For most people, betting on sports is simply a form of entertainment that doesn’t go any further than that. For some, it can become something much more troublesome.
Responsible gambling is an essential and driving factor behind the legalization of online sportsbooks. Bringing sports betting under state regulation and oversight does a number of things, but one of those is ensuring that bettors have access to responsible gambling resources.
Leading online sportsbooks make it easy to sign up for an account. It should be just as easy for you to self-exclude. For the most part, it is.
At DraftKings Sportsbook, for example, you can take care of it right on the website or app.
If you scroll to the bottom of the page, there’s a link for responsible gambling.
Once you click that link, you’ll find information and resources, as well as instructions on how you can set limits and self-exclude.
On FanDuel Sportsbook, it’s the same basic process. Once you’ve scrolled to the bottom of the page, you’ll see a similar link.
There are tips and information for you to read through, as well as several options for setting personal limits.
It also offers instructions on taking a break/self-exclusion.
At both DraftKings and FanDuel, you can also request to permanently close your account at any time with no questions asked.
Tips for betting responsibly
For many bettors, sports betting is a fun and entertaining pastime. Not every bettor will run into problems, but reality says that it can happen to anyone at any time. Here are a few more tips that can help you keep things on the right track:
- Have clear limits in place: Limits can apply in a number of ways, including the time you are allocating to wagering on sports and the funds that you use to play with. In all cases, you should be within your comfort level. The amount of time you spend shouldn’t, for example, interfere with other responsibilities that are much more important. Clear limits can help you stay disciplined and enjoy it much more when you do bet.
- Explore other interests: Sure, sports betting can be fun and exciting, but it’s not the only entertaining hobby out there. Spend time with family and friends, go for a hike, read a book or try anything else you like to do. Just make sure that you’re not letting sports betting become your all-consuming source of entertainment.
- Know when to walk away: If you begin to find that sports betting is no longer enjoyable, then you may want to consider taking a break. This may help recapture your interest when you come back, but then again it may not. Either way, don’t force something that isn’t there, as that can lead to additional issues, including problem gambling. Breaks can work wonders, so recognize when it’s time to take a step back.
How to recognize problem gambling
Like many other types of addictive behavior, there are several forms of problem gambling. While some bettors can have fun while betting responsibly and then move along without issue, it’s not so simple for others.
Problem gambling could start on a small scale, such as minor mood swings based on the results of your bets. It could also spiral into something much larger and out of control, as in betting with borrowed funds in hopes of getting ahead or catching up.
In between those two extremes are plenty of other symptoms that could point to an issue:
- Quickly becoming defensive about gambling habits or regularly arguing with others about your gambling.
- Attempting to keep gambling hidden and/or flat out lying about it.
- Allowing gambling to become so consuming that it distracts from other activities, or even getting edgy when you’re not betting.
- Massive mood swings that stem directly from betting.
- Neglecting normal day-to-day functions and responsibilities: going to work, personal hygiene, etc.
- Not paying bills, looking to raise cash regularly borrowing money.
For bettors, knowing the signs can be crucial, and the same holds true for those who care about them. By recognizing the trouble spots and signs of problem behavior, the better your chances of addressing the problem.
What if you need help in California?
While sports betting is not legal in California, other forms of gambling are, and there are resources available at both the state and the national level that can help to address problem gambling, all of which we cover in full detail here. Briefly, here are the top options:
- Office of Problem Gambling from the California Department of Public Health
- CalGETS — California Gambling Education and Treatment Services
- NCPG — National Council on Problem Gambling
- Gamblers Anonymous — 12-step recovery program, meetings, resources, etc.
The Bureau of Gambling Control also has a voluntary self-exclusion program. If California eventually legalizes sports betting, you’ll also be able to exclude yourself from sportsbooks.
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