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7 Responsible Gaming Tips from a Seasoned Sports Bettor

Mike Noblin
Written by Mike Noblin
May 26, 2023
7 Responsible Gaming Tips from a Seasoned Sports Bettor

In case you haven't noticed, the phrase "Responsible Gaming" has become all the rage in the gambling industry over the last several months. The state of Ohio was instrumental in helping reshape the advertising of many super-aggressive online sportsbooks. How will the industry approach Responsible Gaming from here on out?

There are loads of articles out there about Responsible Gaming, but not many are written from a gambler's perspective. Since I've been betting on sports regularly since 2001, I felt obliged to weigh in with my thoughts and tips on this subject.

I love sports and the sports betting industry, and my goal is to help others stay in the game for the long haul without getting themselves into trouble. My team and I were recently briefed on Responsible Gaming in Las Vegas by Brianne Doura Schawohl, an industry expert who knows this subject through and through.

Tip #1: Set a Budget (AKA: Have a Bankroll)

Not enough articles are written on money management! Sure, Gambling Twitter is flooded with loads of sports betting picks and free advice. However, there just isn't enough high-quality information out there about how to set a gambling budget.

If you're wanting to get into sports betting, sit down and ask yourself how much discretionary income you want to devote to your newfound hobby. Make a plan and stick to it. This is something I wish someone would've told me back when I first started!

For example, if it's the beginning of football season and you want to get involved, ask yourself how much money you can comfortably afford to lose. Now, let's face it. Losing is never comfortable! However, you have to make peace with the fact that this is called gambling for a reason.

Find your number. We all come from different backgrounds and income levels, so that number will be different for each player! It could be $100, $1,000, or $10,000. If losing that amount of money over a course of a year or season makes you nervous, choose a smaller number.

Tip #2: Set a Conservative Bet Size and Stick to It

Whatever your overall bankroll amount is, set your bet size at 1 to 2%. This is conservative enough to keep you in the game so that even a long losing streak won't wipe you out. FYI, most professional bettors wager around 1% of their bankroll per play.

Don't deviate from your bet size, even if you're winning! I've seen too many sports bettors go on a good run, double their bet size, and lose it all when the inevitable cold streak happens.

Be the tortoise, not the hare. Slow and steady wins the race!

Tip #3: Have Realistic Expectations

I don't mean to burst anyone's bubble, but sports betting is freaking hard! It's very similar to investing in stocks, bonds, or cryptocurrencies. This isn't a get rich quick endeavor! There are going to be a lot of highs and lows.

Here's how I set expectations for a football season. I look at whatever my bankroll amount is at before the season starts. Let's say for the sake of simplicity, that it's $1,000. That means my bet size for the entire season will be $10 to $20.

I typically find around 9 college football plays and around 5 NFL plays per week during the season. With an 18 week NFL season and the college football bowl season, that comes out to around 252 plays for the season.

Tip #4: Do the Math

Based on my long-term records of around a 54.5% winning rate in NFL and CFB combined, I can reasonably expect to wind up with a season record of 137-115. That means I can expect to win around 10.5 units per football season, which would be anywhere from $105 to $210 on a $1,000 bankroll. That may sound not like much, but it's a return of 10.5% to 21%, depending on whether I risked 1% or 2% per play.

Now, let's plan for what happens if I endure a tough season. Let's say things don't go according to plan and I only win 48% of my selections. That would mean a record of 121-131.

After accounting for juice, I would need to mentally prepare for a loss of 23.1 units, which would equate to losing anywhere from $231 to $462. Can you see why it's best to always bet conservatively? The losses add up in a hurry because the juice charged by the bookmakers!

Tip #5: Set a Time Allotment (Take Days Off)

As with any other hobby, sports betting can be time consuming. You can literally spend tons of hours per week diving into statistics, tweaking your math models, or listening to sports betting podcasts for tips. Because of that, it's important to not only budget your money, but your time as well.

To keep your life from becoming unbalanced, I recommend taking days off from sports betting each week. I personally don't bet at all on the weekends during baseball or basketball season. I want to be fully present with and for my family, and not pouring over stats and scores.

During football season, I like to take Tuesdays and Wednesdays off from wagering. There aren't any games on those days anyways, at least until the MACtion starts in November (lol). I also aim to have all my bets in by Friday evening during football season, to make sure that I'm not super-glued to my phone all weekend.

Tip #6: Never Chase Losses...Or Wins

Here's a point that Mrs. Doura-Schawohl taught us during her presentation, and it's a biggie! Never chase losses...or Wins! I've always heard that chasing losses was a sign of problem gambling, but I'd never heard anything about chasing wins!

Have you ever double or triple downed on Monday Night Football just to try and "get even" for the week. That's chasing losses, and it's dangerous to say the least.

On the other hand, have you ever upped your bet size just because you were up for the day? That's chasing wins, and it can also be equally as dangerous.

The APA (American Psychological Association) lists "needing to bet in higher increments" as one of the criteria for problem gambling. That's something that needs to be considered by folks who tend to increase their bet sizes.

Tip #7: Reach Out for Help

The reason why most folks shy away from talking about Responsible Gaming is because it's a touchy subject. Like it or not, addiction has touched all of our lives in some way, shape or form.

Whether it's gambling, alcohol, drugs, or anything else in between, addiction is serious! NEVER be ashamed to ask for help! I speak on this from the heart, as I've lost many friends and a brother to addiction.

The good news is that there is help out there for folks who want it. If you're concerned that your sports betting or any other type of gambling has gotten out of hand, call 1-800-GAMBLER.

These folks are available 24/7/365 to offer you the encouragement and support you need. If you aren't comfortable talking, they also have text and live chat features available. Don't suffer in silence. We're all human and we all have problems. Thanks for reading!

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