your son’s college education? Have a free drink…no, it’s for him you idiot, he’ll need it.
Alcohol removes your inhibitions and makes you aggressive. You’ll relax in the face of insane danger, whether it’s betting your life savings on Blackjack or telling the 120 kilo bouncer about his mother’s indiscretions. It’s the reason you’ll end up broke and broken.
So never, ever, drink while you’re gambling. On the other hand, if you’re gambling over a mah jong table at home, you should ensure your guests drink as much as physically possible.
How do you keep your gambling in check? Comment and let us know!