Responsible Gambling: Budget Habits and Social Connection

A gambling game plan can become gold. Players who embrace two major concepts – fun and fundamentals – might savor a long and prosperous gambling life.

We examine those attributes in a two-section responsible gambling piece, culled from first-person experience and principles shared by many seasoned gamblers. Sources include Keith Whyte, executive director for the National Council on Problem Gambling.

Why Responsible Gambling Matters Now

Problem Gambling Awareness Month, the launch of legalized sports betting in North Carolina, and the multi-billion dollar euphoria of March Madness accentuate the need for staying power.

The more you know yourself, the better your chance to thrive in the legal gambling age.

Mastering fun and fundamentals means, among other things, gleaning lessons from one’s gambling friends and sporting individual money management.

Both areas matter. Here’s a look at each area.

Sports Betting Budgeting: The Long View

Bankroll for the Season

Turn your gambling-budget bankroll into a wagering season. That can mean one month, three months, or a year. Play how you like, but if the funds disappear before the “season” is over, the campaign ends until “next year” starts.

If the budget for a “season” goes bust, consider the break a layoff, not punishment.

Athletes have hot and cold seasons. So do gamblers. The break provides a valued cooling-off period and stokes anticipation of “next year.”

This prevents turning a slight loss into a compound setback by chasing at multiple sportsbook apps.

Don’t Chase Losses and Understand Your Bets

Avoid making deposits during a losing day. That could trigger chasing. Odds don’t favor recouping a day of losses with one lightning-bolt recovery. Play the long game. Accept minor setbacks that are easier to recoup.

Budget to your strengths. Know what type of bets you win. That might mean moneyline wagers or Over-Unders for total daily goals in the National Hockey League. Maybe you are an effective in-game player who adjusts to perceived flows in action.

There are certain things you are good at and may hit repeatedly. That’s where you want your money.

Conversely, budget away from your weak areas. Which bets do you lose? Multi-legged parlays, for instance, are tough. It’s essential to know how much of your money goes into each form of betting. Some are in your wheelhouse, and some are not.

Find the Value

Budgeting includes profit boosts. When offered, taking one will eliminate the disadvantageous vig for smaller gamblers.

Demand value. Do you want to lay -125 on anything but a sure shot? Many big players leverage significant money on a slight edge. Lower and medium-budget players don’t.

Remember how much fun this is and savor the benefit of a social network.

Related Pages: Implied Probability Calculator | GT Playbook Newsletter | North Carolina Gambling Resources

Observing the Social Connection in Sports Betting

Benefits and Accountability in Group Play

This is the most overlooked part of new-age gambling. Mobile technology, the miracle invention that revolutionized gambling, brought the benefit of socialization.

It has, for example, re-united old friends who once watched games together in a bar. Many have gotten married, begun raising families, and staying home.

But now they have an outlet. Friends can text screenshots of bets, game reactions, and barbs with their buddies. Some screenshots reveal a $10 play, but it’s a longshot winner. Bragging rights, baby. Bet size doesn’t matter.

Players don’t have to be on top of each other, either. They can text at whatever intervals, still meet family obligations, etc.

In a network of compatriots, each member may discover a different promo. DraftKings has an NBA profit boost. FanDuel assembles a four-team, same-game NHL parlay. Caesars may award $5 in bonus funds just for logging in.

The group I correspond with nightly across four states (New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, and Delaware) also forms a built-in watchdog.

We see one player effectively setting daily limits at a couple of books. If he reaches that loss limit on a given day, he’s shut off until the following day. He can’t make that late-night, adrenaline-based, dopamine-driven binging mistake.

We learn from him. And the shared stories become a priceless, timeless bonding experience.

Bad Beats and the Clutch Cash-Out

One player recently had a $100 introductory bonus in a FanDuel referral program. He staked it all on a four-legged same-game parlay involving the Edmonton Oilers at +1054. I threw in 10 bucks because he loved it.

We hit three legs and only needed Connor McDavid to score. McDavid did, and we exchanged several celebratory texts. What a call, etc. My friend gets  $1,054 for jumping on a FanDuel promo, and I’m due $105.

Our ecstasy lasted three minutes. Then, officials changed the scoring, taking the goal away from McDavid. They yanked my friend’s $1,054. We lamented how the promo giveth, but fate taketh away.

The ending was much better for a different friend. He put $5 on a 12-team moneyline parlay last NFL season. It was going to pay $3,750. After hitting six games, he called me about cashing out. No way, I told him. Not for $150. Play it out.

Four games later, he calls back. The Philadelphia Eagles had pulled out an unlikely overtime triumph over the Buffalo Bills, and now he had 10 winners, $1,000 bucks. Just two games left.

“Take it,” I told him. “You have no fingernails left now, and you don’t want to sweat out the Minnesota Vikings (his pick) and the Chicago Bears on Monday night.”

His wife tells him not to blow it either, and he grabs the $1,000.

Later, the 11th leg hits, and here’s the second-guess slam. He never should have taken the buyout. Could have been looking at $3,750. Why did he let his wife (and me) talk him into it? This was gonna pay telephone numbers. He’s kicking himself.

For more torture, he then watches every agonizing moment of the Vikings’ 12-10 loss to the Bears.  They gave up the winning field goal with 10 seconds left in the final game.

He normally would have lost the whole bet on the last pick. But instead, he had a grand.

Two days later, I saw him with his wife. He called her a genius for talking sense into him. They were both beaming. He never acknowledged the 11th-leg rant.

And I never ratted him out.

Anecdotes like these become more priceless and embellished over time. (Maybe in five years, we’ll call it 10 Grand). That’s the joy of this new betting age.

You can’t beat the camaraderie. Bet responsibly, stay in the game, and have a blast.


About the Author
Dave Bontempo

Dave Bontempo

Dave Bontempo is an award-winning writer and broadcaster, who has covered the sports industry since the 1970s. He won the Sam Taub Award for Excellence in Boxing Broadcasting by the Boxing Writers Association of America in 1997, and is in the New Jersey and Atlantic City Boxing Halls of Fame. Bontempo has broadcast major fights all over the world. The advent of legalized sports wagering shifted his focus to this exciting new industry in 2018.

Get connected with us on Social Media