Should You Take a Break From Betting on Football?
Betting can be fun, but it can also lead to addiction. There’s a line in the sand which, once you cross, you’ve got to fight to get back from.
Having a punt on the weekly football is something many fans of the beautiful game engage in. There’s no doubt that it does add some extra spice to life and a wager on the outcome can supercharge an already exhilarating game.
In 2017, the UKGC acknowledged that betting on football is the most popular form of gambling in the UK, and with the rise of online bookmakers and betting apps, that’s likely going to increase.
Betting can be fun, but as many of us know all too well, it can also lead to addiction. There’s a line in the sand which, once you cross, you’ve got to fight to get back from.
Today, we’re going to show you three key signs that you might need to take a break from betting on football and introduce you to some tools you can use to take back control.
Three Signs You Might Need to Take a Break
1 – You’ve Lost Sleep Over Money Spent Betting
If you’ve ever worried about how much you’ve spent gambling, it’s a sure sign that you could be losing control. Sure, we’re all capable of getting carried away every once in a while, especially after a few pints down the pub, but if you’ve ever put yourself or your family under financial stress because of bets you’ve made, that’s a warning sign.
You should never lose sleep, fail to (or nearly fail to) pay bills and meet obligations, or lose substantial amounts of savings because of betting.
A good rule of thumb would be never to bet more than 5% of what you earn. So, if you earn £500 a week, the most you should spend betting is £25. Even then, you should be able to afford it and it should never come above more important things like putting food on the table and paying off debts.
2 – You’ve Had a Fight With Someone Over Betting
No, we’re not talking about fighting with that loud-mouthed Chelsea fan down at the bookies. We’re talking about your partner, your friends, or someone important in your life.
As a matter of fact, it doesn’t even have to be a fight to be concerning. If people in your life are concerned about your betting activities, or if it has even caused minor strain, that’s a sure sign of a problem.
Betting is supposed to be entertainment! If people are trying to intervene, are hassling you for money you’ve borrowed, or are concerned about the amount of time and attention you spend gambling, it’s time to take a step back and think about whether they might be right that you are in too deep.
3 – You View Betting as a Moneymaking Activity
Guys, let’s be real, football betting ‘aint the stock market. We’re not statisticians in suits trying to squeeze a good return on investment. This is betting – it’s random, anything can happen, and it’s not a reliable way to make an income.
We’re not saying you can’t make money betting on football, because it’s possible. We’re just saying that it isn’t a suitable way to make money which you need, and very few will ever make it as professional sports bettors.
If you spend a lot of valuable time researching bets, pouring through stats, and obsessing over which bets to make, you need to pull back. The human brain is designed to spot patterns, and that means sometimes we see them where they don’t exist. Trust us, there are no secret betting patterns that win every time – it’s mostly down to chance.
We’re not saying you should just place random bets. Considering form can be important, but let’s face it, most tipsters are no different than.
So, before we move on to how to regain control, let’s summarize. If betting has caused financial problems, worry and anxiety, or if you spend a lot of time and resources planning and thinking about it, you may either already have a problem or be developing one.
So, what should you do about it? We’re glad you asked.
How to Regain Control When Problem Gambling Takes Hold
While you won’t find too many real patterns buried in the historical stats, you will often find them in a betting journal. Writing down exactly when you bet, how much, and what triggered you to have the urge can help you identify patterns in your behaviour you might not even be aware of.
We won’t reveal names here for the sake of privacy, but one friend of the author used a betting journal for a month and he realized he was making bets every Tuesday, just as the dread of facing another three days at a job he couldn’t stand was at its peak.
These are the sorts of insights a betting journal can help you unlock. Understanding your own behaviour is the first step to controlling it. An accurate map of the territory is the key to conquering it.
Use Self Exclusion
Most legitimate bookmakers will have self-exclusion facilities which allow you to take a break for a while. In fact, the UK Gambling Commission demands that bookies take measures to help problem gamblers and stop them betting, and they’ve been known to slap fines on operators who don’t properly comply.
When you make use of self-exclusion tools, the bookie is legally bound to stop you from using its services for a set period of time. This could be 24 hours, one week, one month, or even up to six weeks.
You can even use services like GAMSTOP to exclude yourself from a growing number of UK gambling sites. If you’re in another country, it may have an equivalent service. Eventually, all UK-licensed bookies will be required to join GAMSTOP.
Get Help & Support
It can sometimes be enough to reach out to a dedicated friend or family member for support, but unless they’ve been there themselves, it’s difficult for them to relate.
If you don’t think you can stop betting on your own, look for a support group like your local chapter of Gamblers Anonymous. Being able to talk about your struggles and learn from the experiences of people who have walked the path before you can be an important factor in regaining control.
Some Final Words
Many of us grew up loving the teams we support and the game in general passionately. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with having a punt on the footy, and we’ll be the first to admit it does add an extra element of excitement into watching a game.
However, betting and football don’t have to go hand in hand, and if you’re stressed, financially struggling, or worried because of betting, you know what you need to do. It’s time to get back to what football is all about – forgetting your worries for 90 minutes and watching the beautiful game unfold.
Always bet on football responsibly, and if you can’t, it’s best to take a break until you can.
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