Stimulus checks have been in the news in recent months, and more could roll out as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. That extra financial support is critical for many during these unprecedented times, but it can also be a risk factor for someone who struggles with problem gambling.
According to a news article from WOWK in Charleston, West Virginia, staff members at a local mental health clinic saw a “significant increase” in gambling when the first round of stimulus checks came out. Stimulus checks can be problematic because it’s seen as “extra money.” When people receive additional, unexpected funds, it can feel tempting to spend it on something fun that they enjoy. For some, that’s gambling.
Before You Bet doesn’t judge people who choose to gamble but instead wants to make sure that those who gamble do so responsibly. If gamblers don’t know their risk or how to set limits, they could very quickly lose all of the stimulus money they needed for essential items like groceries or unpaid bills.
Below are a few tips on how to gamble responsibly and plan ahead if choosing to gamble if another stimulus check arrives:
Focus on finances: Before you wager any extra amount of money, make sure that all your essentials are paid for. Use your stimulus check to pay for rent, utilities, groceries, or even putting it away in savings. This ensures that you’re prepared financially for the future.
Know your risk: Make sure you know your risk before you decide to gamble. By taking the free, 2-minute quiz, you can gauge your risk-level for problem gambling and access free resources if you or someone you love needs them.
Set limits: Set limits when you choose to gamble. It’s important to give yourself a spending threshold and make sure you don’t exceed it, even if you think you can win it back. You should also set limits on the amount of time you spend gambling, whether that’s virtually or in-person.
Know when to quit: If you think that you or a loved one may have a problem with gambling and want to quit, support is only a call or text away. You can call the free, confidential hotline 24/7 at 1-800-589-6699 or by texting 4HOPE to 741741. Clinical care for gambling is free in Ohio.
There is always something new to learn when it comes to responsible gambling. For warning signs of problem gambling, tips on how to gamble responsibly if choosing to do so, and commonly held gambling myths, visit BeforeYouBet.org/tips-education